Sagemont, a Broward County Private School, Incorporates Innovation in Drama Productions

Top Quote The Sagemont School in Broward, Fl, introduced new hi-tech effects into its theatrical performances this school year. The department captured eight Cappie nominations and one Cappie award this season. End Quote
    QuoteMiddle schoolers participate in an interview scene in Seussical.Quote
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL (1888PressRelease) June 13, 2012 - Theater is more than just a show, it's an experience at The Sagemont School, located in Broward County, Florida. This year, the school's theater department introduced exciting new techniques and effects into its theatrical performances. The award-winning high school thespian troupe tackled a high-tech, innovative version of the classic tragedy Trojan Women. The middle schoolers rollicked in Seussical, while fourth and fifth graders performed a magical musical version of Alice in Wonderland Jr.

    Coming off last season's highly-acclaimed production of Dracula, the high school actors challenged themselves with a modern adaptation of the Greek tragedy Trojan Women. The play was interlaced with computer generated war montages from throughout history and also included a self-produced movie clip that enhanced the innovative adaptation.

    "In keeping with the school's mission to provide a technologically rich and supportive learning environment, I wanted to give students an opportunity to integrate technology with artistic expression," explains middle and high school drama instructor Elizabeth Garrard. "Through modern music, images and technology, the students were able to find new ways to relate to material that has remained relevant for 3,000 years."

    Junior Jonathan Ross enjoyed the high-tech twist and believes, in the future, we will see more technology integrated into theater. "I think technology will play a greater part in theater since it will add to the sense of full emersion and the audience will feel even more connected during the show."

    The genre itself also posed a challenge to students. Sophomore Luis Guerrero says connecting to the characters in this tragedy pushed their performance level. "It's easy to cry, but to act the pain that makes the character cry is incredibly difficult. The characters are in so much agony and inner conflict; it was challenging to make their emotions seem believable and real. The actors did a great job and I'm so glad we managed to make the audience feel what we felt."

    Many of the actors have cultivated their talent through Sagemont's drama program which spans all three divisions. With the middle school production of Seussical, Ms. Garrard utilized a large cast to expose many students to theater. The spirited material and colorful costumes created a fun environment for students to exercise their stage presence and debut acting talents.

    "I chose this show because it provided opportunities for a large number of students, across all grade levels," explains Ms. Garrard. "Both middle and elementary students appeared on stage, while high school students had the opportunity to help with backstage responsibilities."

    Sagemont students often get their first exposure to theater through the fourth and fifth grade drama club. Under the direction of Doris Quintero, along with Michelle Arango and Irene Perez, the club presented Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr. complete with fully-functioning scenery.

    "Moveable parts are not just functional, but they allow what would normally be just two-dimensional to be abstract, 3D, and add realism as well," explains Quintero. "Engineering the rabbit's house to grow as Alice grew and the door to shrink and grow as Alice shrunk and grew were important visual effects that merited movable and functional parts to enhance the scene."

    The show also featured a few surprises to engage the audience including a mock game of Simon Says with the Queen of Hearts. The cast threw clear beach balls into the audience during Zip-a-dee-do-dah to represent bubbles from the Caterpillar. In true school tradition, Principal JoAnn Laskin made a cameo appearance as a guest at the "Unbirthday" party.

    The Sagemont School takes great pride in its theater program. "Our main goal for our thespians is that they are exposed to challenging works of art and develop high standards for aesthetic quality, not only as performers, but also as theater patrons," explains Ms. Garrard.

    And for those students, like senior Corina Lander, who choose to pursue theater in college, Sagemont's theater program prepares them for the rigorous demands of the top programs in the country. In recent years, Sagemont students have been accepted into prestigious programs such as NYU Tisch, Florida State BFA, School of Arts at Bournemouth (England), and PACE in New York.

    The high school students' audition material was developed in drama class and they were able to build valuable skills through active participation in three full-length and numerous one act and cabaret performances produced each year. Additionally, participation in thespian competitions at the district and state level helps teach students to maintain composure and build camaraderie in the competitive environment that often accompanies life in the theater.

    "The Sagemont drama program has helped me grow in so many aspects," shares Lander. "I am now able to work effectively with people and communicate well with others. I have developed social skills that can help me in an interview or even just a simple conversation! With drama, I have grown to be a better person and I am thankful for that." Corina won a 2012 Cappie for Best Featured Actress in the South Florida Cappie awards program.

    The Sagemont School offers a college preparatory curriculum and operates two campuses in Weston, Fl. In preschool through the elementary grades, The Sagemont School provides core concepts in a creative environment combined with weekly specials that include science, art, music, Spanish for non-native & native speakers, swimming, PE and media and technology. From middle school through high school graduation, Sagemont students choose from a variety of regular, honors and AP course work. In addition, students share in a networked wireless laptop environment and participate in a comprehensive guidance program for college entrance. Visit The Sagemont School Web site at

    For more information on The Sagemont School contact Dr. Brent Goldman, President at (954) 389-2454 ext., 305, or email to bgoldman ( @ ) sagemont dot com.To read more stories about The Sagemont School written by Stacey Bomser go to School News at

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