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Theater Arts


Drama at Keys is an inventive and playful pursuit, as students find creative ways to use their voices, bodies, feelings, and imaginations to explore and communicate ideas. It also requires self-discipline, risk-taking, hard work, and collaboration. Through Drama, students develop deeper understanding of themselves and greater empathy for others. Lower School students engage in creative movement, role-play, Reader's Theater, and dramatic play. Middle School students do the same, in greater depth, using techniques such as tableau improvisation, debate, and choreographed movement. Each class at Keys stages one or more annual plays, helping them to refine acting skills such as projection, articulation, and focus. By the end of the program, students will have experienced the entire dramatic process-character development, acting, costume creation, set production, and lighting techniques.


The Dance Program at Keys exposes students to the physical benefits and challenges of coordinated movement. At the Lower School, Dance is integrated with Physical Education, and often is incorporated into units of study in Music, World Language, and Social Studies classes. In Middle School, Dance is offered as a separate class, introducing students to a variety of dance styles, including modern, classical, jazz, and hip hop.


In Seventh and Eighth Grades, students learn how to organize, prepare, present, and critique both informal and formal speeches with confidence and poise. The methodology is experiential: students learn by engaging in each aspect of speech preparation research, writing, rehearsals, and final performance. Every session includes peer feedback, developing the valuable skills of self-monitoring and coaching others.

Highlights of the program includes:

Fifth Grade

  • » Portray a character through movement
  • » Create collaborative tableaus to explore staging concepts
  • » Analyze monologues and learn basic character analysis skills
  • » Gain exposure to the genres of “American Melodrama” and “Silent Films”

Sixth Grade

  • » Perform a musical with themes from Greek, Roman, or Egyptian mythology
  • » Study acting fundamentals through group improvisation
  • » Conduct a scene study and analyze a character emotionally, with empathy

Seventh Grade

  • » Gain exposure to modern and classical theatre genres
  • » Explore behind-the-scenes design and production
  • » Prepare short scripts involving parody (infomercials, music videos, movie trailers)
  • » “Pitch” and evaluate scripts for production

Eighth Grade

  • » Gain exposure to modern and classical theatre genres
  • » Hone improvisational and ensemble performance skills
  • » Participate in film preparation and production
  • » Create “mockumentaries” to explore a comedic film genre

Keys School - Lower Campus · 2890 Middlefield Road · Palo Alto, CA · 94306
Keys School - Middle Campus · 3981 El Camino Real · Palo Alto, CA · 94306

Phone: 650-328-1711