“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” — Pablo Picasso
Inspiration. Where does it come from? Can it be commanded? Summoned? In the world of the Theatre, inspiration is indeed out there, on many levels, in many places, especially where young students are concerned. At Wooster Theatre, we believe that when inspiration arrives, it must find you prepared.
Under the supervision of actor/director/writer Beau Gravitte, the Wooster Theatre Department offers a fresh and vigorous course of preparation in all areas of theatrical production, from acting and directing to scenic, lighting, and costume design and construction.
Beau Gravitte has worked as a professional in the entertainment industry for over 30 years. His resume includes work both on and off-Broadway, in many television series and specials, and in film. Mr. Gravitte is a lifetime member and on the Board of Directors of the world-famous Actors Studio in New York, where he continues to shepherd and safeguard the organization, under the auspices of Presidents Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, and Harvey Keitel. Having taught acting workshops at many levels of age and expertise, Mr. Gravitte brings his experience to bear across all school lines at Wooster – teaching and working with children from the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.
Wooster has a rich tradition in place, when it comes to widely-known and well-received productions. With three shows a year, an Upper School play, an Upper School musical, and a Middle School play or musical, our "gem of a theater," the Wean Performing Arts Studio, a black box theater, is a bustling place. In the last few years, Wooster actors have performed Into the Woods, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Curtains, The Foreigner, Company, The Best Man, House and Garden, Carnival, Metamorphus, Laramie Project, and Arcadia. The Middle School has performed Tales from the Arabian Nights, Little Mary Sunshine, Bits and Pieces, The Tempest, How to Eat Like a Child, and Alice in Wonderland.
The Wooster School has committed itself to a new and dynamic vision of the Theatre here on campus. Along with the acting workshops, Wooster now offers a course in Backstage Theatre, taught by our resident Technical Director, Kimberly Gerardi. The course covers a wide spectrum of Technical Theatre, including the design, construction, and production of Wooster’s plays and musicals. There is also a new Acting Workshop offered to students in the Middle School, taught by Andrea Barrett, under the guidance of Mr. Gravitte.
The Theatre Department at Wooster is growing rapidly, and attracting attention locally for the quality of its product. “Growth,” as our Headmaster Tim Golding has said, “ is related to vision.” And it does not come without risk, a condition familiar to every artist.
Mr. Gravitte recalls a seminal moment in his life in the theatre – in his words:
“Long ago, when I was a young actor working in session at the Actors Studio, Ellen Burstyn was moderating, and she noticed that in the scene we had just played, I had not followed an obvious instinct to move, or to do some particular thing – I don’t remember what it was. She asked me why I hadn’t taken the risk, and I answered ‘I was afraid to…’ Ellen said to me, ‘We are all afraid, all of us, in one way or another. So, how do you deal with it? If you deny fear, it takes over. If you shrink away, you’re finished. So….I think it’s better to move toward what you fear, find out about it, explore it in a truthful way. Because buried beneath that fear is the treasure. And the greater the fear, the greater the treasure…She was right. I guess, if I do have a philosophy of theatre, that’s it. In my acting classes, much of my work with young actors is about courage, about believing in oneself. If a student comes to class with just the will, the willingness to try new things, to open up, to be truthful, we can make good things happen.”
At Wooster Theatre, we’ll be ready, when inspiration strikes.