Today I want to share a Write and Win entry from Jeff Lloyd of Bernice MacNaughton High School. Jeff talks about the great variety and success of his programs and gives a shout out to our two new writing resoucrces: Write Your Own Vignette Play and Scene Spurs: Writing Prompts for Dramatic Depth:
Being a high school drama teacher is an extremely rewarding job. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of dozens of students, teachers and volunteers our program continues to grow each year. We participate in drama festivals, hold evenings of one act plays, produce student written work, and stage large scale Broadway Musicals.
Last April we produced a successful run of The Phantom of the Opera. We sold over 700 seats each night and got enthusiastic responses from our audiences. After the show, lots of colleagues and parents asked ‘How are you going to top this one?’ It was a difficult question to answer, because although Phantom was a huge success, in my mind it wasn’t the highlight of last year’s drama program.
Last December, we held an evening of student written and directed plays. These plays were produced on a much smaller scale and were seen by a much smaller audience, but the commitment that these students made to each other to create a completely original production was something special. The students who saw this original production were captivated by the creativity of their peers. The success of this inaugural playwriting event encouraged more students to begin writing plays. We now have a full slate of student written plays ready for production.
Creating a playwriting workshop gives your drama students a new challenge and can also encourage an entirely new demographic to get involved with theatre. For those of you who find this idea daunting, there are two new useful resources available from Theatrefolk. I’ve recently purchased Lindsay Price’s Scene Spurs and How to Write Your Own Vignette Play and both books are full of activities to help springboard student writing.
It’s been my experience that if you put a bunch of creative students in a room, give them an opportunity to write, and share ideas the results can be pretty amazing. Our theatre group is currently putting the final touches on a production of The Drowsy Chaperone, but I’m quietly looking forward to second semester when our drama focus will be on student created projects. Allowing students to create their own stories and then produce their own work is what high school theatre should be about.
Jeff Lloyd, BA, BEd
Bernice MacNaughton High School
Our Write and Win promotion is now closed. The lucky winner (of a Script Bank membership) will be announced at the beginning of December.