We saw a lot of middle school teachers at the TETA (Texas Educational Theatre Association) conference last week. TETA is where we really became aware of middle school teachers and the dearth of material for this age group. It’s such a funny age, some plays are clearly too kiddie and some plays cover themes that are just more appropriate for older teens. Talking to these teachers prompted us to look for and write scripts for middle schools.
I had some amazing conversations with a couple of teachers that all circulated the same theme: raising the bar. Finding work for their students that challenged them, that made them take risks, that let them know they could act at a higher level. These teachers were not interested in Aesop’s Fables or Fairy Tales.
One teacher told us how she went to a new school last year where the students had never memorized their lines for their plays. She used School Daze to push them, (and every student memorized their lines) and in the end they felt a huge sense of pride in what they accomplished.
One teacher told us how she used our version of The Canterbury Tales with her middle school students. They had an amazing time with it (Their moto was ‘Kick Tale’) and I loved her description of the set: The set started out with a road (like the yellow brick road only not) and as the play progressed, pieces of the road were picked up and formed together to make the Canterbury Cathedral. This is what middle school students are doing!
So, this is a shout out to all middle school teachers out there. What kind of scripts do you want for your students? What classical works do you want adapted? What techniques do you want to explore? One of my development projects is to put together another non-verbal play (like Emotional Baggage) for middle schools on bullying – but we are open and we want to hear from you!