- We welcome and include students of all levels—grade and experience. Everyone can and will find a place within this organization as long as they possess an interest in theater and the willingness to learn, to take risks, to stretch their comfort zones, and to work hard.
- We value a process-based approach that emphasizes learning and provides performers, technicians, and musicians with a safe, open space to explore, understand, and sharpen their skills as theater artists.
- We define success by our personal and community growth and development, as well as by the community response to and attendance at our productions.
- We recognize that we need one another to develop physically, psychologically, and socially as well as for having fun and achieving our goals. This requires work, dedication, cooperation, positive attitudes, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.
Theater Opportunities at Chaska High School
- Main Stage Productions–CHS produces three main stage productions a year: a fall musical, a competition one act in the winter, and a spring play. Students are involved in all aspects of main stage productions at Chaska, including performing, designing, stage managing, building, promoting, and publicizing. No matter what your area of interest, you will find a place and a role within the CHS Theater community.
- Student Showcase Production: Once a year, we present a Student Showcase Production, which is a night devoted to highlighting and recognizing the incredible talent and work of our students. Students plan, produce, and run the entire evening–they serve as playwrights, directors, stage managers, designers, performers, technicians, and producers. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning and be recognized for their tremendous talents and growth.
- Thespian Troupe: Chaska High School is a proud member of the International Thespian Society, an honor organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating excellence in high school theater. Our Thespian Troupe is a group of students who have earned induction into the Troupe and Society by demonstrating their love of theater by accruing at least 100 hours of quality work in theater. Inducted Thespians continue to progress in rank through the Society by participating in all areas of theater. They also earn the right to compete for Thespian scholarships at the state and national level, audition for the premiere performance schools in the region and nation, and present their performance and design work at the state and national level for recognition and feedback. Additionally, CHS Thespians engage in community service projects and help organize fun theater events for all CHS theater students.
- Elective Classes: Chaska High School offers 3 elective courses in Theater through the English department. In Introduction to Theater, students study and apply the basic tenets of performance, using mime, improvisation, clowning, commedia dell’arte, and playbuilding to frame and structure their work. In Theater Arts (the intermediate course), students expand and define their learning even more with units specifically focused on Design and Technical Theater, Realism as a Theater Genre and Approach, Social Justice/Protest Theater, and Shakespeare. The final course in the elective sequence is Advanced Theater Arts, which is a Capstone class. In this course, students identify an area of interest within the Theater discipline and design a project based around that interest. The course follows the Project-Based Learning Model and functions similarly to a senior project that a student might undertake during his or her post-secondary education. The experience is rigorous, relevant, and ultimately very rewarding for students.
Meet Ms. Farrell
This year, Mrs. Jennifer Dinndorf begins her seventh year teaching English and Theater at Chaska High School and her tenth year teaching overall. Mrs. Dinndorf received her Bachelor’s degree in English, license in Secondary Education, and a minor in Theater from the University of Minnesota Morris and her Masters degree in English Education from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is currently pursuing her K-12 license in Theater Arts and Dance from Hamline University.
Mrs. Dinndorf began her teaching and directing career at Maple Grove Senior High School, where she taught English 10, English 11, Speech A & B, and Drama A & B for three years, as well as directing the annual spring play, producing the winter one-acts, and advising the drama club.
Since coming to CHS, Mrs. Dinndorf has taught English 9, English 11, English 9/10X, Creative Writing, and all three Theater electives. She currently teaches English 9, Introduction to Theater, Theater Arts, Advanced Theater Arts, and Creative Production, as well as directing the fall play and spring musical, advising the Drama Club, and serving as the troupe director for Chaska’s International Thespian Society Troupe.