William Penn Performing Arts Institute
The William Penn Performing Arts Institute provides high-quality training and arts education to students through a partnership with the Appell Center for the Performing Arts. The program develops students academically, artistically and socially. As graduates of the institute, students will leave the school as independent, responsible and creative young adults with a lifelong interest in the arts. These skills prepare our students to pursue further educational goals (as artists or in other careers) and allow them to contribute to the community.
The institute’s co-curricular performance program provides a comprehensive classroom training experience combined with performance opportunities. All students are provided the opportunity to participate in after-school performances and touring companies that perform throughout the area. Students are given the opportunity to perform at local festivals, guest artist workshops, touring ensembles and school performances that are showcased each season at the high school and the Appell Center for the Performing Arts.
Students can currently take the following classes: playwriting, creative writing, directing, acting I, acting II, acting for film, stage make-up and costume design, dance ensemble (ballet and tap), tap, hip hop, technical theatre I and technical theatre II.
Performing Arts classes have increased from 200 students to almost 300 students in the past three years. Seven new classes have been added since the program began.
During the 2016-17 school year, the stage make-up and costume design class created Kabuki masks (photo below). They learned to do all different types of injury make-up, such as frost bite, burn wounds and open cuts. They also learned the difference between stage, ballet, and cabaret make-up.
The hip hop classes learned break dancing, locking, popping, tutting, and free-style forms of dance. The classes performed at school pep rallies and assemblies, as well as at the Appell Center. Playwriting classes wrote 10-minute plays and entered them in the Appell Center’s Playwriting Festival.
Acting classes have worked on physical theatre, voice, improvisation and one acts. Acting for film classes created commercials and short movies and learned the ins and outs of film.
Each year, the institute produces a fall play and spring musical. Auditions are open to any William Penn student.