TH:Pr5.1.6.b Articulate how technical elements are integrated into a drama/ theatre work.
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.
by Karen Loftus
The final project will incorporate multiple areas that students have studied over the course of the year/semester: playwriting, acting, scenic design, and marketing. They are putting everything they’ve learned into a final package, including writing, rehearsing, and performing.
by Jenny Goodfellow
This unit on Puppetry is designed for middle school and up, to introduce students to the material and get them comfortable with performing in a safe and low exposure environment.
This is a unit that builds to a culminating experience for your students. Each lesson is designed to explore techniques, provide opportunities for creative collaboration among your students, and give them opportunities to perform. Some of the lessons require materials to build or create puppets. Puppetry can be as easy as drawing a face on your finger for finger puppets, to actually purchasing your own finger puppets for students to use.
While the focus of this unit is puppetry, your students will explore other skills as well. There’s the obvious ones of creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. They are also going to explore storytelling, performing skills, and playwriting.
by Lea Marshall
WARNING: This unit is ABSURD. However, instructor Lea Marshall decided to do something really ABSURD with the unit, which was make it a bit more predictable. First, the unit takes two lessons to go over the Historical and Philosophical background of Theatre of the Absurd. It starts with just a visual exercise to really bring students into the emotional bleakness of the landscape and then group work to look at some of the other foundational elements that will drive the Absurdist movement into the Theatres.
Next, students break down absurd scripts into some “recognizable” elements of language, plot structure, acting choices, and storyline. With each lesson that introduces an Absurdist Element, there is an opportunity for students to “play” with the element. Then, students explore the element through an Absurdist text. This will help familiarize the students with the 4 Absurdist scripts used in the unit. These bite sized forays into the scripts will help students to choose a script to fully immerse themselves in for the final project.
As a final project, students will choose one script to work with, and choose the format of their project (performance, costume or set design, or playwright).
by Angel Borths
Help…It’s all Greek to me! Join Angel Borths in this unit that uses a modern adaptation of the Ancient Greek play Antigone to introduce Middle School students to Ancient Greek Theatre.
Have your students read Percy Jackson and want to find out more about Ancient Greece? Then, this unit is for you. This unit is designed for middle and high school students and will take you through the basics of classical Greek theatre and pairs it with a modern adaptation of the story of Antigone called Agatha Rex by Lindsay Price. Students will learn vocabulary, design, and basic theory surrounding classical Greek theatre. Students will also enjoy the mask building component of this unit, as they learn to disappear into the character of a mask, like the first actors did on a Greek stage thousands of years ago.
The unit culminates in a scene performance with masks.
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).
by Josh Hatt
This is an introductory mini-unit to sound that you can use whether or not you have a sound system. Students will work toward being able to demonstrate their knowledge of sound effectiveness.
The questions of the unit include: What is effective sound? What sounds and music do we need in order to make our scene effective? How will we know our sound cues are effective?
by Josh Hatt
If the costumes in a play are going to be effective, we need to be thoughtful about how we use them.
In this mini-unit, students will demonstrate their understanding costume effectiveness and address the following questions: What is the role of costume in the performance? How does color contribute? How does the style of costume affect a performance? How does costume indicate setting? Do you need costumes in a scene?
by Josh Hatt
This is a mini-unit on staging. Along with the driving question for the unit, students will explore about how staging affects the performance. Students will draw a plot design (ground plan) to emphasize the need to plan where scenic elements will be placed. They will also practice taking cues from the script, in order to create staging.
by Josh Hatt
This is a student centred mini-unit on makeup design. Makeup is useful in transporting an audience to a different world.
The purpose is for students to understand that makeup is a tool that theatre technicians can use in order to contribute to effective performance aesthetics; to understand basic makeup rules and care instruction; to understand how to complete a makeup design plot; to look at a project and figure out for themselves what they need to succeed.
by Josh Hatt
Once students have completed the five Tech Theatre Units (Lighting, Sound, Costume, Staging, Free Play Makeup), you can give them this culminating project.
Depending on how you structured your technical theatre unit, you can adapt this project to suit your needs and context.
Up to this point, all the work in the units have been exploratory. This is where students will apply their skills and knowledge.
by Karen Loftus
A unit on stage management is a great way to link technical theatre, acting, and even directing. We spend so much of our class time on performance-related projects and, when we do address technical theatre, we often do so by talking about design.
Why not introduce your students to a skill set that not only benefits your productions by ensuring a strong backstage crew and smooth production process, but also benefits the students individually? Through exploring stage management, students learn skills such as analytical thinking, organization, teamwork, and problem solving.
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.
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.
by Lindsay Price
Lindsay Price has developed this Introduction to Film Analysis Unit: Mise en scène. In order to develop visual literacy, students have to be able to analyze what they see. In a film, the composition of everything you see on screen is called mise-en-scène. In this unit, students will explore the individual elements that make up mise-en-scène, be able to identify those elements in stills and film scenes, and apply their knowledge in a culminating analysis activity.
Heads up. You’re going to need some technology for this unit. Students need to be able to view, either as a class or 1:1 images, a google slide deck and selected film scenes.
by Holly Beardsley, Karen Loftus, and Josh Hatt
Students are exposed to research, concepts, and skill sets while they explore costume design and the different roles of the costume designer and the costumer. They will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of costume effectiveness.
by Karen Loftus
Now it’s time for your students to take everything they’ve learned and creatively apply those skills. The goal is for students to take what they’ve been exposed to, explored, and researched about each of the arts and crafts of technical theatre and apply it to a project.
by Lindsay Johnson
Students will have another opportunity to participate in student-directed scenes, only this time each director will be assigned a different script, and actors for each group will be chosen by the teacher based on individual strengths and challenges, rather than holding auditions.
Actors will take a deeper dive into character physicality and use of levels in staging this unit. Directors will continue to create a set design and block the scenes, adding props as well in this unit.
The unit culminates in actors presenting their directed scenes to the class.
by Lea Marshall
We included this unit in our Distance Learning Curriculum because if any group of students would understand how the world turned upside down and then apply it to theatre, it would be the students dealing with a global pandemic.
First, we take two lessons to go over the historical and philosophical background of Theatre of the Absurd. We start with a visual exercise to bring students into the emotional bleakness of the landscape and then group work to look at some of the other foundational elements that will drive the absurdist movement into the theatres. Next, we break down absurd scripts into some “recognizable” elements of language, plot structure, acting choices, and storyline. In each lesson that introduces an absurdist element, there is an opportunity for students to “play” with the element.
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.
by Lindsay Price and Kerry Hishon
This unit focuses on character creation: How do you create a character from the ground up? Use this unit as a precursor to a playwriting unit, to a devising unit, or to a class production.
Using the archetypes of the superhero, the sidekick, and the supervillain, students work on exercises to help them create unique characters through physical and vocal qualities, character profiles, and theatrical writing.
Because many of the exercises have an individual focus, this unit works in a distance learning environment or for your no-technology students.
by Drama Teacher Academy
In this unit, students will take on the role of the costumer, which is different from a costume designer. It introduces costuming concepts in order to execute a costume. No complicated sewing is required, which is great if you don’t have the background, the access, or the resources to have a class of students create costumes.
Instead of making costumes from scratch, as a designer would, students will create costumes from stock, borrowed items, or low-cost finds. They will take finished products and adapt them into what they need to create the right atmosphere.
In order to help with their adaptations, students will try different distressing techniques and learn three SIMPLE stitches that they’ll be able to use over and over again. It’s a valuable tech theatre skill to teach students how to execute on costumes when you (and they) don’t sew!
by Holly Beardsley
Do you know the difference between a bustle and a buckram frame? Or what works best as an emergency hem? Some directors are blessed with a big budget and a full support staff—a choreographer, a set designer, and a costumer. But the drama teacher often becomes director, choreographer, set designer, and costumer all in one.
And a budget? What’s a budget? The Do-It-All Director’s Introduction to Costuming will give you, the director, who must do it all, the confidence and skills to costume and direct, no matter your experience or budget. This course will teach you costuming basics, budget tricks, organization, and most importantly, the art of costuming as a director.
by Matt Webster
Concept-Based Design is a method of design that allows the director and production team to create a unified world based on the ideas, perceptions and images extracted from an in-depth analysis of the play. Matt Webster designed this course for theatre teachers in a typical school setting with limited budgets, space and materials to use towards the design of their shows. Many theatre teachers feel most unsure about their design and tech skills and Matt wanted to help those teachers look at design differently, and make designing a show a little less scary and a little more fun!
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.
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.
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.
by Allison Williams
Allison Williams leads the course: 21st Century Skills Through Devising. This course covers what devising is, why to do it, how to do it, and how your students can master the 21st Century Skills of collaborations and cooperation, critical thinking, creative thinking through devising.
High school is a great place to try devising with your students. But it’s not something you want to throw at your students without any preparation. Framework is important and this course takes you through a number of exercises you can take into the classroom tomorrow to help build a place of physical safety, a place where students work at making a lot of choices instead of waiting for the perfect choice, and a place where students feel comfortable making creative choices. The material also reviews the process of putting together a show from the idea/research stage to editing, to giving feedback.
Your students have what it takes to create their own material, collaborate with each other, and have a unique theatrical experience!
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.
by James Van Leishout
Director’s Toolbox 2: Teaching Students to Direct, explores the tools of the actor, rehearsal, space, and design.
The tool of the actor will focus on creating a safe place to play, auditions, and how to communicate with actors.
Rehearsals will look at the whole process from the first meeting to opening night.
The tool of space will explore how to direct in different spaces and how to create focus through stage composition.
Discover how an understanding of the elements of design help student-directors communicate with designers. The final step is a return to self and the mastery of self evaluation.
Our parent company Theatrefolk offers a fantastic selection of plays written specifically for high school and middle school students.
Whether for performances or class study, there's something for everyone: relevant & relatable themes, simple sets & costumes, flexible casting options and much more - a perfect addition to any drama program!