Category Archives: Drama

McQuadle: Hamlin’s Very First Zoom Play

Students in our After School Academy Theater Production class (Grades 3 and 4) never wavered in their commitment to make a first historic Zoom play happen. Creating McQuadle took an enormous amount of hard work, persistence, and flexibility from everyone who was involved, including parents. Many hours of filming both inside and outside of Tuesday classes made this play possible during a very challenging time. It took about 30 minutes per page to film (24 pages total). Every scene was filmed at least 2 times after being rehearsed, and then the best video was used.

More about McQuadle:

You’ll find tons of silliness packed into this charming comedy that has a little something for everyone and even a nice moral.  McQuadle is a dragon who wants to know his purpose in life, and he will go to almost any length to find it out — even if it means visiting an Evil Queen who lives in a castle on top of the hill.  When he arrives, McQuadle learns that the Queen has lured him there for her own secret purposes, and she doesn’t intend on letting him get back home at all.  But McQuadle promised his mother he’d be home for dinner!  Two storytellers with crazy personalities of their own lead the audience through this fun adventure.

-Special thanks to Meher (’20), Alayna (’21), Kate (’16), Mr. Louie, and of course Ms. Abbott, who all helped make this production possible.

Diary of Anne Frank On Stage

On Thursday talented middle school actors (Grades 7/8 Theater Elective) brought the story of Anne Frank to life on the Hamlin stage.

The Diary of Anne Frank is a stage adaptation of the book The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. It premiered at the Cort Theatre (NYC) in 1955.

The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank, is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

In our production multiple students play the role of Anne Frank in a highly moving performance. Powerful themes centered on courage, friendship, love, family, and faith. Ms. Holland Greene called the play, “profoundly beautiful and important.”

The Diary of Anne Frank is being performed again this evening at 7 p.m.

Hamlin Presents Willy Wonka With A Twist

Last week our Grade 8 students performed in the musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This theatrical production was the culmination of weeks of work and rehearsal.

Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

But for Hamlin, the story of our musical doesn’t end there. The following is a statement made by The Justice League, a group of students who discovered that Roald Dahl was racist, anti-semitic, and sexist.

“It all started on a cold, winter afternoon with the announcement that the Class of 2019’s Grade 8 musical would be Willy Wonka Jr. We all excitedly jumped up and down, thrilled that this musical that we loved would be our final class project.

Everyone had different roles in mind, and we were eager to get started working on it. For those of us working behind the scenes on the production team, work begins by doing dramaturgy. Dramaturgy is when you research the history of the production and facts that you may not know when you first hear the name of it. The Wonka production team began its research soon after the musical was announced.

A Google search changed things quickly. Not too far into the dramaturgical research, students discovered deeply upsetting information about Roald Dahl’s beliefs and the roots of his stories, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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A.C.T. Performs Shakespeare at Hamlin

On Thursday, A.C.T.’s very talented MFA program (2nd year students) performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Middle School. This 1970’s version had dancing, guitar playing, and outstanding comic timing. Our audience was very familiar with the story (many have acted in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hamlin) and loved the performance.

Each spring, actors in A.C.T.’s top-ranked Master of Fine Arts Program take an abridged (60–80 minutes) production of a Shakespearean classic, adapted and directed by a distinguished professional director and followed by a postshow Q&A with the cast, to Bay Area schools and public spaces.

Established in 1965, American Conservatory Theater is a Tony Award–winning theater and training institution whose work is energized and informed by a profound commitment to developing the next generation of theater artists. A.C.T. is the largest theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area and employs more than 800 people each season, from teachers and artists to technicians and administrative staff. During the past four decades, more than 300 A.C.T. productions have been seen by close to 7 million playgoers in the company’s magnificent Beaux Arts–style theater located in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square theater district.

To learn more about A.C.T., please visit:


Hamlin Excels at Theater Festival Competition

On February 16, our seventeen Hamlin thespians excelled at an incredibly challenging theater festival. We competing with 257 students (Grades 6-8) from 22 different middle schools from all over California at the Middle School Stage Fest in Pleasant Hill, earning 5 gold medals, 4 silver medals, 5 bronze medals, and 18 Bravissimo Awards for Excellence in Theatre Artistry. The adjudicators assessed our monologues, scenes, musical solos, and musical duets.

The CETA Middle Stage Fest, now in its eighteenth year, is an exciting event for middle school drama students. At the festival, students perform monologues, scenes, and musical theatre numbers for panels of adjudicators and compete to earn bronze, silver and gold medals. In addition, while judges are tabulating the scores, students get to participate in high-energy theatre games. Unlike involvement in sports, it is rare for theatre students to have the opportunity to meet peers from other schools, share their passion, showcase their talent, and learn from one another. This festival brings together hundreds of students to do just that. All participating students qualify to attend CA YOUTH IN THEATRE DAY, where they meet and perform with other award-winning students from throughout the state.

To learn more, please visit:

Interview with Theater Teacher: Heidi Abbott

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Abbott and learn more about her wonderful life in theater. Ms. Abbott has been teaching at Hamlin for 18 years. During that time she has directed roughly 126 plays.

What is your background with theater/performing arts?

I tried to do theater in high school and college, but I was kind of a repressed theater geek. I went to college (at Middlebury) and majored in English. I then went on to teach English and coach sports for 9 years at different private schools in the Midwest and East Coast. When I was 28 years old I started to question whether I was doing what I truly loved. I was cast in a summer theater play (Mother of Us All by Gertrude Stein) and that experience helped convert me to theater. I had a Master’s in English (also from Middlebury), but took a huge risk, quit my job, sold my horse (I had been a competitive rider) and went to New York City to train at the New Actors Workshop. I loved embodying language, expressing possibilities as I demonstrated compassion and empathy for the characters that I played. There is just so much personal and emotional growth that goes into portraying a character in a play.

What is your favorite role as an actor?

I loved playing Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. I learned how to deeply empathize with her difficult circumstances. She’s a broken person who I profoundly cared for.

What do you like most about working with Hamlin theater students?

I love seeing students build their confidence and take risks. They are great raw material for theater. They are willing to publicly speak and be on stage. I admire their courage, and love their excitement to try new things.

What is a favorite play of yours and one that you loved doing at Hamlin?

One of my favorite plays is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; I saw it both on Broadway and in San Francisco. I directed The Curious Savage at Hamlin twice; it is one of my favorites. The play questions what it means to be normal and what it means to be an individual.

Who are some of your favorite actors?

Meryl Streep is such a classic actor. Emma Stone is insanely talented. I also really like Bradley Cooper.

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your theater work?

Mindfulness is at the foundation of our theater work. You have to be able to pay attention to everything that is happening right now. The breath is an anchor for mindfulness and for an actor it is a vehicle for everything you need to do. We start every class with mindful breathing. Practicing mindfulness can be the difference between being a good actor, or being a great one.

Middle School Performs Arabian Nights

Our Grade 7 & 8 Theater Elective class has worked hard on their production of Arabian Nights, a stage re-enactment of Scheherazade’s 1,001 nightly tales. Students watched the show on Thursday and parents can see it tonight, January 25 at 7 p.m..

Arabian Nights is the legend of the greatest storyteller in the ancient Arabic world, Scheherazade, who uses her tale-spinning talents to save her people from their angry Persian king. Betrayed by his wife, the broken-hearted King Shahryar decides to punish all the women in his kingdom. Armed with only her wit and her imagination, Scheherazade heroically steps in to enchant the king with stories for 1001 nights and to turn his hatred back into love.

Scheherazade’s stories are based on a collection of folk tales written during the Islamic Golden Age (between 700’s and 1300’s). These stories trace back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian literature.

Hamlin Performs: “Little Women”

The Middle School ASA theater class performed a holiday scene from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. The scene is set a few days before Christmas in 1861. It starts with the four March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) missing their father, who is away fighting in the American Civil War and will not be home for Christmas. The family is tight on money without their father’s income, so the sisters are worried that their Christmas will not be a good one. Later some beggar children show up and help them remember the true meaning of the holidays.

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books over several months at the request of her publisher. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.

Hamlin Presents: “The Girl Who Cried Wolf”

On December 17, students in Grades 3 and 4 performed the play, The Girl Who Cried Wolf.

In this one-act stage adaptation of Aesop’s fable, a girl chooses ill-gotten thrills over responsibility to her family. 

The play dealt with many important social-emotional learning themes like peer pressure, lying, and integrity in a fun and humorous way with talking sheep and wolves. The entertaining production also provided an opportunity for students to explore aspects of our creed, with a focus on Honesty, Responsibility, and Respect.

For more information about the play, please visit:


Grade 3 Students Perform “Cero” in Spanish

Members of Grade 3 recently performed in the play Cero. The performance was lauded by both parents and faculty members alike.

From Cero’s program:

This Third Grade Spanish play is the result of a collaborative and interdisciplinary project combining theater arts and Spanish. Students have worked on key elements of acting and staging during the rehearsal process. At the same time, the girls have been developing their fluency while using many new Spanish words and phrases within the context of telling a story. 

In addition to developing students’ language and acting skills, we hope that this project has enhanced the girls’ range of self-expression, confidence, and enjoyment of both Spanish and theater. 


Cero is a big, round number… but she feels empty on the inside. As Cero watches the other numbers count off, she wishes that she could count, too. But how can a number worth nothing count for something? 

No matter how much Cero tries to change her shape, she realizes that she will always be a zero.

Will Cero learn that everyone has value, no matter their shape or size?