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At the center of The Gooden School drama program is the belief that a dramatic arts education brings creativity to problem-solving, and challenges students’ perceptions about their world and themselves. Drama provides an outlet for emotions and thoughts, enhances communication, trains for public speaking, teaches self-control, discipline, and cooperation, and cultivates a positive and confident self-image. Every grade participates in drama class during the week, and each grade performs a play within the school year.

In Kindergarten through 3rd grade, students focus on moving and controlling their bodies and projecting their voices. Lessons combine the development of social skills and improvisational performance. Each lesson includes a body/voice warm-up, drama vocabulary, a performance lesson, an ensemble-building exercise, and a performance challenge.

In 4th through 6th grades, students explore the format and style of Improvisational Theatre. They participate in various improvisational performance exercises meant to develop imagination and intuition. Students play theater games to develop the skills of concentration, collaboration, and problem-solving.


In 7th and 8th grades, students are introduced to the Stanislavski method of acting, gain hands-on experience as directors and writers, and learn about pivotal moments in theater history from the Ancient Greeks through the Broadway Musical. Upper-grade students perform an evening of Shakespeare. Twice a year, these students have the opportunity to participate in DTASC (Drama Teachers Association of Southern California) theater festival competition as actors, scenic designers, costume designers, and more.

The Gooden School believes that Drama can be used to promote active learning in any subject, that it leads students to a kinesthetic and empathetic understanding of a topic, and can be used to reinforce traditional academics.