Performing Arts

Dollinger Center for the Arts

Opened in 2001 and named for a Canterbury great-grandparent, the Dollinger Center for the Arts serves the entire school community from PK3 - Grade 12 as a vital hub for arts education. A 375-seat theater, orchestra pit, control booth, box office, green room, dressing rooms and other supporting spaces are the main features of the 18,000 square-foot facility, which also includes a workshop, lobby art gallery, conference room, choral room, band room, two visual arts classrooms, kiln room and dark room.

Concerts, rehearsals and performances; art exhibits; and special event receptions expand the use of the facility beyond classroom instruction. The Dollinger Center has also been a local venue for music and dance recitals, making the space available to the greater Tampa Bay community.

For information about reserving the Dollinger Center for the Arts, contact Canterbury's Assistant to the Head of School by calling (727) 525-5902.

Theater & Technical Theater Programs

Lower School Theater

Beginning in prekindergarten, students learn literature and dramatic arts during monthly performances complete with costumes, props and sound effects. Budding thespians in kindergarten through Grade 4 take to the stage in grade-level performances.

Middle and Upper School Theater

Middle and upper school students may choose theater electives in drama, musical theater, and technical theater. There are three performances each school year starring students as primary cast and crew: a middle school production, an upper school production, and an all-school musical in which students in Grades 3-12, parents, faculty, and alumni may participate.

Middle and upper school theater electives include

  • Musical Theater
  • Intro to Tech Theater
  • Technical Theater
  • Advanced Stagecraft and Stage Design
  • Theater History
  • Acting I, Acting II

Middle and Upper School Technical Theater

Tech Theater and Advanced Stagecraft involve hands-on design and carpentry application. Students use hand tools and power tools located in the scene shop to build, engineer, assemble and paint elaborate production sets and props. Students also learn to manage sound boards, lighting and all other technical theater responsibilities.

Box Office

The Canterbury Box Office is located just inside the lobby of the Dollinger Center for the Arts. Staffed by parent and student volunteers, the Box Office opens for any performance with reserved seating. Reservations may be made in person during Box Office hours posted in the weeks prior to a performance. Tickets may also be reserved by calling (727) 521-5989 or by emailing

Ticket Prices (for most events):
Adult: Pre-purchase $15 / At the door $20
Student: $5
Senior Citizen: $10

Production Program Ads are available for all Canterbury productions. Program sponsors may feature a business, send a message to a favorite thespian or congratulate the entire cast and crew. Contact Director of Development Pam Walker for details.

Thespian Troupe 4637

Canterbury has active chapters of the International Thespian and Junior Thespian honor societies for the performing arts. These active and enthusiastic groups participate in dramatic productions, musical theater, technical theater support, and at community events throughout the year. Both Thespians and Junior Thespians participate in workshops, as well as district, state, and national competitions. Follow Troup 4637 on Instagram.

The video below was produced by Jacob Hicks, Class of 2016, and longtime member of the tech theater crew. Jacob is now attending Emory University.

2015-2016 Thespian Accolades

Troupe 4637 competed in the District Competition with with solo musical pieces, group pantomimes, monologues, costume design, group musical pieces and ensemble acting, just to name a few of the categories.

Thespians received

  • Superior Rating in One Act Play, awarded the alternate position to move on to State
  • 11 Superior Ratings
  • 3 Excellent Ratings
  • Critic’s Choice in Costume Design
  • 6 acts moved on to State competition in April 2016
Junior Thespians received
  • Critic’s Choice/Superior for One Act, moved on to State competition in February 2016
  • 9 Superior Ratings
  • 9 Excellent ratings
  • 10 acts moved on to the State competition in February 2016

2014-2015 Thespian Accolades

Troupe 4637 received the following at the District Competition
  • 8 Superiors
  • 2 Honorable Mentions
  • 2 Critics Choice at the District Competition
  • One student was awarded the “All Star Cast” trophy

Music Program for PK3 - Grade 4

Our youngest students engage in and explore music through the Orff philosophy of music education. For example, they might begin with a simple phrase that is chanted to establish a rhythmic beat, then add body percussion for the kinesthetic experience, sing a melody, create a dance, and then use American Sign Language to sign lyrics.

This process of creating music is the essence of our curriculum and becomes a wonderful performance experience that we share with the Canterbury community at morning Flag and at larger special holiday assemblies on both campuses. Musical performances include

  • PK3 - Grade 2 - holiday performances
  • Grades 1 and 2 - winter musical performance
  • Grades 3 - 12 - students may try out for the all-school musical production in the spring
  • Grades 3 and 4 - students are provided with a violin and once-per-week instruction
  • Grades 3 and 4 - one-hour musical production in the Dollinger Theater

Lower School Strings

The Strings Program exposes third and fourth grade students to music and violin playing, one day per week. Students learn the basics about the violin, including the string names, caring for and unpacking the violin and bow, and changing the notes of the A Major Scale.

Each student progresses at his or her own rate, and progress is totally dependent on a supportive home environment, parental enthusiasm, and interest and careful practice by the child. It is a rather involved process, not unlike reading, math, or sports, all of which require careful coaching.

Since step-by-step mastery is necessary prior to moving on to a new level, note reading is not implemented until students are able to hold the violin and bow properly while creating quality tone with their bow strokes. By fourth grade, students should have several beginner pieces to demonstrate and be able to do open string rhythms.

Music Program for Grades 5 - 12

Canterbury’s music curriculum is designed to develop a love of music in the same way our core curriculum is designed to develop of love of learning. Students gain new music skills by building upon what they had previously learned. The curriculum remains flexible in order to allow each student to develop at his or her own pace. The music curriculum frequently involves students in real-life experiences, such as performances for important school and community-wide functions such as:

  • Semi-annual Band and Choral concerts
  • Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Kids’ Fishing Derby Luncheon at the Vinoy Hotel & Resort
  • St. Pete Free Clinic’s Soup’s On fundraiser
  • In front of an audience of 3,500 people at the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) People of Color Conference in Tampa

Middle and upper school music electives include:

  • Band (Beginning, Middle School, Upper School)
  • Strings
  • Show Choir
  • Dance
  • Music Appreciation
  • Music History
  • Musical Theater
  • AP Music Theory

Dance Courses for Grades 5 - 12

Dance courses develop a student’s awareness of the basic movements, positions, and vocabulary of ballet, jazz, and modern dance. Students gain awareness of their physical abilities, improve flexibility, and learn to produce movement from each style accurately. Students come away with basic knowledge and exercises of each style, can repeat simple combinations and increase their range of motion. The students learn short dances throughout the semester, and perform them at the end of the semester for an audience.

2019-20 Productions

October 24-26
Fall Theater Production
Clue: On Stage

November 5
Middle/Upper School Performing Arts Concert

Grades 1 & 2 Musical

December 10 & 11
Lower School Holiday Performances

April 23-25
Spring Theater Production

April 29
Grades 3 & 4 Musical

April 30
Middle/Upper School Performing Arts Concert

“We’re a big, weird family, the Thespian group. I definitely found the place where I fit in.”
-- Tori L. (‘18), who played Clairee in the Fall 2015 production of Steel Magnolias