A.3.1 identify and use a variety of techniques to influence the audience in specific ways (e.g., have actors enter the performance space from the audience to increase audience connection to the drama; use blocking to focus audience attention on key characters or relationships between characters)
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
In this unit, students will be introduced to a key element of performance: the voice. Students will explore how to thoughtfully communicate character, story, and emotion vocally. Students will begin by exploring articulation so that they understand the importance of clearly communicating their words onstage. They will further build on this with the following lesson on the different vocal varieties of pitch, tone, rate, and volume. The final lesson helps students explore vocal characterization as well as the details and layers that can bring that character to life vocally. This unit study of the voice culminates in a final puppet show where students are asked to bring a story and character to life by using vocal variety, articulation, and characterization.
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 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 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 Annie Dragoo
Want a fun project that has your students collaborating and creating? In this unit by Annie Dragoo, students in groups will write and perform an original musical by adding modern songs to a traditional fairy tale story. The six lessons take students from writing their script, to choreography and planned movement, to rehearsing, performing and evaluation. The Rubric will focus on student performance. That means vocal delivery, emotional delivery, blocking/choreography, energy, focus, and characters.
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 Ruthie Tutterow
The purpose of this unit is for students to know the differences and practice skills for film versus stage acting. They should also know the basic vocabulary of acting for the camera. It will also be helpful for them to get practice in editing. By seeing both sides of the camera, they will gain valuable experience in seeing what works from both the producing and acting side. Students will be able to see and reflect on their work.
by Ruthie Tutterow
The unit is adapted for a virtual environment. The purpose of this unit is for students to know the differences and practice skills for film versus stage acting. They should also know the basic vocabulary of acting for the camera. It will also be helpful for them to get practice in editing. By seeing both sides of the camera, they will gain valuable experience in seeing what works from both the producing and acting side. Students will be able to see and reflect on their work.
by Claire Broome
The Dilemma Project is based on a situation that requires a decision: push a button and get a great reward, but there’s also a great consequence. Don’t push the button and there’s no reward. This unit will lead to a group performance including characters, costumes, set, acting theory, acting tools, and a student written script. The final script will be about ten pages in length which means roughly ten minutes of stage time.
by Gai Jones
All students have something to say and a story to tell. They can relate to their personal stories better than anyone else. All students have a lot of material which can be used as part of an original monologue. In this unit, students will write an autobiographical monologue based on their personal expertise, memories, distinct point of view, sense of truth, and life experiences. Through the process, students will be encouraged to explore past stories, objects, and images and other personal material.
by Lindsay Price
The goal for this unit is to give students a process to work primarily on their own to create a staged scene with specific, dynamic blocking and three-dimensional characters. This unit would work well as a culminating project for a semester. In this unit, students will work independently to analyze, block, build character, experiment, and rehearse a scene. Their performance can count as a summative assessment for the class. Material: This unit requires that students have access to scenes from plays. Ideally, students should work in pairs and prepare duet scenes.
by Allison Williams
In Introduction to Teaching Mask, Allison Williams gives you a toolkit of mask and movement exercises to teach students to make big, confident physical choices, to work in their bodies, and play different characters - masked and unmasked. Access to masks is required, but previous experience with masks is not.
by Steven Stack
Directing youth theatre can be one of the most thrilling, rewarding, and exhausting jobs there is – because it’s not just about staging a play. It’s about creating an environment that fosters hard work, dedication, trust, and the willingness to take chances, to “play without fear.” As a writer/teacher/director of youth theatre for over 15 years, I have developed tools and strategies that enable my students and me to focus on the process of creating theatre while fostering an environment that leads to creative freedom and a cohesive groups that doesn't act as individual “stars,” but as a community of one. In this course, I will share with you these tips and strategies, along with the ways to implement them in your theatre environment.
by Todd Espeland
Friendly Shakespeare teaches a simple and effective method of script analysis for Shakespeare. It uses punctuation and keywords in the text to help students understand the characters' needs, make specific acting choices, and get them on their feet immediately. This is not dry, sitting in a classroom discussion. It’s physicalizing the text, focusing on the character’s needs and tactics (something every drama student should know full well) and bringing Shakespeare to life. At the end of the class you will be able to demystify Shakespeare's text and understand how to help your actors make clear, active and emotionally connected choices in Shakespeare's plays.
by Craig Mason
This mini-course will give you a toolkit to bring your shows to the next level by having an engaged, active, ensemble. The ensemble is a critical part of a large cast show. But you can't leave them to fend for themselves. They need structure. They need exercises and activities. In Strong Ensemble = Strong Play, you'll be given ensemble-building exercises. You'll also discover specific activities that will help your ensemble become three-dimensional characters who have something to do and something to play in every moment they are on stage. We'll look at case studies that take the exercises learned in the course and apply them to specific shows.
by Todd Espeland
Working in educational theatre I know how easy it is to get bogged down in actor coaching and away from the bigger picture storytelling when directing a show. I saw a need for a method of text analysis and physical staging tools that help the director stay focused on the bigger picture of telling the story of the play. This class is in two parts: The first consists of the text analysis tools P.A.S.T.O and Major Dramatic Question. From these tools you will brainstorm keywords to define your vision of the story. In the second part of the class you will focus on taking the information generated in the text analysis and crafting the ideas into vibrant physical pictures through an exercise called Starburst.
by Amy Patel
Whether you're in a new school or have an existing program, you can use a Mission Statement to define your program, unify your students and let everyone know from administration, to parents, to the community why you do theatre, what you do and how you do it. Learn how to create this powerful and vital statement with your students. Mission Possible takes you through step by step from asking the right questions, to looking at your school culture and traditions, to writing and revising, to shouting your statement from the rooftops.
by Gai Jones
In "Working With Monologues For Rehearsal And Development" you will develop ten sessions of study on monologues. The study contains the definition and history of the monologue; monologue vocabulary; analysis of a practice monologue, staging a short monologue; working with musical theatre lyrics as a monologue; writing short autobiographical monologues. At the end of this course, you will have a curriculum which can be used as introduction to monologue work.
by Todd Espeland
Learn about the Laban system to teach your students to physically and vocally discover character. This is an advanced course, which means that the course goes deep into exploring character and exploring character work through the work of Rudolph Laban.
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 Colin Oliver
Colin Oliver leads this introduction to teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom. In this course, you will learn how to build musical theatre into your dramatic courses of study. “Why might you want to do that? Singing is scary! You want me to teach my students how to do it? I don’t even know how to do it.” This course approaches musical theatre preparation performance much as we would approach preparing a monologue in drama. If you use script analysis in monologue preparation in your class, you can teach musical theatre. By the end of this course, you’ll have a great, full-body physical warm-up, a student-driven research assignment, character development exercises, a little bit of musical theory, and a performance assignment complete with assessment. So, join us for teaching Musical Theatre in the Drama Classroom. It’s as easy as Do-Re-Mi!
by Matt Webster
Instructor Matt Webster believes that Story Theatre is one of the most creative, most imaginative, most unique forms of theatre ever to make its way to the stage. His course introduces the style of theatre called story theatre, explores the steps needed to choose the best stories to perform, explains how to adapt a story into a script, and demonstrates a variety of story theatre styles from simple and contained to complex and crazy and everything in between. When you are finished with this course, you’ll be able to bring nearly any story to any stage and present it to any audience. That is the power and promise of story theatre. Learn how to bring the page to the stage.
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 Claire Broome
Moral dilemmas are not only faced by characters in gripping plays, but are also faced by our students. The project outlined in this course will help students develop their critical thinking skills through the use of one of the dilemma questions to shape a student written production. If you had the choice to press a button and earn $25,000,000... but a species (not of your choosing) would become extinct, what would you do? More importantly, what would your character do? Join drama teacher and playwright Claire Broome through this course which includes role-playing, Stanislavski’s Magic If, character creation, playwriting and staging.
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!