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Theatre Pathway

Program Description

The Theatre Pathway is housed at Maurice J. McDonough High School. It is open to students who have an interest in theater performance, theater design and production.  Students may participate in extended day learning opportunities and may earning college credit. The program is designed to enhance the lives of students by providing a more arts-rich environment than traditional high school schedules.

Theatre Pathway Fact Sheet

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Theatre Pathways Opportunities

Theatre Performance

  • Acting/Directing
  • Musical Theatre 

Technical Theatre and Design

  • Scenic, Costumes, Makeup, Lighting, Sound, Properties, Paint, Digital Projections, Theatrical Marketing, Stage Management 

Pathway Description

The Theatre Pathway is a comprehensive program that aims to provide students with a well-rounded theatre experience while fulfilling graduation requirements and preparing them for college and the workforce. It offers specialized options in acting, technical theatre, or musical theatre. This program is open to students with or without prior theatre experience who have an interest in the performing or technical aspects of theatre. 

While the primary goal of the Pathway is to prepare students for college and careers in the arts, the courses offered in the Theatre Pathway also help develop important skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, creativity, discipline, and time managements. These skills are valuable not only in arts-related careers but also in various non-arts fields such as law advertising, business, teaching, engineering, political science, architecture, and more.  

In addition to regular coursework, students may earn college credit through dual enrollment with the College of Southern Maryland. Students can expect to participate in seminars that focus on areas such as rehearsal techniques, audition preparation, master class/critique sessions, and performance field trips.  These activities aim to enhance students’ practical skills and provide them with real-world experiences in the theatre industry.  

A pathway paired with solid educational coursework in high school will give students who are unsure of what they want to do in the future all the tools necessary to make strong educational choices while having fun, learning, and strengthening their 21st century college and career skills. 

What do I need to know before I complete the application?

  1. Families can attend an informational meeting at McDonough on December 12, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.
  2. Refer to the High School Program of Studies for other specific course requirements.

Students eligible to apply must meet the following qualifications:

  • Both the student and parent/guardian must be current residents of Charles County.
  • The student must be currently enrolled (SY 2023-24) as an eighth-grader in a Charles County Public Schools middle school, private school, or be homeschooled.
  • No formal theatre instruction is required.

Application Process

  • Student completes the online application with all required information.
  • Student and Parent/Guardian may attend an informational meeting which will describe the audition process, course descriptions, and other aspects of the program in more detail on December 12, 2023 at 6:30 p.m., at Maurice J. McDonough High School School Auditorium.
  • Attend an audition on TBD.


  • Student completes the online application with all required information.
  • Report cards for sixth and seventh grade are uploaded to the application.
  • Student and Parent/Guardian electronically sign the application.
  • Attend an audition on TBD.

Apply Here

Admission decisions are made based on the following criteria:

  • 70%  Student audition which includes an assessment of skills
  • 15%  Academic performance in sixth and seventh grades as it relates to the program
  • 10%  Application questions and video
  • 5%  Middle School Attendance - sixth and seventh grade.

Audition Process

  • Prior to the Audition
    • Attend the Informational Meeting on December 12, 2023 at 6:30 p.m., at McDonough High School Auditorium. (Recommended)
    • Practice the audition component you have selected to be demonstrated at the audition
  • Day of the Audition
    • Arrival: Applicants should arrive 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Students who arrive more than 10 minutes late may not be admitted into the audition. 
    • Attire: Performance Applicants should arrive wearing lose fitting clothing to be able to move for the Improvisation portion 
      • Hair must be secured away from the neck and face. No loose jewelry (e.g. necklace, bracelet, hoop earrings) is to be worn for the audition. 
    • Accompanying Adult: Parents are to drop off applicants and return at the conclusion of the audition.
    • Audition Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
    • Unforeseen Illness or Emergency: If the applicant cannot attend or complete the scheduled audition due to an unforeseen illness or emergency, please immediately contact 301-934-2944. Please leave a detailed voicemail if the call is not answered up by a live operator. Please be aware that auditions will not be rescheduled without documentation verifying the illness or emergency. 
    • Inclement Weather: In the event that school activities are canceled due to inclement weather, auditions will be postponed.  All emergency closing and cancellation information will be posted on the CCPS automated information line,301-934-7410 or 301-932-6655. Closings and cancellation announcements may also be made through local media. 
  • After the Audition
    • Students will be notified if callbacks (second round of auditions) are required.
    • Students will be notified in February, or March if postponed because of inclement weather, if they are accepted into the program.

Selection Process

Once the application process is closed, a committee will meet to determine a qualifying score for the program.  All students who meet the qualifying score will be considered as candidate for the program. Candidates will be randomly selected for acceptance and the others will be put on the waitlist and offered a seat if it becomes available.

Acceptance Requirements

In Spring 2024, letters of acceptance will be mailed. The letter of acceptance will contain an acceptance/decline agreement. Within two weeks of receipt, the acceptance/decline agreement must be signed and returned with two proofs of legal Charles County residency.  If the acceptance agreement is not received within two weeks, Maurice J. McDonough High School will consider the acceptance as declined by the parent and the student.