A vibrant, integral part of our community and student life.
Students have opportunities to explore the arts both inside and outside of the classroom. Through class curricula, students act in plays, experiment with paint and sculpture, compose music, create video and radio broadcasts, and much more. Outside of the classroom, as an extra-curricular activity, students can perform in our after school Back à Dos performing arts program, which produces five major shows each year across Middle and High School. We cast every student who auditions for Back à Dos, and all student-actors also learn backstage and production skills. In addition to theater performances, the program offers several musical concerts and art festivals throughout the year.
With a black-box theater, a costume shop, and a fully-equipped workshop, our Arts Pavilion allows students to develop their talents as actors, writers, directors, and designers. Students study theater in class and as an extracurricular activity. In each year of Middle School, students participate in a theater performance through a curricular theater class. In High School, students pursuing both the International Baccalaureate and French Baccalaureate can study theater in the classroom for all four years. Click here for our Box Office.
Back à Dos
Every year, our after-school performing arts program, Back à Dos, produces five major shows. For High School students, this includes: a fall play, a student-directed one act play festival, a spring musical, and a faculty-directed, student-written May project. For Middle School students, this includes a winter play. Middle School students can also participate in the Dallas Multilingual Theater Festival hosted by the Dallas International School in Texas each spring.
Students are involved in all aspects of backstage support. Visiting artists from local and national companies help students develop their skills through master classes and workshops.
Our Arts Pavilion offers three large classroom-studio spaces where students work in a variety of media ranging from oil paint to charcoal, photography to sculpture. Studio hours are held at lunchtime and after school to enable students to work on projects beyond the classroom. In the gallery and other spaces around the Pavilion, students showcase their work year-round, and more specifically during art shows and festivals held throughout the year. Seniors studying art in the International Baccalaureate program also display their projects in an IB Showcase in March. See examples of student art on Flickr.
Music is a vital part of the artistic life of our school. Student musicians perform in events year-round, including the Winter and Spring Concerts and the Spring Musical. Whether working on solo pieces or with student bands, they can take advantage of our practice rooms and recording studio. The school also brings in visiting artists and hosts evening classes, which are often free or at reduced rates for students.
With state-of-the-art computers, software, cameras, and sound equipment, students write, shoot, and edit their own work in our four-year film program. Student projects include experimental pieces, animation projects, and traditional narrative work. Their films have been seen in local film festivals. Watch "The Joy of Sisyphus," a recently produced piece by one of our students.
Our arts faculty enriches our student learning by inviting visiting artists in each artistic discipline to the classroom. This can take the form of a one-off visit, a weekend workshop, or a series of events over the course of the semester. Since 2009, local physical theater company, foolsFURY, has been an “artist in residence” and artistic collaborator with our school. FoolsFURY has a strong reputation for artistic exploration and leadership in the Bay Area, with accolades including the award for “Best Theater Company” from the San Francisco Weekly and the GOLDIE award for outstanding local theater group from the Bay Guardian.