Arts

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 welcoming...so 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

Dramatic Arts Faculty

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Holly Florian

    Ms. Holly Florian 

    LS Drama Director; ES Music; BASC Administrative Assistant
    (410) 647-7701 ext. 2036
    New York University - MA
    Western Michigan University - BM
  • Photo of Kathleen Donovan

    Ms. Kathleen Donovan 

    MS Dean of Students; 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

    Ms. Catherine (Hewitt) Carper 81

    Department Chair, MS Arts; MS Geography; MS Dance; MS Performing Arts
    (410) 647-7701 x2511
    Mercyhurst College - B.A.

Past Performances

List of 12 items.

  • 20-21 US: 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. 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, bargaining 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, Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle to restore order under the sea. Following COVID guidelines, this was performed outside and featured a cast of 17 actors and full orchestra. Click here for photos
  • 20-21 LS: Piggie and Elephant Skits

    Bravo to our 5th-grade performers for bringing smiles and giggles to our prekindergarten and kindergarten classes with skits based on the Elephant and Piggie stories by Mo Willems this year. What a creative way to bring our older and younger students together through the arts while following COVID guidelines for distance with rotating schedules for classes! Click here for photos.
  • 20-21 MS: Podcasts With Fairy Tale Twists

    With COVID restrictions in place, separate cohorts, and limitations on visitors, our Middle School performing arts crew had to figure out a way to turn our 8th-grade musical tradition on its head. Under the guidance of drama coaches extraordinaire Ms. Cathy Hewitt Carper '81 and Ms. Kathleen Donovan, along with the audio recording expertise of music teacher Mr. Kirk McAuliffe, our 8th graders adapted three hilarious stage plays into one of the fastest growing media formats out there. Drumroll please . . . presenting the first-ever Severn School 8th-grade audio series, Podcasts With Fairy Tale Twists! Bravo to the vocal stylings of the class of 2025! Click here to check out the recordings and see the cast and crew.
  • 20-21 US: Gaslight

    With distancing guidelines and rotating schedules during the 20-21 school year, a typical dramatic performance simply was not possible. But the Water Street Players rose above these obstacles to create a truly impressive dramatic experience with the 1940s radio play, Gaslight. The result? A gripping, chilling performance that reached beyond the limits of traditional theater and kept the audience on the edge of their virtual seats. This version of the play was based on scripts by Patrick Hamilton, Jan Van Druten, Walter Reisch, and John L. Balderston. Click here for photos.
  • 19-20 LS: The Phantom Tollbooth (remote)

    A stage version of the beloved children's book, discover Milo’s adventures in the Land of Wisdom, where he’s forced to think about many new things. Although Severn's campuses closed during the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our Renaissance Drama crew put together a remote version of the play to share with our community. With Ms. Holly Florian leading the charge, they recorded sections of the play on Zoom, using the dramatic improv techniques they had worked on all year and a lot of creativity!
  • 19-20 US: Sunday in the Park With George

    Sunday in the Park With George is a well-known Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It tells the story of a fictionalized version of the painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” It's an exploration of the artist’s obsession with creating meaningful, innovative art paralleled with a struggle to maintain personal relationships and love. The play travels through the neo-impressionist era of 1880s Paris to the postmodern era of 1980s New York, opening the door for an imaginative performance, transformative musical score, and iconic costuming and set design. Our players embraced the challenging and entrancing play with elegant style and the confidence of a troupe that has spent years on the stage. Click here for photos.
  • 19-20 LS: We Are Monsters

    This year the Renaissance drama crew staged "We Are Monsters," a hilarious musical that follows human kids into a monster cabaret filled with quirky monster characters. The adventurous humans uncover vegetarian vampires and rock n’ roll werewolves, gradually realizing there may be more to these monsters than meets the eye! Most importantly they discover the importance of friendship and celebrating in the attributes that make each of us different and unique. Click here for photos.
  • 19-20 US: The Tempest

    Exiled, Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero's usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all of their lives. The Water Street Players performed William Shakespeare's classic, The Tempest, in the Stine Environmental Center Outdoor classroom.
  • 19-20 MS: Show and Spell

    Five middle schoolers take on overzealous parents, crazy coaches, and nostalgic relatives as they prepare for the annual spelling bee in this insightful comedy for young actors. With contestants that range from an unflappable cheerleader who cheers all her words to the anxiety-prone daughter of a movie star, spelling the words correctly may be the least of these kids' worries. Our 6th and 7th grade Drama Club did a fantastic job with this play that illustrates the pressure kids feel to compete, and the family support that makes it all bearable. 
  • 18-19 US: Once Upon a Mattress

    Once Upon a Mattress is a musical comedy with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. The play was written as an adaptation of the 1835 Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea". Our Upper School Water Street Players' side-splitting shenanigans lit up the stage in Price Auditorium with this rollicking spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and comeuppance. Click here for photos.
  • 18-19 LS: Mulan Jr.

    Based on Disney’s Oscar-nominated film, Disney’s Mulan Jr. is a heartwarming celebration of culture, honor and the fighting spirit. With hit songs and a story packed with action, humor and heart, The show brings ancient China to life with a modern sensibility. Our Lower School Renaissance drama crew did an amazing job with this challenging play — the choreography and vocals were dazzling, highlighted by stunning costumes, set design and lighting. Click here for photos.
  • 18-19 LS: Dear Edwina Jr.

    Dear Edwina Jr., follows the adventures of plucky advice-giver extraordinaire, Edwina Spoonapple, as she directs the neighborhood kids in a series of buoyant numbers for the latest edition of her weekly show, “Advice-a-palooza.” Colorful costumes and vibrant stage design were perfect complements to the heartwarming and energetic performances by all. The audience tapped their toes and hummed along with song after song during this joyful and hilarious production. Click here for photos.

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012
410-647-7700

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146
410-647-7700