Collection of "Technical Theatre" Resources :: Drama Teacher Academy
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Technical Theatre Collection

Courses

Basic Lighting for Drama Teachers

by Claire Broome

Join drama teacher Claire Broome and explore the basics of lighting, including lighting systems and instruments, lighting plots, how to record a lighting cue, and alternative sources of lighting. You’ll learn some practical, hands-on ways of using lighting in your classroom or theatre, whether you have a lighting system or not.

This course is packed with hands-on examples, activities for your students, and videos to develop your students’ understanding. Find out why lighting is such an important character in a production.

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Introduction to Stage Makeup

by Matt Webster

This introductory course in Stage Makeup is brought to you by Matt Webster, and covers all the basics. You’ll learn the tools you can use to build a makeup kit, how to match skin tone, what are the shapes of the face and how those shapes affect everything you do with makeup.

You’ll learn about highlight and shadow, blending, basic corrective makeup, safety and hygiene, and lastly, tips for teaching makeup. And throughout, sample exercises are included so you have the information you need to bring stage makeup into the drama classroom.

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Introduction to Stage Management Part One

by Karen Loftus

In this course, instructor Karen Loftus explores the responsibilities of a stage manager. You'll learn exercises that will help you demonstrate those responsibilities and the necessary skills of a stage manager to your students. You'll learn how to train your students to serve as stage managers for your school’s productions.

The course takes you through what a stage manager does prior to rehearsal and throughout the rehearsal and performance process to have a smooth-running backstage. It includes learning about the paperwork required, including prompt scripts, rehearsal preparations, notating blocking, and a stage manager’s kit and checklist to wrap it all together.

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Introduction to Stage Management Part Two

by Karen Loftus

Karen Loftus instructs this second course in stage management - a companion to Introduction to Stage Management Part One.

This course will review the major concepts covered in Introduction to Stage Management, and discuss the different types of technical rehearsals and how student stage managers prepare for and run them. You’ll learn how to teach your students to notate and call cues for a show. The course will also introduce strategies for student stage managers who work with student crews. It will discuss how you can provide the support your student stage managers need to be effective, and how that support helps to strengthen your overall program and theatre community.

Student stage managers start in the classroom, train during school productions, and can take these newly discovered and acquired skills on with them to colleges and careers and theatre (and beyond)!

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Making Blood and Gore Tutorial

by Linda Veneris

This tutorial, led by Linda Veneris, shows teachers and students how to make blood and gore with easy to find, everyday ingredients.

Included are recipes, video demonstrations, and top 10 tips for working with students on blood and gore. This tutorial can be part of a stage makeup unit in your classroom as well as for productions.

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Old Age Makeup Tutorial

by Matt Webster

Instructor Matt Webster guides this tutorial on Old Age Makeup. Old age is the number one special effect makeup you will do and it’s a great process to teach in your class.

This video series takes you visually step by step through everything you need to know about creating old age makeup, from the subtle to the extreme. You can view each step individually so they can be practiced one at a time in the classroom.

The first part is the temple and the forehead. The second part are the cheeks and the jaw. Third will be lips, chin, and nose. Fourth is a section on the face called the nasolabial fold. Fifth, the eyes. And the sixth section will be looking at wrinkles, stippling and finishing the makeup look. These sections are designed to be seen one at a time and to teach within a 90-minute class between instruction, setup, practice, and cleanup. When you put them all together, you will have the parts and pieces to make a full old age makeup. .

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Tech for Non-Techies: Teaching Technical Theatre in Your Drama Classroom

by Josh Hatt

In this course, instructor Joshua Hatt shows you how to unpack your drama standards, articulate what you want your students to know and be able to do. The material explores how to incorporate lights, sound, makeup, staging, and costuming into your drama class at any grade level regardless of your school resources or unit structure. Bells and whistles? Awesome! Barely a classroom? We’ve still got you covered.

This 9 lesson series works from the basics and standards, though lighting, sound, costuming, staging, and makeup design, and culminates with a final project including rubrics, resources, and handouts.

A wise theatre technician once said: “the theatre mirrors life but technical theatre teachers us how to live.” Try to keep that statement in mind as you work through this course and see if we can make you a believer in all things technical theatre.

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The Do-it-All Director's Introduction to Set Design

by Holly Beardsley

Holly Beardsley is a do-it-all director. She started directing middle and high school students in her early college years and since then has written over ten shows and directed twice as many.

Do-it-all directors are responsible for everything it seems – the direction, the costuming, the choreography and of course, the set too. And though directors are ready to direct, to costume and even dance, there is something intimidating about designing and building a set.

The Do-it-All Director’s Introduction to Set Design will give you the director, who must do-it-all, the confidence and skills to not only direct but build your own set as well - no matter your experience or budget. This course will teach you set design basics, construction tips, budget tricks, and how to tackle your precious performance space armed with a hammer, and most importantly, without fear.

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Using SketchUp in the Classroom

by Ray Palasz

Instructor Ray Palasz leads this introductory course in using SketchUp in the classroom.

This course is broken down into five easy modules. One, downloading the program. Two, getting started with using the program. Three, drawing two and three-dimensional objects. Four, using the 3D warehouse, which will save you and your students tons of time. And five, a sample assignment and assessment for your students.

Each module also comes with a handout with visuals from SketchUp to guide you through the process. You will learn how SketchUp can add so much to your program.

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Curriculum

Stagecraft Without a Theatre

by Karen Loftus, Holly Beardsley, Kerry Hishon, and Josh Hatt

Overview, Introduction to Theatre Production, Elements of Design, Scenic Design, Scenic Construction, Scenic Painting, Props, Lighting, Sound, Costume Design, Costume Construction, Make-Up Design, What is a Stage Manager? (Extra Lesson), and Culminating Project

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Technical Theatre Mini Units

by Josh Hatt

Lighting , Sound, Costuming, Staging, Free Play Makeup, and Culminating Project

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Units

Costuming

by Holly Beardsley

A costume designer and a costumer are two different things. A costume designer creates pieces from the drawing board to the stage, while a costumer pulls from already existing pieces to create fully realized characters. This means that the approach is different.

In this six lesson unit students will learn the tools of a successful costumer. They will start by reflecting on their own personal style and the choices that go into that style. They’ll move on to look at versatility and adapting costume staples, creating a costuming vision, period clothing as the costumer, how to use the colour wheel as a costuming tool and everything culminates in a final project (two options).

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Elements of Costume Design *Hyperdoc

by Anna Porter

In this unit, students will explore and collaboratively take on the role of costume designers. Students will explore the elements of design, director’s concept, and the considerations for costume design. They will then apply this knowledge in a culminating project.

This unit has been designed to integrate technology into the curriculum. Students will utilize technology throughout via HyperDocs, internet research, and Google tools such as Google Drive, Google Forms, Google Slides, and Google Docs. A digital Learning Tools Introduction resource is provided for additional help in using the different tools and applications.

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Introduction to Set Design *Hyperdoc

by Lea Marshall

The purpose of this unit is to give students an introduction to independent learning as well as an overview of Set Design. Students will apply their knowledge throughout, and the unit culminates in a group activity.

This unit is delivered in hyperdoc format. What does that mean? A hyperdoc is an interactive tool that encourages digital learning. In this case, students are given a document on a subject, and there they can read articles, watch videos, do some independent research, and apply what they’ve learned. Because they’re working on their own, students are in charge of their own pacing.

Before you start the unit, ensure you read the Teacher Guide first. It will give you clear instructions on how to distribute the hyperdoc format and make it easy for you and your students.

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Introduction to Technical Theatre: Flipped Learning

by Lindsay Price

When an audience watches a piece of theatre, they never see what goes on behind the scenes or know the people who work to make the production look its best. But theatre is a collaboration between what happens onstage and off.

This flipped learning unit will introduce students to the world of technical theatre. Through video, they will learn information on specific technical theatre roles and how they work together, types of stages, parts of a theatre and stage geography, and then apply this knowledge through in-class active-learning exercises.

For example, students will take on the role of a producer and decide how a budget will be divided among different departments. They will practice the calls a stage manager uses. The culminating assignment has students solve a common technical theatre issue: to design, create, and implement a solution for a unique stage direction in a play.

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Pre-Lighting Design

by Kerry Hishon

The exercises within this unit are meant for students to explore the concept of lighting for theatre without the need for extensive tech or even a theatrical lighting grid.
This unit is useful for students with no prior experience with lighting or students who may be intimidated by the idea of theatre technology.
Each exercise is meant to build upon the previous one, as students grow in their confidence with thinking about lighting in different ways.

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Scenic Design

by Karen Loftus

This unit will focus on the basics: what is scenic design? How do the scenic designer and director collaborate? What is the process that the scenic designer goes through? The unit will also explore basic drafting techniques, and rendering techniques.

Based on what they learn, students will create a ground plan and a rendering. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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Lesson Plan Categories

Lesson Plans

Building Stage Flats

by Karen Loftus

Lumber is expensive, so just letting the students have a go at building a stage flat could get pricey. Why not let them “try it out” by constructing the cheapest flat they’ll ever make. This lesson plan guides students through the identification and construction of the various elements of a stage flat (both Hollywood and Broadway) using paper, drinking straws, and glue.

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Common Types of Theatres & Stages

by Lindsay Price

Students review the three most common types of theatre stages used today: proscenium, thrust, and arena stages. Students create the audience for a specific type of stage in a warm-up, and then in groups, students work to stage a fairy tale using the three different theatre configurations.

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Culminating Activity

by Lindsay Price

Students design, create, and implement a solution for the famous “exit, pursued by a bear” stage direction from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

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Emergency Lesson Plan: Low-Tech Design

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students will review a scene written in a specific genre: Victorian ghost story. They will have to create lighting and sound without any equipment, and a costume design without any period pieces. How can students use atmosphere, found lighting, and live sound to visualize the genre
using low-tech options?

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Emergency Lesson Plan: Set Design Masterclass

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students participate in an online masterclass on directing and complete a viewing quiz.

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Pre-Knowledge

by Lindsay Price

Experience Tech Theatre: Students will explore how technical theatre affects storytelling.

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Properties & Prop Design

by Karen Loftus

In this lesson, students will take what they learn about the different types of props and how props are created or acquired in order to apply it to a specific project. Using their critical thinking skills, they’ll have to invent, design, and create a science fiction style prop for a hypothetical show.

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Stage Geography & Parts of a Theatre

by Lindsay Price

Students learn about stage geography and parts of a theatre. Students practice stage geography in a warm-up, and then participate in a group activity where they are given random stage geography positions and have to present a scene from those positions.

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Stage Management Calls Game

by Karen Loftus

It’s important for students to be aware of both onstage and offstage theatre roles. But applying stage management tasks to a classroom setting is not always easy to do. The Stage Management Calls Game gives students a practical way to hear and react to the various things a stage manager may say during a rehearsal or technical rehearsal.

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Technical Director and Tech Crews / Stage Manager and Running Crews

by Lindsay Price

Students are introduced to two groups of technical theatre roles and the people in charge of those groups: the technical director and tech crews and the stage manager and running crews. Students will take on the role of a stage manager and practice the calls a stage manager would use.

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Technical Theatre Performance Challenge

by Kerry Hishon

Students will work in small groups to devise a one-minute long theatrical piece from a prompt. They will create a performance, create a prompt script, assign Stage Manager and Technical Operator roles, rehearse the piece, and perform it for the rest of the class. Depending on your time allowance, this lesson could be completed in one class using only items found in the classroom; or this lesson can be spread over four classes (one class to assign and plan, one class to rehearse, one class as a technical/dress rehearsal, and one class as a performance and discussion/reflection class).

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Theatre Hierarchy

by Lindsay Price

This lesson introduces students to the various roles in the theatre and how they make up a hierarchy. Students take on the role of one of these three important roles in a theatre production through an activity.

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Resource Categories

Individual Resources

Activity: Sort the Props

A guide to the different types of props, and a sorting activity to help students identify props by category (scenic props, hand props, set dressing).

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Keith Rollins: Experience at FX University

Lindsay Price talks to Keith Rollins, one of the winners of the DTA Travel Scholarship in 2017, about his experience at FX University, a hands-on, professional training event covering prosthetics application, makeup effects, mask making, sculpture, mould making, airbrush and more. See some of Keith's work and hear what he learned in this interview.

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Lighting Exercise

Have students brainstorm alternative lighting options for a scene when you can’t use a traditional lighting rig. What do they come up with? How can they experiment with existing lighting sources? (For example: flashlights) Sometimes their options will be the best options.

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Poster: Scene Shop Safety

Use this poster for your scene shop - to keep actors and crew focused on safety.

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Practical Technical Theatre: Digital Programs

Access the Practical Technical Theatre digital programs. Included in your DTA membership, with 10 programs to choose from. Click the link to access - includes unique codes for student access to videos and handouts.

Stage Management Staff Breakdown

Here is one way to set up a stage management staff at your school. You know your students the best and you know that some can handle more responsibility and some may be better suited to certain tasks. Make sure your PSM is the one who represents the team especially to the actors.

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Tech Hacks and Exercises

How do you teach tech, or use tech in your productions when you don’t have the expertise or the equipment? How do you make it work? How do you problem solve? Topics include Lighting, Set Design, Costumes, and Sound.

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What is a Prop

A one-sheet to help students understand the difference between a prop and a costume piece.

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PLCs

Tech Hacks: Tips and tricks to make your production a technical success!

Hosted by Matt Webster and Holly Beardsley

Technical Theatre Tips

Tips for set design, costuming, lighting, and more! Dealing with small budgets, overcoming obstacles, and making the most of what you have. BONUS material at the end of the PLC!

Hosted by DTA instructors Holly Beardsley, Matt Webster, and Lindsay Price.

Recorded on September 15, 2015 at 8pm.

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Technical Theatre

Hosted by Matt Webster and Karen Loftus

If you struggle with tech or want to share your ideas for teaching tech, this is the event for you.

Hosted by DTA Instructors Matt Webster and Karen Loftus.

Recorded July 23, 2015

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