by Hana Sparks-Woodford ’20
Hi everyone! My name is Hana Sparks-Woodford, I am a junior day student at George School, and I would like to talk about my experience in the art program.
The prospect of choosing an art as a new student was super exciting for me because I have always loved any form of creative expression I got the chance to explore. I was struck by the amount of choices I had—at least eleven classes ranging from dance to woodworking to graphic design. I was drawn into the theater program after seeing the 2015-16 productions of Twelve Angry Jurors and Les Miserables. As someone who had only been in one musical before coming to GS, I was in awe of the professionalism and range of the performers, and longed to be on stage with the actors I had seen—it was one of the things that attracted me most to GS over other schools.
As a freshman, I began in Kevin Davis’ Theater Arts class where we learned the language of the theater and explored different acting techniques. As a sophomore, I moved into Advanced Acting and Directing with Mo West, the head of the theater department and main director of all GS productions. This year I have joined the IB HL Theater students in their exploration of performance, directing, and the history of theater. I have been in the GS theater program for three years now and have grown so much, in so many ways. My confidence as a performer and public speaker has grown tremendously, my range of emotions and vulnerability that I can reveal onstage broadened, and my knowledge of techniques I can utilize has matured. I have an incredible amount of love and gratitude for everyone in this program, both teachers and peers. I honestly believe that I could not have gotten this experience anywhere else.
Each year Mo chooses a theme for the upcoming season of productions. This year’s theme is women. She chose each play with the intention of highlighting powerful and empowering women. The first play was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The upcoming productions are Sideshow in the winter term, and Miracle Worker in the spring term. I am so, so excited to participate in these as Violet Hilton in Sideshow and Kate Keller in Miracle Worker. As Sanford Meisner taught, acting is “acting truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” and I cannot wait to embody these characters to bring them to life in the upcoming season.