Production Teaching Drama

Putting on a Class Production Part 1: What to Produce?

Putting on a Classroom Production
Written by Kerry Hishon

This is Part 1 of a 5-Part Class Production Series.

Putting on a class production is a great opportunity for your students to use the skills they have learned in drama class in a practical way, while having a lot of fun. This blog series will give you some tips to help your students through this process. 

First, you’ll need to decide what to produce. Will you, as the teacher, select a show for the class to do and act as director/producer? Will your students get to contribute, and if so, how much? Or, will your students go through the entire process of putting on a class production from the ground up themselves?

Once you have decided how much your students will contribute to the production process, you’ll need to iron out the details of the production. No matter who is making the decisions (you, your students, or a combination of both), here are some points to consider:

GOAL
  • What is the goal of the production? To entertain, to educate, to protest, to inform, to explore? This is your WHY. Why are you producing a show as a class?
  • What theme or topic will the production focus on? Will the production be tied into something the class has already studied that term?
SCRIPT
  • Will you use an existing script or a student-written script?
  • If the class selects an existing script, what is the cost to purchase the rights/royalties? (Just because this is a class project doesn’t mean you are exempt from going through the correct channels to acquire an existing piece.)
  • If the script is student-written, will the piece be devised by the full class, a small group or groups, or one student author? How much will the production timeline have to be adjusted if the script is student-written?
  • If your students are contributing to the process of selecting a piece, you may challenge them to pitch their project  or create a SWOT analysis  to convey their ideas. These 5 tips for selecting a play for production might also be helpful!
STYLE
  • What style of piece will the class produce? A “regular” play or a vignette play? Comedy, tragedy, history? Play or musical? Musical, spoken word piece or movement piece? What about a combination of all of these?
LOGISTICS
  • How will the class determine how decisions will be made? Voting? Selecting a student production head that makes the final decisions? Polling the class? Pulling suggestions out of a hat? Teacher makes the final decisions?
  • Where will the production be performed? Your classroom? Your auditorium? Another location?
  • Who is the production for? Who is your audience? 
  • Will you charge admission?
  • Do you have a budget? If not, how will your class create their show on a shoestring?
  • How long will the production be? Establishing a time limit will keep your class production from going on too long.
  • What’s your timeline? When in the semester will you start this process? When will the final performance(s) take place?
ASSESSMENT
  • How will students’ contributions be evaluated? Since this is a class production, students will have to be graded. What learning points will you focus on? Can students suggest criteria to add to the rubric?
Click here for a free worksheet your students can use to contribute production ideas.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.

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About the author

Kerry Hishon

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. View her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.