Preparing Boys for Life

Meet our Theater Faculty

Darren Hengst

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."

Stephen "Dex" Woodward

Why I Teach

Theater was an very important part of my own high school career, and the fundamentals I learned working on school productions inspired me to become the entertainment technician and overall person I am today. Theater teachers many lessons which can be applied to everyday life, including cooperation, patience, problem solving, and adaptability. When I teach others how to operate stage equipment and work within a performance space, I know that I am providing them with knowledge they can apply to the world around them in addition to using those skills in the traditional theater setting. 

In the Field

I got my start as a freelance stagehand in the Boston and Massachusetts Bay area working as a stage electrician, scene shop carpenter, fly operator, costume craftsperson, digital film projectionist, and any other odd job I could find in the region's theaters and producing companies such as the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Opera Boston, and American Repertory Theatre. This led me on the path to general management and operation of performing arts venues, and I have served in that role for Emerson College's Office of the Arts in Boston and the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, TX. 

Favorite Plays

"The Lion King," "Les Miserables," "Finding Neverland," "La Boheme" 

Jennifer Hallman

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 >