Arts

MKA is committed to fostering creativity in all students, from the youngest to the oldest. We believe that the fine and performing arts are essential to children’s emotional and physical well-being and to balanced, joyful lives that set the stage (and prep the canvas) for infinite growth. So we offer an arts program with deep, broad and plentiful opportunities, supported by dedicated facilities on each campus and a passionate professional faculty who love to teach art as much as they live to create it. Core works in art, music, film and dance provide continuity across the divisions and a practical grounding in historical and theoretical aspects of each discipline.

Thanks to the strength of our program, MKA’s fine and performing artists are consistently recognized. Our students achieve success in competitions. Our productions garner professional honors. And many graduates pursue art in college, with several going on to thriving professional careers. It all begins with a solid arts education that enables our students to become fine young artists and creative thinkers—every one of them.

Fine Arts

The disciplines within the fine arts teach students to develop, express and evaluate ideas; think critically and imaginatively in problem solving; produce and interpret images and creative work; understand the artistic achievements of others; and develop self-discipline and focus.

Performing Arts

Students have a variety of options for courses in the performing arts program at MKA. These productions involve a large number of students as well as cameo appearances from some faculty members.

Music

Each one of the extensive music offerings at MKA gives students the opportunity for public performances several times a year. There are also offerings in music theory and solfege.

Primary School

A major, distinguishing strength of the Primary School is the individual class play for students in grades K-3. Every year, each class writes and stages a play, assisted by both their classroom and encore teachers. In a truly interdisciplinary process, students explore key stories and themes as they convert favorite picture books to scripts that frequently focus on the MKA Character Standards or issues such as service to others or bullying. Beyond learning lines and performing in front of peers and parents, these young thespians are responsible for the scenery and staging, and frequently choose to incorporate music and dance into their productions.

Middle School

For more than 18 years, staging a full-scale Shakespeare production has been the annual highlight of the 7th-grade experience at MKA. Students spend eight weeks immersed in the language, literature, culture and history of Elizabethan England, as well as in the staging of the play itself. Every member of the grade contributes to the production both on and off stage, whether as an actor, set builder, seamstress or lighting or sound technician. The project results in two public performances as well as an in-house performance for the Middle School community (to which local schools may also be invited). Plays rotate between Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It, with production styles ranging from the traditional to the contemporary and from minimal staging to the use of highly complex and changing scenery, increasingly enhanced by sophisticated technologies to evoke time, space and atmosphere.

Upper School

The tradition of the MKA winter musical goes back more than 40 years, pre-dating the merger of Montclair Academy and The Kimberley School, when students from both schools would come together to perform a play or musical on the Montclair Academy stage. The winter musical has grown into MKA's largest annual theatrical production with spectacular scenery and costumes, a large pit band and a dedicated cast and crew of students from all Upper School grades taught, directed and supported by professionals from the world of musical theater. Such is the draw of the winter musical that some of the school’s most dedicated athletes turn to the stage to experience the camaraderie, dedication and sense of achievement that come from putting on such professional-quality performance. In recent years, productions have ranged from the decadence of Cabaret to the innocence of Once Upon a Mattress, and from the exuberance of Grease to the humor of Hairspray, ensuring that over their four-year career at the Upper School, students are introduced to a variety of musical genres and afforded a wide-range of opportunities to suit their personal strengths.

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