Upper School drama classes provide opportunities to develop self- esteem and self-confidence through skill-building exercises involving the body, voice and imagination. In addition to being an outlet for self-expression, drama class provides a safe environment to explore emotions as well as the opportunity to increase self-awareness, self-discipline and skills of observation and listening, in both partner and group contexts. All classes begin with warm-up exercises to bring awareness to the body and voice and to increase focus and concentration. Students then move on to various improvisations and scene work.

List of 4 items.

  • Fifth Grade

    Fifth graders take drama once every other rotation in half-section groupings during the fall and winter. Through a variety of skill-building exercises involving the body, the voice and the imagination, the classes provide opportunities to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and increased focus and awareness. Beginning in the early spring, drama classes will be devoted to a collaborative production of the Greek plays, a long-standing feature of the fifth-grade Humanities curriculum. 

    Assessment in Drama is based on in-class participation, with emphasis placed on focus, attention, cooperation, willingness to take risks, and the development of listening skills both as a performer and as an audience member.
  • Sixth Grade

    This year, drama and music begin the year collaborating on a new project together: an exploration of the typical characters and scenarios of melodrama and composing music on Garage Band to underscore the scene work.

    All classes begin with warm-up exercises to bring awareness to the body and voice and to increase focus and concentration. Students then move on to various improvisations and scene work. Sixth graders continue to take drama in half-sections, once every other rotation for the first half of the school year and the last month. Beginning in February they will meet more frequently to create scenes to accompany Broadway songs for the Spring “Cabaret.” 

    Assessment in drama is based on class participation, with emphasis placed on focus, attention, cooperation, willingness to take risks, and the development of listening skills both as a performer and as an audience member.
  • Seventh Grade

    All seventh graders take a drama class and choose between three options: Theater Exercises & Improvisation class, in which improvisations and scene work are oriented toward introducing and developing acting skills with emphasis on vocal and physical work and use of the imagination to create character and scenario. Play Production class gives students the opportunity to read two or three contemporary plays. Production research and creative design projects accompany active reading and culminate in student presentations of behind-the-scenes design work associated with each play. Students also have the opportunity to perform scenes from the plays and write additional scenes for them. Scene Study class allows students the opportunity to explore a variety of characters and scene work from contemporary and classical plays. This is a performance class and will culminate in a performance during the school day presented to other arts classes. Spontaneity, focus and concentration, and group and individual trust are developed in all classes. 

    Assessment in drama is based on in-class participation, with emphasis placed on focus, attention, cooperation, willingness to take risks, and the development of listening skills both as a performer and as an audience member.
  • Eighth Grade

    Drama electives provide students the opportunity to explore the rehearsal and performance process from the point of view of the director. Each student chooses a musical and spends the quarter directing and choreographing a scene/song from it. The scenes are performed on the final day.

    Eighth Grade Musical: The eighth-grade electives time in the spring trimester is devoted to the spring Musical, a collaborative effort of the visual and performing arts teachers. Past musicals have included Once Upon a Mattress, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Oliver, Peter Pan, Bye-Bye Birdie, Oklahoma, Les Misérables, Annie, Into the Woods, Aida, and Annie Get Your Gun. All eighth graders participate in some way in the musical, performing on stage, providing instrumental accompaniment, and/or working behind the scenes on stage management, costumes, set, lights or sound. Auditions will take place in early winter and rehearsals will be held three times each rotation in the spring quarter, culminating with two performances in June.

Department Faculty

List of 1 members.

  • Pamela Rickard 

    Upper School Drama
    415.751.0187, ext. 356
    University of California, Berkeley - B.A.
    San Francisco State University - M.A.
    Stella Adler Theatre Conservatory - Conservatory Degree
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.

Katherine Delmar Burke School

An independent K–8 school for girls
7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.751.0177 Fax: 415.666.0535
Directions | Employment | Contact Us