After 27 years, Theater Director John Reese will resign at the end of this school year.
When he began teaching here, play rehearsals took place after classes and an afternoon of sports. That schedule proved too taxing for both him and his students, so Mr. Reese pushed for a co-curricular theater spot. The productions and students’ academic work improved dramatically.
Mr. Reese came to the school in 1984 because former Headmaster Robert Kaufman wished to enhance Deerfield’s theater and music programs to offer a more fully rounded liberal arts education. Mr. Reese is now concerned that scheduling complications may edge out the value the school places on a liberal arts education. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for students to add performing arts to their schedules,” he said.
During his first seven years, Mr. Reese taught five classes every term and directed extra-curricular productions while being an associate in a dorm. He also contributed ideas towards plans for the new theater wing—the Reid Black Box. Mr. Reese hopes that, in the future, it will become easier for students to enroll in a performing arts course. “These classes give students confidence, and enhance their presentation and communication skills,” Mr. Reese said.
He believes that “the arts cut across all disciplines and viscerally enrich students’ lives. They provide new ways of learning about themselves and the world in which they live.”