develop awareness of drama and theatre presentations as possible
by Karen Loftus
Students will get “onstage.” They will explore what is important for onstage action, the basics of stage directions, and how to keep open. This unit will culminate with students trying out what they’ve learned in a short scene. This unit is more about the technicalities of moving on stage. By giving students something concrete to focus on, it allows them to overcome any stage fright. Ensemble-building exercises are also included in this unit. If you have time at the end of a lesson after you’ve completed your instruction and are wondering what to do, you can never go wrong with an ensemble-building exercise!
by Karen Loftus
In this unit, students will explore nonverbal communication: first, through body language and gesture, and then through the specific art of pantomime. Students will learn hand position, tension, follow-through, and action/reaction/interaction with objects through warm-up games and exercises. The unit culminates in a two-person pantomime performance.
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
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 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 Anna Porter
In this unit by Anna Porter, students are introduced to the works of Shakespeare and explore how to bring a character to life in a monologue performance. Students are also introduced to the tools to help them unlock meaning in Shakespeare’s text. Through this eleven lesson series, students will participate in class discussions, activities and performance. Assessment tools include informal assessment, submission of textual analysis work and a final performance.
by Anna Porter
Shakespeare’s text holds valuable tools that students can use to unlock and understand meaning. In this unit by Anna Porter, students explore how to use the tools of research, context, textual analysis, imagery and punctuation to help them unlock meaning in Shakespeare’s text. This unit is created for an Intermediate to Advanced drama class with a basic background in plot structure and acting technique. Through this five lesson series, students will use journals, participate in class discussions, activities and performance to explore the tools used to unlock a text. Assessment tools include informal assessment as well as a final group presentation and performance.
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 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
The overview lays out the all of the parts of The Production Classroom Units - which is divided into three parts. In Part One, you’ll take your students through a series of pre-production units designed to help students gain as much comprehension as possible about putting on a successful production. Part Two offers articles on each step in the process, samples and forms, a suggested pacing, role definitions and task checklists, an outline for a typical class, as well as performance duties. This section also outlines the assessment piece for The Production Classroom – the production binder. Part Three provides a Post-Performance Reflection. Unpack the experience with students, reflect back on what went right and what could be changed for next time. A written Reflection is included as well as a Rubric for student production binders.
by Karen Loftus
In Part One of The Production Classroom, you’ll take your students through a series of pre-production units designed to help students gain as much comprehension as possible about putting on a successful production.
by Karen Loftus
Part Two offers articles on each step in the process, samples and forms, a suggested pacing, role definitions and task checklists, an outline for a typical class, as well as performance duties. This section also outlines the assessment piece for The Production Classroom – the production binder.
by Karen Loftus
This section provides samples and worksheets for actor forms, costume department, general binder, lighting and sound, marketing samples, scenic and prop samples, and stage management and production manager samples and forms.
by Karen Loftus
Part Three provides a Post-Performance Reflection. Unpack the experience with students, reflect back on what went right and what could be changed for next time. A written Reflection is included as well as a Rubric for student production binders.
by Kerry Hishon
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. How do you implement and instill theatre etiquette in your classroom and your rehearsals – before a show and backstage? A cohesive theatrical community starts with the rules and codes of behaviour both onstage and off. Topics covered within the unit include: What is Etiquette, Real World vs Theatre World Etiquette, Audience Etiquette, Audition Etiquette, Pre-Show and Performance Etiquette. The unit ends with a culminating activity which included a rubric and reflection.
by Marsha Walner
We spend a lot of time in the classroom exploring, applying, and creating in a western theatrical tradition. But there are many more styles that students can explore, particularly to the east: Kabuki, Noh, Chinese Opera, and Sanskrit Theatre, for example. In this unit, students will be introduced to an element from each of these eastern styles, they will apply that element and build towards a culminating project. Throughout, students will develop a stronger understanding of both the theatre from their own culture and that of Eastern cultures.
by Annie Dragoo
Understanding basic improvisation skills will help musical theatre performers understand that musical theatre is more than just singing and dancing. It’s about using all the tools (voice, body, and mind) an actor has at their disposal to create a character. This unit focuses more on the improv aspect rather than the musical theatre aspects - in fact students need no prior musical theatre knowledge. Annie Dragoo, creator of the unit, uses this material as her first unit in her musical theatre class. It’s a great introduction and will get your students in the right frame of mind to approach musical theatre. The lessons explore a variety of improv skills such as vocal responses, movement, character study, sensory awareness and culminate in an improv scene and unit essay.
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 Lindsay Johnson
Students will now start applying the skills they’ve learned thus far in the context of existing, fleshed-out scripts. They will also have opportunities to shift from actor to director and hone such skills as collaboration, self-confidence, and problem-solving which can be used in many other areas of their lives.
by Lindsay Price and Karen Loftus
In this unit, students will explore nonverbal communication. First through body language and gesture, and then through the specific art of pantomime. Students will learn hand position, tension, follow-through, and action/reaction/interaction with objects through warm-up games and exercises. The unit culminates in a one-person pantomime performance.
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 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 Ruthie Tutterow
In this unit, students will learn about Antonin Artaud and how his ideas influenced avant-garde theatre in the 20th and 21st centuries. They will also learn how Jerzy Grotowski took Artaud’s theories into new directions. This is done through direct instruction. A culminating presentation will ask students to take common stories and reimagine them using some of these ideas. They will present a “pitch” of an avant-garde version of their story. In the second lesson, students learn about some of the ideas of Augusto Boal and try a session of Forum Theatre.
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 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 Karen Loftus
In The Production Classroom, instructor Karen Loftus will show you how to explore ways that you can produce shows during your regular class time. The course gives you a series of exercises and reflections that help you determine everything, from the type of show you may want to do, to the way you can divide up your class and responsibilities, to specific assignments that will keep your students engaged and focused. The Production Classroom is the ultimate in project-based learning. Students learn to work collaboratively while setting goals and working towards a successful finished project. The course includes exercises and strategies to use with students to help assure their success in the production. Multiple examples and anecdotes help you to envision what the production classroom could look like in your room, performance space or theatre.
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 Steven Stack
Have you ever wondered how in the world you can have a successful theatre classroom with so many variables that you have absolutely no control over? The two biggest ones being the size of your class and the students that you’re in charge of turning into some truly talented theatre geeks. This course by Steven Stack explores that wonderful and often ridiculous world of theatre classrooms while giving you the tools for you and your students to not only succeed but to flourish as well. Lessons will include how to make any size class the Goldilocks class as in "just right", defining and working with all types of students you may encounter in your classroom, the seven must-haves of any theatre class, and the importance of structure in the theatre classroom by providing a guideline for setting up your day-to-day class time. The course also provides tons of ideas, games and activities that you can use instantly in your classroom. So, if you’re a first-time theatre teacher or one just looking for new ideas, this is the course for you.
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 Lindsay Price
Adaptation is a fabulous classroom project: it requires students to analyze, adapt, modify, plan synthesize, devise. All the higher order thinking skills. But you can’t just throw a narrator into a script and call it a day. You have to have a preparation process leading up to the writing process. In this course you will learn practical exercises and a path to prepare your students to take on their own adaptation project. We’ll look at the guidelines to adaptation, things to think about when choosing a text, how to analyze the source material and writing that first draft. So join me, Lindsay Price, in the Play Adaptation Project.
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!