Arts Programs at Ashley Hall
Creativity is a hallmark of the Ashley Hall girl and one that inspires and fuels her spirit. All of our arts programs provide students with a curriculum that nurtures their talent from a young age. Ashley Hall boasts a strong tradition of nurturing the skill of young artists by offering a comprehensive mix of classes in the fine arts including visual arts, dance, chorus, drama and music. Ashley Hall puts a significant value on art’s role in child development & education through diverse programs.
The Ashley Hall Performing Arts program provides students with a curriculum that nurtures talent from a young age. Through intense study in vocal, dance, and theatrical programs, students learn an appreciation of performing arts and gain the ability and knowledge needed to continue performance arts study.
Vocal music at Ashley Hall begins at Kindergarten and finishes with the oldest established ensemble at Ashley Hall, the Red Choir. Young vocal students receive musical training encompassing a wide variety of genres and cultures. There are opportunities to experiment with different percussion instruments in the Orff approach, to undertake intricate rhythmic studies associated with African and Mexican music traditions, learning about many classic composers, and listening to or singing their compositions.
Drama at Ashley Hall, offered to students in grades six through twelve, begins with an introduction to the fundamentals of theater and culminates with each student’s conducting a thorough study and performance of a prominent American playwright. Through acting exercises, students learn reliable vocal control, increase body awareness and flexibility and improve concentration, attention and listening skills. Productions of Shakespeare and contemporary plays, as well as the rich humanities curriculum allow for a well-rounded and thorough introduction to theatrical performing arts.
One of Ashley Hall’s most sacred traditions is the Christmas Play. First presented in 1924 under the direction of school founder, Mary Vardrine McBee, the Christmas Play is a beautiful and ancient retelling of the Nativity Cycle of the medieval Mystery Plays of Chester, England. Ashley Hall students of all ages —100 in total—are represented in this pageant portraying the roles of young angels, dancing jesters, shepherds, the Holy Family and even Magi complete with beards. The exquisite sounds of the Red Choir provides musical interludes throughout the performance.
Dance at Ashley Hall promotes body awareness, coordination, core strength, and flexibility. The students strive to find a balance between hard work developing technique and the more playful activity of creating expressive movement. Students will experience movement, develop and nurture respect for theater decorum, and gain appreciation of performance art.
The Ashley Hall Visual Arts program provides every student with a firm foundation of artistic skills through a student-centered, sequential program of instruction that includes art production, history, and criticism.
All visual arts students, from pre-school through twelfth grade, will explore a wide range of art production, process, and media exploration through drawing and both two-dimensional and three-dimensional design. Activities are often selected to make an interdisciplinary connection with other subject areas.
Private Lesson Program
Serving the greater Charleston community Ashley Hall Private Lesson Program coupled with group classes and performance opportunities for students of all levels. Classes in violin, viola, cello, and voice are offered at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Ashley Hall Writers Series
The Ashley Hall Writers series hosts award-winning adult and children’s book authors on the school’s historic downtown campus. These special events are generally free and open to the Charleston community. Recent featured guests have included acclaimed art critic for The New Republic Jed Perl, non-fiction writer and poet Lisa Wells, and award-winning food writer Rossi Anastopoulo ’13.