Preparing Boys for Life.

Meet our Theater Faculty

Darren Hengst, Department Chair

Darren Hengst Theater at The Haverford School

B.A. Lycoming College, M.F.A. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Why I Teach

I teach theater to help students realize that acting on stage is about understanding human behavior. When we break down a character’s decisions and circumstances, the boys realize that they can relate their life experience to the character’s situation. I also love the collaborative effort it takes to produce play. Finally, it is inspiring for me to see a student become a different person onstage. Even if he is reserved off-stage, a student can be free to shed his skin and take risks. I am extremely lucky to be able to witness these transformations on a daily basis.

In the Field

I have been a professional actor in the Philadelphia region for more than a decade, performing in "Les Miserables," "Of Mice and Men," and "Born Yesterday" at The Walnut Street Theatre; and "Sunday in the Park with George" at the Arden Theatre. I also worked with the 11th Hour Theatre Company Next Step Concert Series on "Into the Woods" (Baker) and "Five Points." One of the greatest honors of my career was singing for Stephen Sondheim at the Arden Theatre’s first Master Storyteller Award.

Favorite Plays

"The Glass Menagerie," "Death of a Salesman," "Hamilton," "Sunday in the Park with George."

William Bryant, Technical Theater

B.S. and B.M., University of Delaware

Why I Teach

Working in theater allows me to discover aspects of myself and those around me at a level many people never have the time to consider. Designing and constructing the theatrical worlds in which actors are able to able to explore the lives of the characters they are portraying, and also their own lives continues to be an exciting and meaningful challenge for me. As both an actor and technician, I see the importance of the balance of creativity with reality, and also the valuable skills that working in theater production requires and fosters. Helping students to learn both the technical elements as well as enabling them to creatively express themselves on stage or behind the scenes is a joy that I hope many of the students with share and continue to take part in. 

In the Field

I have worked as an actor and as a set designer/technical director in the greater Philadelphia region, from Maryland to New Jersey. Some of my favorite performances include "The Last Five Years" (Jamie), "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" (Andrew Jackson), and "Spring Awakening" (Moritz), and some of my favorite productions I have worked on include "Heathers," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Gypsy." 

Favorite Plays

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Spring Awakening," "Cabaret," "Evita," and "Maria Stuarda." 

Jennifer Hallman, Middle School

Jennifer Hallman Middle School Theater

B.A. West Chester University

Why I Teach
Theater makes anyone who practices it a better person. It is the examination and portrayal of the human condition, which encourages character development, personal growth, and sharing perspectives. Students who have the opportunity to take theater classes in school are constantly putting themselves in other people's shoes (literally and figuratively), in turn creating a climate that cultivates change. The transitional years from child to teenager are the most vital in emotional development, and I strongly believe that every Middle School student needs a creative outlet of some kind. Theater encompasses not only acting, but music, design, art, and technical elements where our boys can find an outlet in a medium they truly enjoy.

In the Field
I am a founder of two theatre companies, Fourth Wall Productions and H.O.P.E. Players (Helping Other People Endure), both 100% volunteer-run philanthropic non-profit theater companies. I have directed and been cast in various productions, and some of my favorite roles to play include Ouiser in "Steel Magnolias," Crystal in "Little Shop of Horrors,"

the secondary princess in "Disenchanted," and"Parallel Lives," a sketch comedy show written by Mo Collins and Kathy Najimy. I have performed in the Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and D.C. Fringe Festivals as well as the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA).

Favorite Plays

"Hamilton," "In the Heights," "Into the Woods," "Cabaret," "Little Shop of Horrors," Wicked," "Fences," "God of Carnage," "Barefoot in the Park."

Read more about Ms. Hallman in Faces of Haverford >

Did You Know?

The Haverford School offers unparalleled arts facilities, including a 650-seat professional performance hall and a 250-seat auditorium.

Learn more about our Arts facilities >