An independent co-educational school serving preschool through Grade 8.

Drama and Theater Faculty

Deborah Girasek-Chudzynski

Kindergarten and 4th-7th Grade Drama/Theatre and 8th Grade Public Speaking Teacher

B.A. in Theatre, Pennsylvania State University

M.A. in Theatre, Purdue University

Mrs. Chudzynski is the originator of the ShakeScenes program at Notre Dame and was the Coordinating Director for eight years. She acts and directs at The South Bend Civic Theatre and at the Acting Ensemble Stage Company.

Speech Team

Each fall the SCS speech team competes in meets throughout Indiana in 12 different categories. More than 70% of 6th-8th graders typically participate in this award-winning team.

Drama and Theater

The SCS drama/theatre program prepares students to be effective communicators and presenters. Through drama classes, theatre productions and additional performance opportunities, students develop the skills necessary to comfortably and confidently present to an audience.

Kindergarten and 4th Grade

In 4th grade, students study Creative Dramatics and Movement to learn basic acting tools and gain an appreciation for the collaborative nature of theatre. In the spring, they team up with kindergarten students to put on a theatre production, centered on a chosen theme for the year.

Middle School

Starting in 5th grade, students study various aspects of drama/theatre including movement, puppetry, voice, acting and theatre history until 8th grade, when the curriculum switches to public speaking. Upon completion of each course, students perform in an evening cabaret as a culmination of their work.

Students have the option to participate in the 7th and 8th grade fall play or 5th and 6th grade winter play. Whether on stage or behind the scenes, every role is vital and student-led. Students gain experience in acting, assistant directing, stage management, set design, props, lighting, sound, costumes, hair and makeup, house management and design.

Course Descriptions

5th Grade

Movement for Actors and Puppetry

In 5th grade, students learn movement for actors. The acting exercises help them interpret the world around them and communicate their ideas and feelings to the audience. Basic acting tools are reinforced and the elements of drama are introduced. These elements are then applied to a myth or story and students write dialogue for their own puppet play. They then design and construct their own puppet and rehearse and perform their original plays. Students experience theatre from the written word to production and performance.

6th Grade

Voice for the Actor

In 6th grade, students study voice for the actor and oral interpretation. Acting tools and movement for actors are reinforced while elements of voice and actions are introduced. Students practice these skills through a variety of projects including poetry, storytelling and reader’s theatre.

7th Grade

Acting and Theatre History

In 7th grade, acting and theatre history are introduced. Students study acting in depth using the Stanislavski Method and theatre history is presented through acting exercises and lectures. Students combine the Method and skills of movement and voice learned in 5th and 6th grade to produce a final scene using the scene study process.

8th Grade

Public Speaking

In 8th grade, students in public speaking learn how to research; organize preparation and speaking outlines; and deliver effective impromptu, informative and persuasive speeches. Critical thinking and listening skills are developed as the students listen to their fellow speakers and provide them with constructive criticism.

Facilities & Resources

851 square foot designated theatre classroom

More than 1,000 piece costume and prop collection

Versatile set-piece collection

Proscenium stage with lighting and sound

Puppet theatre

Atrium: Shakespearian-inspired acting space for cabaret performances

SCS students often hold memberships in the International Thespian Society for the student actors and the National Junior Forensic League for student speakers.