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Rehearsal Projects

The Rehearsal Projects provide in-depth theater learning experiences for 200 6-12th graders via a series of after school rehearsal processes. Waterwell partners with the Professional Performing Arts School, a New York City public school that draws students in from all five boroughs, to provide a scaffolded sequence of artistic experiences. Students work with trained educators and world-class theater artists to produce high quality productions attended by fellow students, faculty and the community. The major activities are as follows:

  • 6th graders present an evening of original short plays in a festival-style format led by a professional director.
  • 7th graders work with a director/music director to rehearse and present a staged reading of a musical.
  • 8th graders work with a director, stage manager and designers to rehearse and present a fully-staged production of a contemporary play.
  • 6th, 7th & 8th graders audition for the Mainstage Musical where they work with a director, stage manager and designers on developing an ensemble driven musical that synthesizes acting, singing and dancing.
  • 9th graders work with teaching artists to rehearse and perform an evening of two-person scenes from contemporary American drama.
  • 10th graders work with a director and stage manager to rehearse and present a stripped down, actor-centric Classical play.
  • 11th graders work with a full production team to rehearse and present a Modern play.
  • 12th graders work with a playwright and full production team on the creation of a new play.


In middle school, the 6th grade Short Play Festival fosters ensemble and original creation while the 7th and 8th grade musical production offers students the chance to more fully integrate their in-school singing and acting training. In high school, the basic, moment-to-moment scene work prepares 9th graders for the more sustained character creation of their full-length 10th grade rehearsal project, where they focus on a text with heightened language. That experience lays the groundwork for students to more wholly interpret their roles within a fully designed production of a modern masterpiece in 11th grade. All this work on existing material culminates when students tackle the distinct challenges of mounting a new play in collaboration with both a playwright and a director in 12th grade.

Through these projects, and through contact with the extraordinary teachers and artists guiding them, students will learn to embrace change and surprise, to value empathy and subjectivity, and to feel the power of their own voice and their own story.

Students who participate in Waterwell Rehearsal Projects practice vital skills that not only increase their abilities as actors but that will serve them regardless of what profession they pursue. They’re exposed to advanced techniques in both leadership and collaboration. They practice analysis of sophisticated texts, exploration of character and inquiry into diverse themes. In the process, these young adults deepen their respect for others and for differing points of view.