DTA | Practical Approaches to Shakespeare in the Drama Classroom
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Practical Approaches to Shakespeare in the Drama Classroom

Created by Julie Hartley

Shakespeare is one of the greatest resources a drama teacher can have: scenes packed with action; opportunities to explore comedy and physical theatre; rich themes and characters to act as springboards for devised theatre; the chance to work with our language at its finest and – most importantly – ideas that relate directly to the experiences and preoccupations of students.

Yet Shakespeare isn’t easy. The language can seem dense, and finding a way in can be tough – especially for drama teachers who have not themselves studied Shakespeare. That’s the goal of this course – to help teachers find a way in.

This course presents teachers with as many ways in to the exploration of Shakespeare as possible. Action scenes, themes, characters, different theatre styles, and devised theatre projects. Students will be armed with the tools they need to begin individually exploring monologues, or working together on scenes.

19 Modules
3 hours, 9 minutes
5 Credit Hours

Course Outline

Lesson 0: Introduction 14:12 FREE PREVIEW
This lesson introduces the course, and discusses the importance of Shakespeare in the drama curriculum.
Lesson 1A: Action 7:56 FREE PREVIEW
This lesson looks at action as a way into Shakespeare.
Lesson 1B: Action 10:27
The goal of this lesson has been to examine action as a great way into the study of Shakespeare.
Lesson 2A: Theme 10:27
This lesson introduces the concept of theme in Shakespeare's plays, and how to use themes to introduce different theatrical concepts.
Lesson 2B: Theme 12:29
This lesson focuses on the use of soliloquies and invites students to create a short monologue.
Lesson 3A: Comedy 8:18
This lesson turns to the comedy aspect of performance in Shakespeare.
Lesson 3B: Comedy 10:06
This lesson explores the idea of comedy emerging from mistaken identity.
Lesson 3C: Comedy 10:02
This lesson explores situational and physical comedy in Shakespeare.
Lesson 4A: Character 9:04
This lesson looks and how to create a rounded and original character, using Shakespearean characters as inspiration.
Lesson 4B: Character 11:50
This lesson focuses on internal and external preparation of the actor in developing character.
Lesson 4C: Character 8:52
This lesson explores how character predicaments and behaviors in Shakespeare can be related to the lives of students.
Lesson 5A: Exploring Styles 10:31
This lesson focuses on exploring styles through Shakespeare's 'problematic' scenes.
Lesson 5B: Exploring Styles 11:17
This lesson delves into the challenges of different visual interpretations and styles.
Lesson 6A: Devised Theatre 7:13
This lesson introduces devised theatre, and how to begin using Shakespeare.
Lesson 6B: Devised Theatre 10:51
This lesson continues on with teaching students how to build a piece of devised theatre.
Lesson 6C: Devised Theatre 9:45
This lesson discusses a final example of how Shakespeare's themes and characters offer source material for devised theatre.
Lesson 7A: Language 9:10
This lesson aims to give teachers skills to help students grapple with the language of Shakespeare.
Lesson 7B: Language 9:18
This lesson explores complex phrases in the language of Shakespeare.
Lesson 7C: Language 7:36
This lesson focuses on practical activities to build skill in Shakespearean language.

Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards

Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work - Grade 6

TH:Cr1.1.6.a - Identify possible solutions to staging challenges in a drama/theatre work.

Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 7

TH:Pr4.1.7.a - Consider various staging choices to enhance the story in a drama/theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.b - Identify effective physical and vocal traits of characters in an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 7

TH:Pr6.1.7.a - Participate in rehearsals for a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 8

TH:Pr6.1.8.a - Perform a rehearsed drama/theatre work for an audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr6.1.HSI.a - Perform a scripted drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Pr6.1.HSII.a - Present a drama/theatre work using creative processes that shape the production for a specific audience.

California VAPA Standards (2019)

6.TH:Cr1 Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work

6.TH:Cr1.a - Identify possible solutions to staging challenges in a drama/theatre work.

7.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

7.TH:Pr4.a - Consider various staging choices to enhance the story in a drama/theatre work.

7.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

67TH:Pr6 - Create through improvisation a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

8.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

8.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted scene from a drama/theatre work for an audience.

Prof.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

Prof.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted short drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts

Tennessee Theatre Curriculum Standards

Tennessee Theatre standards (2018) standards were built using the framework of the NCAS which is built on four key domains: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Connecting, and Responding. Within each of these domains are foundations and standards to support the development of curriculum, programs, and learning.
(source: Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts, Summer 2018)

Please refer to National Core Arts Standards to determine the standard that best suits your needs.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts

MS 117.213 LIII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

B.1.E - apply knowledge of theatrical vocabulary and terminology.

MS 117.213 LIII - Creative Expression: performance

B.2.B - portray characters through familiar movements and dialogue.

HS 117.316 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.C - demonstrate effective voice and diction.

Alberta, Canada

Improvisation/Acting Level III - Advanced

32 - rehearse, polish and present text

British Columbia (2018)

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Communicate and document

Compose, interpret, and expand ideas using symbolism and imagery

Ontario, Canada

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