Deerfield Academy is proud of its award-winning, active theater program. In a typical year, more than 100 students participate as actors and technicians and more than 2,500 patrons attend four annual productions.

Theater provides a plethora of benefits to those who study it, including increased confidence, resilience, collaboration, discipline, and creativity.


This one-term course explores the basic principles of acting including ensemble building, improvisation, voice, movement, textual analysis and theater vocabulary. Class assignments include writing and performing monologues, and presenting group scenes and projects. Additionally, students explore various plays from classical to contemporary. No previous acting experience is necessary.  May be taken as 6th course: THE200P.

See THE200 description.

Acting II is for students interested in expanding their ability to communicate through a variety of techniques that engage the individual and ensemble physically, mentally and emotionally. Through monologues, scene work, and improvisation, students explore the act of making theater of all types. No previous acting experience is necessary. This is a one-term course. May be taken as 6th course: THE300P.

See THE300 description.

Anything Goes: Musical Theater is for students interested in learning the basic principles of acting and singing in a musical theater context. Over the length of this course, students will gain practical and theoretical knowledge of musicals through creative work for performance pieces and contextual lessons on musical theater history. No previous experience is necessary, although some background in singing is helpful.

Committed acting students are encouraged to progress to a more advanced study of acting and to contribute to the development of a creative ensemble. In addition to learning more complex acting techniques in preparation for the scene work to come, students delve into the world of directing for theater. Students work on a major directing assignment, which culminates in directing a scene with their peers as performers, from their chosen play. Several plays from around the world are also read and analyzed throughout the term. No previous acting experience is necessary. May be taken as 6th course: THE400P.

See THE400 description.

This course analyzes and critiques classic and contemporary cinema from around the world. We shall examine basic elements of film production, comparative filmmaking styles and various genres such as Film Noir, Surrealism and Italian Neo realism. Additionally, students study prominent international filmmakers. Weekly screenings are mandatory.

This elective is for students who have an interest in a more in depth study of theater. In addition to honing performance skills, students will explore a number of wide ranging plays of different genres from around the world. There will also be several performance and directing opportunities throughout the term, culminating in a class presentation. May be taken as 6th course: THE510P

See THE510 description.

Take to the stage

Since 2002 Deerfield has been selected four times to represent the United States in the American High School Theatre Festival at the world-renowned Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in Scotland. There are plenty of ways to get involved in theater at Deerfield. Numerous classes are offered throughout the year, ranging in levels from Acting I to Acting and Directing for Production, a tutorial-level class. More focused courses and workshops on Shakespeare, writing, directing, auditioning, and improvisation, are offered at various points throughout the year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before they enter Deerfield, all new students are required to take a math placement test to determine an appropriate class. Students who have already taken a language they wish to continue studying at Deerfield will take a placement test to determine what level class they should take. If the placement in either department is deemed inappropriate after the student arrives, then the section teacher may suggest a change of level. Students may also request such a change and should consult with their teacher and their academic advisor before contacting the Dean of Studies.

Study abroad is available to all students from their sophomore to senior years, although typically students who choose to go abroad will do so during their junior year.

In order to garner Honors distinction a student must have a cumulative term average above 90.0%. High Honors requires an average of 93.0% or above. Exemplary students with a grade point average of 92.0 or higher may qualify for admission to the Cum Laude Society, a national honor society. 

Because of its commitment to rigorous academics, Deerfield offers a wide range of accelerated and Advanced Placement courses. All of Deerfield’s classes are appropriately challenging, but AP and accelerated courses provide an extra challenge for ambitious students.

All students are assigned a faculty advisor at the beginning of their time at Deerfield. After their first year students may choose a new advisor, or continue with their original one, depending on the relationships they have developed with Deerfield’s faculty. Advisors are responsible for submitting course requests and writing an advisor report every term. They are available for any questions a student may have and are involved in every major academic or athletic decision a student makes while at Deerfield. In addition, faculty eat lunch with their advisees every Thursday and may schedule outside events for their advisees. Advisors are a key component of the Deerfield experience, as they provide guidance and friendship to students throughout their time at Deerfield.

The Pursuit of Excellence Policy states that students may miss up to five class days a year if an unusual and extraordinary opportunity arises, including opportunities in a variety of academic, athletic, and artistic fields. The Academic Affairs Office determines the legitimacy of pursuit of excellence requests on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Academics
Fax 413-772-1128

Boyden Library
Mon–Fri, 8am–4pm

7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 87
Deerfield, MA 01342