When you’ve reached the end of the semester or completed your school show, it’s likely your students will be dealing with some post-show blues or wondering – what is the next step?
Hopefully they will have been bitten by the theatre bug and will want to continue on studying drama! (If so, get them signed up immediately for the next level of drama classes.) Perhaps they have aspirations of getting a bigger role in next year’s production. Maybe they have discovered a love for technical theatre and want to gain more experience in the booth or backstage. Or maybe they are now considering studying theatre in university or college.
No matter their reason for wanting to continue on with their theatrical studies, as drama teachers we definitely need to encourage our students to keep challenging themselves and pursuing more theatrical opportunities. However, we also need to give students different ideas of where to start, and help them to see opportunities outside of simply working on a show or taking drama classes. Theatre has so many transferable skills that can be used outside of shows, and there are many different avenues that students can pursue.
It’s time for students to look outwards, and learn how their newfound skills can be used, refined, developed, and practiced, to help them with their theatrical or other pursuits.
Challenge your students to brainstorm ideas of places and situations where they could find or create theatrical opportunities for themselves outside of the drama classroom.
Encourage your students to think beyond just performance ideas. Performing is great of course, but don’t forget about the technical and backstage parts of theatre as well. Being well-rounded and having a variety of theatrical skills will help your students go far!
To help your students get into the mindset of transferable skills, have them read these blog posts: What Skills Do You Need to Work on a Show? and Getting Other Departments Involved in Your Production. Encourage them to create connections between the skills they use in the drama classroom and skills they use in the “real world.” Then, start brainstorming!
Here are some ideas for your students to try out, to keep their creative juices flowing and grow their theatrical skills while they wait for next year’s drama class:
Each school and city will have its own theatrical scene (or lack thereof), so this exercise will be completely different in each drama classroom. Have a colleague do this exercise with their class as well, and compare both classes’ answers. Perhaps you will open up opportunities to other drama students, or discover opportunities that you never thought of.