Explore Our Curriculum

US Drama

Crossroads Drama Program is sequentially designed both for students whose primary interest is theater as well as those who wish to explore a possible interest in Drama. The curriculum is process-based and experiential. Students develop concentration, personal discipline, and a respect for the art and the artist. They learn a common vocabulary of theatrical terms and are given specific tools for the creation of subtext and effective use of the imagination. Students begin in 9th and 10th grade with Theatre 1 and 2, classes that focus on acting technique exercises and scene work. In 11th and 12th grade, students may audition for the two-year Conservatory program with course work in acting, audition preparation, playwriting, Shakespeare, directing, improvisation, musical theatre, production design, stage makeup, voice and movement. In our technical theatre classes, students learn all backstage aspects of building and mounting a production.  Six “mainstage” productions are presented in the Upper School including a culminating Senior Performance.  There are also opportunities to perform in scene nights and improvisation performances, and students who have the skill-set and desire may create and host a Café Crossroads.  A “touring” musical production is open to 9th and 10th grade students during the school year.
  • Crossroads Touring Company

    Crossroads Touring Company, ¼ year art credit or Community Service credit. Open to grades 9 and 10, requires after-school and weekend hours.
    This production offers 9th and 10th grade students an opportunity to participate in a community service-oriented theater experience.  Students audition for a role in a musical theater production, rehearse at Crossroads, and then tour the San Francisco Bay Area, performing for audiences that are largely unable to attend live theater.  Venues include residential rehabilitation programs, juvenile detention facilities, hospitals, and more. 9th and 10th grade musicians and technical theater students are included in this company; participation by audition and/or interview.
  • Drama Conservatory

    Crossroads Drama Conservatory Program, 2.5 credits per year with full participation. Open to grades 11 and 12, prerequisite: Theater 1, Theater 2, Technical Theater 1, or other fulfillment of the Tech requirement; admission through audition and interview.
    The Drama Conservatory is a full year commitment that offers students an opportunity to immerse themselves in theater without compromising their academic focus.  Teaching units and production units are scheduled in a modular fashion. Class modules meet from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Productions initially rehearse from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m., then 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. as opening night draws closer, with weekend and evening rehearsals as needed. Auditioning and participation in productions is an expectation rather than an option, credit is adjusted accordingly. Students are asked to take on a significant production assignment in at least one production during the two years. Acceptance to the program requires an audition, technical theater evaluation, and interview.  Students enrolled in their 11th grade year are evaluated at the end of that year to determine if they should continue in the 12th grade.  Class modules in Directing, Acting, Improvisational Acting, Production Design, Movement, Audition Skills and Playwriting form the basis of Conservatory study. Other modules, offered either on an occasional basis or as independent study, include: Suzuki/Viewpoints/Composition, Technical Theater, Vocal Production (singing), Dance, Musical Theater, Basic Carpentry, Lighting Design, Set Design, Production Management, Acting for Film, Stage Makeup, Play-reading and Costume Design and Construction. When available, guest artists present workshops or conduct seminars in a specific study, e.g. audition techniques, makeup design, production theory, etc. Production modules vary and may include Classical Theater, Contemporary Comedy/Drama, Musical Theater, or Performance Art. Self-evaluation is encouraged and included when appropriate. Students may also participate in the Conservatory program with a focus on Technical Theater and Design.
    Please note: Drama Conservatory is not intended as a professional training program, though students who aspire to a career in theater are supported in their efforts.

  • Technical Theater 1

    Technical Theater 1, 1-year art credit (two semesters may be taken non-consecutively).
    Technical Theater 1 provides a comprehensive background in technical aspects of theater and a working knowledge of the physical stage and how it operates.  Practical application of course content is realized in crew and production assignments. Students learn how to use tools, build sets, paint scenes, how to weld, how to hang and focus lighting instruments, create stage makeup, costuming, and prop construction. The course meets for one weekly 2-hour block, and students are required to tech one production outside of class, which can include running crew, lighting or sound technician, follow spot, makeup, costumes, etc.  (Community Service credit may be earned in this class.  Those students who substantially exceed minimum hour requirements may also be awarded credit for Theater Production (see below). Technical Theater is strongly suggested for any student who has an interest in theater or wishes to gain experience in carpentry and stagecraft.
  • Technical Theater 2

    Technical Theater 2 - "Tech Crew," 1-year art credit, prerequisite: Technical Theater 1 and consent of instructor.
    A continuation of Technical Theater 1, this course focuses on design conceptualization and advanced theater technology.  Students accepted into the Tech Crew work alongside Technical Theater 1 students and also help support productions in the Drama and Dance Programs.  Design opportunities for Crossroads productions are part of the class.
  • Theater 1

    Theater 1, 1-year art credit.
    Theater 1 introduces and reviews acting terminology, proper theater etiquette, and the basic requirements of work in the theater – concentration, personal discipline, respect for the art and the artist, and an understanding of one’s own personal mythology and creative spirit. Improvisational work and acting technique exercises, including written assignments, are employed to illuminate key acting skills, then applied to scenes and monologues assigned by the instructor.  Specific skills include providing a strong physical life to a scene, focusing on the acting partner, learning to prepare emotionally, and determining and living out the character objective.  Constructive criticism from the instructor and peers lead to reworking of material and a final performance in class. Physical, vocal and speech exercises give the actors the tools to prepare themselves to move and be heard on the stage. Schedule permitting, selected work is presented for an invited audience at the end of each semester.
  • Theater 2

    Theater 2, 1-year art credit, prerequisite: Theater 1; open to grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.  Course may be taken twice; second year includes training in stage directing.
    Theater 2 continues the student's exposure to the art of acting by providing specific tools for the development of character, creation of subtext, and the preparation and performance of monologues and scenes with emphasis on a "presentational" approach, i.e., the use of the actor's experiences, emotions, and imagination as a basis for artistic choices.  More advanced work with voice and movement heightens the actor's sensory perception and awareness of the body's role in expression.  Both the first and second semesters of the course involve scene work which may culminate with the participation of each actor in a performance of scenes and monologues for an invited audience. Basic audition skills are addressed, and interested students are encouraged to audition for the Drama Conservatory.
  • Theater Production

    Theater Production, ¼ year art credit. Open to grades 9, 10, 11 and 12, requires after-school and weekend hours.
    Outside the Drama Conservatory Program, at least one major production will be staged yearly, with full costume, makeup, sets, and lighting.  All Upper School students in good academic standing who are not enrolled in the Conservatory program may audition for roles or apply for production positions.  Rehearsals are after school and on occasional weekends, and attendance at scheduled rehearsals is mandatory.  A grade is assigned and recorded on the transcript (for performers and crew) based on the director's evaluation of commitment, performance, and attitude.

Our Faculty

Middle and Upper School: 21st Street Campus | 1714 21st St., Santa Monica, CA 90404 | Phone: (310) 829-7391
Elementary School: Norton Campus | 1715 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404 | Phone: (310) 828-1196
Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences provides a unique K-12 program built on a progressive, developmental model of education.