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Backstage

Learn the Life-Cycle of a Project From Floor Plan to Opening Curtain Technical Theater in a Working Theater


The Backstage track begins in grade 9 when the students are given a year-long Fundamentals of the Arts class which introduces them to the the theater and scenic shop of the Gates Performing Art Center (GPAC), lead instructor Jared Terpak, and the foundational skills of technical theater. Students who continue to follow a Backstage art track from grade 10 to graduation, complete Intermediate Wood Shop and Intermediate Stagecraft, then move to the Advanced level where they design and build sets for the fall musical and spring dramatic performance

The backstage program features a fully functioning scene shop, that includes all the hand power tools necessary for woodworking and set design. This allows students to create functional project plans drawn to scale. A chop saw, band saw, drill press, jig saw and many other tools fill the shop to make project building more efficient. Each student undergoes an intense tool safety course before they are allowed to use the tools on their own. The theater includes a sound booth with a 16 track mixer and lighting board, which allows students to design a show from the ground up with time-management and critical thinking skills being key components to the process.

Course Descriptions

Fundamentals of the Arts

For students in their first year at the HPA Upper School, this yearlong course introduces each student to the facilities, materials, and faculty of the Fine Arts Department at HPA. Students learn key skills and basic knowledge in four of five Fine Arts disciplines, so that they can then pursue more advanced level coursework in an area(s) of their choosing. There is no prerequisite for this course.

Intermediate Backstage: Stagecraft

Stagecraft is a one-semester intermediate class taught in the theater at the Gates Performing Arts Center (GPAC). Students will learn critical thinking and time management as well as the basic skills of carpentry, scenic painting and mechanical drawing/drafting. The class will culminate with the students building the sets for the given semester’s school production. Grading will be based on participation in hands-on workshops during class and Photo Journal entries during the week on Haiku, with written updates tracking the progress of the production. The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Backstage Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts class.

Intermediate Backstage: Wood Shop

Wood Shop is a one-semester intermediate class taught in the scene shop, backstage at the Gates Performing Arts Center (GPAC). Students will learn how to read project drawings and calculate the needed materials with a major emphasis being placed on accuracy and neatness. The class will also teach students how to use different woods and proper project procedures, including workshops on shop safety and sound work habits. Students will complete three woodworking projects during the course of the semester. In addition to these projects, grading will be based upon completion of workshops during class and Photo Journal entries during the week on Haiku, with written updates tracking the progress of a woodworking project. The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Backstage Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts class.

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