Dramatic Arts

On the Stage & Behind the Scenes

Our dramatic arts program offers a fully developed and robust range of opportunities to explore and express creativity — at any level — on the stage and behind the scenes. Our program develops the creative potential of every student. We encourage them to take risks, step outside of their comfort zones, and stretch the limits of their imaginations.
"My favorite part is that you get to know everyone. I just started at Severn School this year so I wasn’t as confident at first, I was kind of nervous. But after working on the play, I learned that everyone is really nice and I can be myself here." — Mayo Mabifa '26

Examining the World Through Performance

The dramatic arts allow our students to develop and explore their own personalities while learning how to express themselves and communicate with others. They develop a strong sense of empathy as they view the world through each character's perspective. They  build friendships through the shared thrill of staging performances for the world to see. Our enthusiastic faculty, most of whom are active, practicing performers, teach both introductory and advanced classes. There are many opportunities for students to perform throughout the school year.

Lower School Dramatic Arts

Through our Renaissance Drama program, our 4th and 5th grade performers produce a full theatre production from start to finish. In addition to life skills such as project management, collaboration, public speaking, and teamwork, students learn theatre terms and history, basic stagecraft, movement, script and character analysis, costume, and set and prop management. 

Middle School Dramatic Arts

Eighth graders thrill audiences each year with an amazing spring semester musical. For sixth and seventh grade students, we have a drama club that produces one play in the fall. 

Upper School Dramatic Arts

Our Upper School drama enthusiasts pursue acting, writing, directing, and production, and may participate in main-stage and black box productions ranging from modern comedies and classical work. The Water Street Players, our Upper School troupe, stage three major productions each year. 
  • Introduction to Theater
  • Acting I
  • Acting II
  • Technical Theater

Past Performances

List of 21 items.

  • 18-19 US: The Crocodile

    Based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's short story.
    Ivan Matevich, a working actor in his thirties, is visiting the zoo one afternoon with his best friend Zack. As a response to Zack's desperate attempt to persuade him to abandon the stage for more worthwhile pursuits, Ivan climbs into the crocodile cage and is swallowed whole. At first, Ivan cries out for someone to slice the beast open and rescue him...but, when he discovers that his new situation brings him instant celebrity, he comes to see it as a smart career move, and sets out to exploit it to the fullest. Playwright Tom Basden turns Dostoyevsky's classic allegory into a satirical play about capitalist inhumanity and political celebrity in the Twitter age. See photos on Flickr.
  • 17-18 LS: Madagascar, A Musical Adventure Jr.

    There’s something contagious about the energy of our 4th and 5th grade Renaissance Drama students. After months of rehearsal — singing, dancing, learning stage directions, and practicing light and sound — our Lower School performers’ rendition of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure Jr. left the crowd smiling and jumping out of their seats. Led by Musical Director Ms. Mary Gaylord and Drama Director Ms. Chelsea Padro, our Lower School troupe took us on a hilarious journey of friendship with madcap hijinks around every corner. See photos on Flickr.
  • 17-18 MS: Shrek Jr.

    Beauty is in the eye of the ogre in Shrek The Musical JR., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and fantastic Broadway musical.  It's a "big bright beautiful world" as everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek, leads a cast of fairytale misfits on an adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance.  Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek JR. is an irreverently fun show with a powerful message for the whole family. See photos here.
  • 17-18 LS: Snow White

  • 17-18 US: Chaplin

    From the slums of London to the heights of Hollywood, Chaplin is the recent Broadway musical about the silent film legend the world couldn't stop talking about: Charlie Chaplin. The brilliant show reveals the man behind the legend, the undeniable genius that forever changed the way America went to the movies. A glistening show with a classic feel and a heart of gold, Chaplin explores one of the original Hollywood celebrities and how the public's desire for more, more, more leads to his downfall from the author of the hit Broadway shows, Annie, Hairspray, and The Producers.

    See photos of our Upper School performance here.
  • 17-18 US: One Man, Two Guvnors

    Brighton, England. 1963. Change is in the air, and Francis Henshall is looking to make his mark. Fired from a skiffle band and in search of work, he finds himself employed by small-time gangster Roscoe Crabbe, in town to collect a fee from his fiancee's gangster father. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother, herself in love with Stanley Stubbers (her brother's killer) who, in turn, becomes our hero's other 'guvnor'. Fighting a mounting sense of confusion, Francis goes out of his way to serve both bosses. But with the distractions of a pneumatic bookkeeper, a self-important actor and select members of the criminal fraternity (not to mention his own mammoth appetite) to contend with, how long can he keep them apart? Richard Bean's hilarious comedy received 5-star reviews from every London newspaper and was the hit of the 2012 Broadway season.

    See photos of our Upper School performance here.
  • 16-17 US: A Farce in the Dark

    “Let there be light!” In a feat of theatrical genius, the action supposedly in the dark is illuminated; when the lights are to be on, the stage is in the dark. Lovesick and desperate, sculptor Brindsley Miller has embellished his apartment with furniture and objets d'arte "borrowed" from the absent antique collector next door hoping to impress his fiancee's pompous father and a wealthy art dealer, Schuppanzigh. The fussy neighbor returns just as a blown fuse plunges the apartment into darkness. Unexpected guests, aging spinsters, errant phone cords and other snares impede his frantic attempts to return the purloined items before light is restored in this hilarious comedy of errors.

    See photos of our Upper School performance here.
  • 16-17 LS: Elf Jr.

  • 16-17 LS: James and the Giant Peach

  • 16-17 MS: The Lion King Jr.

  • 16-17 US: Pirates of Penzance

    Book and Lyrics by Sir William Gilbert, Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.

    Gilbert and Sullivan's hilarious, hopeful musical follows young Frederic, an orphan who has mistakenly been apprenticed to an ineffectual but raucous band of pirates. He disavows the pirates' way of life and falls for the beautiful Mabel. Frederic's melodious tones win over the heart of Major General Stanley's songbird daughter, Mabel, but when the Pirate King discovers General Stanley has lied about being an orphan to keep the pirates from stealing all of his belongings and carrying off his bevy of beautiful daughters, an "ingenious paradox" may prevent the budding romance and lead to the death of "the very model of a modern Major-General."

    See photos of our Upper School performance here.
  • 16-17 US: A Tale of Two Cities

    By Charles Dickens, adapted by Mike Poulton

    Framed by a traveling troupe of actors creating this classic tale before the audience’s eyes, this new adaptation of Dickens’ greatest work portrays a world divided…the aristocracy fighting to stay on top, while the poverty-stricken lower class slowly simmers, planning an uprising. An epic story of love, sacrifice, destiny, and redemption, interweaving one family’s intensely personal drama with the terror and chaos of the French Revolution. Featuring some of Dickens’ most memorable characters, this story has never been more relevant or impactful.

    See photos of our Upper School performance here.
  • 15-16 LS: The Little Mermaid

    Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney's The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs including "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl," and "Part of Your World." Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. Disney's The Little Mermaid offers a fantastic creative opportunity for rich costumes and sets, and the chance to perform some of the best-known songs from the past 30 years.

    See photos of our Lower School performance here.
  • 15-16 MS: Annie Jr.

    Based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Annie Jr. features everyone’s favorite little redhead in her very first adventure. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find her parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

    See photos of our Middle School performance here.
  • 15-16 US: Nice Work If You Can Get It

    It’s the Roaring Twenties and a cast of outrageous characters gather in New York to celebrate the wedding of wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter. Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, this musical features a treasure trove of George and Ira Gershwin’s most beloved, instantly recognizable tunes set in a fresh and funny song-and-dance spectacular.

    The show is filled to the brim with classic songs, including But Not For Me, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, I’ve Got a Crush on You and Someone to Watch Over Me. This sparkling, madcap tale combines laughter, romance and high-stepping Broadway magic for an evening bursting with girls, glamour and the glorious songs of Gershwin!

    See photos of our Upper School Performance here.
  • 15-16 US: Midsummer Night's Dream

  • 14-15 LS: Aesop Come Back

  • 14-15 LS: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  • 14-15 MS: Suessical Jr.

  • 14-15 US: The Illusion

    What are the real powers of theatre? To alter? To define? To transport? Tony Kushner and Pierre Corneille before him go for all three, which is only part of the magic in Kushner's fanciful adaptation of Corneille's The Illusion. Kushner salvaged the ageless and universal idea: the tale of a rigid father, Pridamant (played by Zach Rosen '16), who, stricken with remorse for having provoked his son to flee the family home, searches out the magician Alcandre (Lizzie Purnell '15) in the hope that she will help him find out what happened to the wayward boy.

    Alcandre does help, and the ironic twist of the piece is that after several false starts, passionate re-enactments, comic delusions, and confusions, the truth is revealed and Papa finds he doesn't like it. The lighthearted ending is a cynical but honest lesson in selective affection. All the fun, however, is in getting there, complete with sword fighting, moon gazing, and a zany cast of characters who for some reason keep changing names.

    See photos of the Upper School performance here.
  • 14-15 US: Big Fish the Musical

    Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed Columbia Pictures film directed by Tim Burton, BIG FISH centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales.

    With nearly 50 students in the cast, this show is overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft — an extraordinary musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre — for an experience that's richer, funnier and BIGGER than life!

    See photos of our Upper School performance here. 

Dramatic Arts Faculty

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Holly Florian

    Ms. Holly Florian 

    (410) 647-7701 ext. 2036
    New York University - MA
    Western Michigan University - BM
  • Photo of Kathleen Donovan

    Ms. Kathleen Donovan 

    MS History 7; MS Student Council Advisor; 8th Gr. Performing Arts; Head Coach, MS Girls Track
    (410) 647-7701 x 2520
    Johns Hopkins University - M.A.T.
    University of Maryland - B.A.
  • Photo of Ronald Giddings

    Mr. Ronald Giddings 99

    Upper School English and Upper School Drama
    (410) 647-7701 ext. 2451
    Goucher College - M.A.
    Loyola College of Maryland - B.A.
  • Photo of Catherine Carper

    Mrs. Catherine (Hewitt) Carper 81

    MS Arts Dep't Chair; MS Geography; MS Dance; Improv & Performing Arts teacher (grades 7-12)
    (410) 647-7701 x2511
    Mercyhurst College - B.A.

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146