Explore and create dramatic works to express ideas, meaning, and emotions
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 Matthew Banaszynski
Join Matt Banaszynski in this dynamic unit designed to introduce students to the process of starting, drafting, polishing, and performing a self-created, stand-alone monologue. This unit introduces students to writing their own stand-alone monologues. Students will learn the steps involved in going from a simple idea to a written piece to performing that piece. They will also provide feedback to others and give themselves a self-assessment. This unit has been prepared for a middle school drama class but could be adapted for high school. It was designed as a way to get non-theatre students more involved in theatre.
by Anna Porter
Musical Theatre has two components that separate it from straight plays: song and dance. This unit gives students the opportunity to try out both. In musical theatre, music signifies heightened emotion. We can’t express ourselves with just words, we need music (and through extension, song and dance) to take it further. This unit includes three lesson plans: 1. Acting the Song - “Musical Tactics” 2. Acting the Song - “Textual Analysis” 3. Introduction to Dance A solo performance assignment is also included, and the unit includes assessment tools - rubrics, reflections, and self-evaluations.
by Angel Borths
Teacher Angel Borths developed this unit when she was looking for lessons to teach the basics of pantomime in the classroom. This unit culminates in a finished product for performance, either for peers, or for theatre festivals. The rubrics and written work for this unit take planning and preparation for performance into account. The exercises can be pulled out and used independently, but work best when used to build toward a finished product. You can also pull the ground plan and stage directions lesson plans to use with playwriting or directing lessons.
by Anna Porter
Improv is a fantastic method to engage your students; this 3 lesson mini unit is a great way to introduce improvisation. This unit focuses on learning the rules of Improv, trying games to build improvisation skills, and developing conflict and story line.Through the three lesson series, students will use journals, participate in class discussions, learn six different improv games, and perform for their peers. Assessment tools include both informal assessment as well as a formal quiz that’s included in the unit.
by Corinna Rezzelle
In this Devising Unit, students will create characters, practice storytelling through stage movement and tableaux, collaborate on a one-minute scene, and write a play. Improvisational games will help unleash students’ creativity and build their in-class ensemble skills. Games, activities, and talking points are provided to help students gain a basic knowledge of stagecraft, stage movement, and the creative writing aspect of devising a play. Students will vote for a play topic and experiment with activities such as HotSeating, Mantle of the Expert, and Role on the Wall. Discussion, Reflection, and feedback are parts of the process.
by Karen Loftus
This unit on Ancient Greek theatre focuses on the function of the chorus, the choral ode, and the details of the theatre space. It touches on plays and playwrights of the era, culminating in a final project of a modern version of Medea that includes a choral ode.
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 Matt Webster
In the Monologue Unit, students will learn the building blocks of monologues while writing a simple monologue. This unit is divided into two parts. In part one, the Monologue Writing Made Easy unit by Matt Banaszynski is reviewed or executed in full, depending on class needs. In part two, students will dissect monologues as a vehicle for character and performance and will write more refined monologues based on existing fictional characters from fairytales or myths. Students will then rehearse and perform their monologues, as a final project for the unit.
by Matt Webster
In this unit, students are introduced to a series of lesson plans that explore non-traditional approaches to performing the works of William Shakespeare. By the end of the unit students will be exposed to a unique set of tools they can utilize as the foundations for analyzing, staging and performing a scene from Shakespeare’s canon. Students will then rehearse and perform a two-person Shakespearean scene.
by Annie Dragoo
In this unit, students will create and perform an abstract theatre scene. Abstract is a genre that does not rely on realism and deliberately breaks the rules of a given form. In the case of theatre, this refers to the commonly presented rules of performance, acting, and the relationship with the audience. Movement is often stylized and symbolic. Ideas and themes are expressed visually and aurally with little dialogue using music, lights, costumes, and props.
by Lindsay Price
A monologue unit is an excellent way for students to demonstrate learned skills: vocal skills, movement skills, memorization skills, and character development. It also touches on soft skills such as communication, confidence, and attitude. That being said, monologues are not easy. A typical monologue is two minutes long. That is a lot of text to memorize, block, and develop into an engaging presentation. How often have you sat through a bad monologue performance with little to no characterization, wandering blocking, and a tenuous grasp of the lines? Performing a monologue is a learned skill. And the best way to learn a skill is in steps. Instead of starting with the end goal—that two-minute piece—start at the beginning. This four-lesson unit will take students up the ladder toward the goal of a longer monologue.
by Lindsay Price
The Top Ten Playwriting Exercises Course not only gives you ten great exercises to ease your students into the playwriting waters, it's also going to give you the confidence to teach playwriting to your students. Each exercise comes with instruction, why the exercise is important, how to assess the exercise and something specific for you to try. Many of the modules include assignments and rubrics so you will be fully prepared to comprehend, apply and teach every these exercises.
by Kerry Hishon
Instructor Kerry Hishon is an actor, director, writer, and stage combatant with years of experience in youth theatre. Her course, Theatre Etiquette 101, is designed to help students be successful in their theatrical journeys. When teaching students who are brand new to theatre, it’s important to discuss and apply the expectations of the drama classroom and the theatrical world. This course starts by explaining "what is theatre etiquette", and then moves through every step in the production process from audition to post-show recovery. Every module has tips for both you and your students, classroom exercises, rehearsal exercises, and reflections. There are also printable posters included to use in your classroom or backstage.
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 Julie Hartley
The focus of the teacher-director should be not only on the quality of the show, but on the value of the experience offered to student actors. This course takes you on this journey through practical rehearsal strategies that apply an ensemble approach. This course starts with those all important first rehearsals, explores warm ups, and looks at character development. We examine specific types of plays, like classical texts and comedy, and conclude with strategies to solve common rehearsal problems. Go beyond the basics!
by James Van Leishout
In this course, James Van Leishout explores why students should direct, and covers the first two tools in the director’s toolbox: self and the script. What background should every director have? Why should they learn to love research? What should happen in the first four reads of a script? With every step along the way, there will be exercises and activities your student directors can take on before they step into the rehearsal process.
by Michael Calderone
This seven-part series is designed to transform that gaggle of actors cluttering your backstage from cumbersome extras into nothing less than the very center of your production. Instructor Michael Calderone leads this course, through games and exercises geared to maximize your ensemble for your next production. These lessons are based on the ensemble technique that he's been using for the last 30 years, called the shoestring method. The ensemble has a responsibility to work as one, and no role is more important than another. Without each actor playing their part, the other actors cannot tell the story to the best of their abilities. So join Michael in learning more about this exciting, practical and dramatic method.
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.
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.
by Wendy-Marie Martin
Who says theatre history has to be boring? Hands-On Theatre History: Creating a Modern Day Morality play is an interactive course by Wendy-Marie Martin, combining hands-on activities with research and analysis techniques leading to a full performance of the popular medieval morality play, Everyman. This course gives students an overview of the medieval period and the various medieval play forms and teaches students the key points of storytelling and adaptation. It includes dynamic individual and group exercises leading students from the first steps of the adaptation process through a final, full-class performance of Everyman—and proves, once and for all, that theatre history can be fun and exciting to learn.
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!