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Performing Arts

The Besant Hill School Performing Arts Department is dedicated to educating students of all levels in the art of theatre, film, vocal and instrumental music and musical theater. Curricular offerings include classes in acting/directing, beginning and advanced levels of instrumental and vocal ensembles, music theory, applied instruction in any instrument as well as voice and beginning and advanced levels of film.

We believe that education in the performing arts occurs not only in the classroom, but must occur in performance/production opportunities as well. Each year, Besant Hill produces mainstage theater productions, formal musical concerts and student led variety shows. Students are also actively involved in performing in the community as well.

Recent opportunities have included, Ojai Day, local battle of the band competitions, a combined concert with the Ojai Youth Symphony and the Ojai Film Festival. Occasionally, curricular offerings are supplemented with opportunities to work side by side with professional artists for lectures and workshops, sharing their knowledge of the art and business of theater and film. Here at Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, from the earliest days of Aldous Huxley to Beatrice Wood, the arts have been an integral part of every student’s education and in an era when the arts are often eliminated, here, we celebrate them!

The arts are forms of storytelling, human relations, and emotional expression. Imagination has always been a celebrated characteristic of those learning & teaching at the school. Yes, we are “still learning”, but, in the arts we’re also dreaming and in the words of playwright Jane Martin: “You gotta have a dream. It’s our dreams that make us what we are.”

Theater Program

The Besant Hill School Theater program is dedicated to educating students of all levels in the art of theater through classes in acting, directing, design, voice, dance, musical theatre, production and technical theater. Education occurs not only in the classroom, but also in production opportunities.
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Music Program

The music program at Besant Hill is performance based, providing performance opportunities for all skill levels from beginning to advanced. These opportunities include not only school concerts, variety shows and assemblies, but off campus events as well. Some of these off-campus events include Ojai Day, M.L.K. Day, Battle of the Bands, performances at other county High Schools, the Beatrice Wood Studio, and a variety of other venues.
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Dance Program

During our time together, students will be introduced to dance, movement, and creative exploration through various styles of dance such as ballet, jazz, modern, tap, social dances, and the current commercialized style known as hip hop. Students will learn dance technique through ballet barre work with correct body alignment, conditioning, traveling floor and center combinations, and choreography.
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  • Battle of the Bands

    Posted May 1, 2016

    Congratulations to our talented students for their well-deserved first and second place wins! Kudos to them, Music Chair Dave Cosby, and all who participated in this year's Battle of the Bands. We are grateful to The Thacher School for continuing to host this fun event for Ojai students!

  • Spring Musical is a Dirty Rotten Hit!

    Posted April 24, 2016

    A cast of 27 students performed to a full Zalk Theater, both Friday and Saturday nights, during the 70th Anniversary and Spring Arts/Family Weekend. This year's hilarious production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the 1988 film of the same name, was the culmination of months of rehearsals, along with extensive costume and set design.

  • Spring Concert 2016

    Posted April 23, 2016

    Directed by Arts and Music Chairs Dan Call and Dave Cosby, the Besant Hill School Chamber Singers and Advanced Instrumental Ensemble gave an energetic concert during Spring Arts Weekend featuring many genres and styles of music. During the show, one audience member was asked to the upcoming prom by a chamber singer! It was a fun concert enjoyed by all those attending the weekend Spring Arts Celebrations!

  • Distinguished Speaker: Thomas Pollock '60

    Posted April 22, 2016

    As part of our Distinguished Speaker Series, Thomas Pollock '60, movie producer and grandson of Louis Zalk (one of Happy Valley School's founders and earliest supporters), was interviewed by Kevin Henschel '93 in the Zalk Theater during a special assembly.

  • Aun Aprendo Magazine, Spring 2016

    Posted April 21, 2016

    Our Spring edition of Aun Aprendo is hot off the digital press! Thanks to the many dedicated staff members and alumni for their contributions, and to our students for the great spirit they fill the campus with, each and every day.

  • Spring Arts/Family Weekend will Celebrate 70th Anniversary

    Posted April 20, 2016

    Families and alumni are invited to join us Friday & Saturday, April 22-23, for our 70th Anniversary and Spring Arts Celebration Family Weekend 2016. We will celebrate our students' superlative work in the visual and performing arts. We will also honor former faculty and staff in a Memorial Sculpture Garden ceremony.

  • Spring Musical will be Dirty Rotten April 22-23

    Posted April 4, 2016

    Rehearsals are in full-swing at the Zalk Theater as the Performing Arts Department at Besant Hill School of Happy Valley prepare their upcoming spring musical production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

  • YOU MUST CHOOSE! (to recycle)

    Posted March 9, 2016

    Media Team takes "Waste Not March" into the Twighlight Zone with a short film about an Environmental Studies student who gets caught between reality and nightmare. (Don't worry, there's a happy ending.)

  • Friday's Spring Variety Show, Live Audio Stream

    Posted March 2, 2016

    Friday's Spring Variety Show begins at 7pm. For those not able to attend, tune into a live audio stream via Besant Hill Radio! »

  • Media Team does it again with this Valentine's Day Infomercial

    Posted February 7, 2016

    The Besant Hill School Media Team did it again with this hilariously shameless infomercial promoting flowers and chocolate for Valentine's Day!

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Friday & Saturday
April 22 & 23
7pm (click for info)

The world is a complicated place, and there's a lot of division between people. The performing arts tend to unify people in a way nothing else does." David Rubenstein


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