Courses

PD COURSE

From Audition to Curtain Call: Directing Youth Theatre

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.

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PD COURSE

Concept-Based Design for the Theatre Teacher

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!

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PD COURSE

Introduction to Stage Management Part One

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.

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PD COURSE

The Do-it-All Director's Introduction to Set Design

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.

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PD COURSE

Introduction to Stage Management Part Two

by Karen Loftus

Karen Loftus instructs this second course in stage management - a companion to Introduction to Stage Management Part One.

This course will review the major concepts covered in Introduction to Stage Management, and discuss the different types of technical rehearsals and how student stage managers prepare for and run them. You’ll learn how to teach your students to notate and call cues for a show. The course will also introduce strategies for student stage managers who work with student crews. It will discuss how you can provide the support your student stage managers need to be effective, and how that support helps to strengthen your overall program and theatre community.

Student stage managers start in the classroom, train during school productions, and can take these newly discovered and acquired skills on with them to colleges and careers and theatre (and beyond)!

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PD COURSE

Theatre Etiquette 101

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.

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PD COURSE

The Production Classroom

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.

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PD COURSE

Marketing the Arts

by James Van Leishout

This course covers the four stages of creating and implementing a marketing plan. It starts with the question, what are you selling?, and goes all the way through to evaluation. The course covers both traditional and new media, with examples and opportunities to apply the learning to each teacher's own situation.

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PD COURSE

Beyond the Basics: Rehearsal Strategies to Grow Your Actors

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!

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PD COURSE

Director's Toolbox 2: Teaching Students to Direct

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.

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PD COURSE

The Dilemma Project

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.

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Units

UNIT

Production Classroom Units Overview

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.

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UNIT

Part One - Pre-Production

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.

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UNIT

Part Two - Rehearsal and Performance

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.

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UNIT

Part Two - Documents

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.

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UNIT

Part Three - Reflection and Assessment

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.

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Lesson Plans

LESSON PLAN

Directing: What Is the Purpose of Production?

by Lindsay Price

The director Max Reinhardt said that, “Our standards must not be to act a play as it was acted in the days of its author.” Use this quote as a reflection point for students. Students will take a play from another era and create a 1-minute presentation that demonstrates how a production can take a play beyond how it was acted in the days of its playwright.

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LESSON PLAN

Looking Back and Looking Forward

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is for your current students to reflect upon their experiences and new knowledge at the end of a school/class production. Then they will use that information to create a useful document for future drama students, such as a “drama transition manual” or a “what to expect during your production” document.

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LESSON PLAN

Preparing to Produce

by Karen Loftus

This unit marks the first step in the production process: identifying and understanding theatre company roles, identifying student skills for particular roles, and identifying production needs.

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LESSON PLAN

Costume and Scenic

by Karen Loftus

In this unit you’ll explore the elements created by scenic and costume designers as well as technical directors and costume shop managers to convey the designs and bring the final production to life.

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LESSON PLAN

Lighting and Sound

by Karen Loftus

The lighting and sound you use for The Production Classroom will depend on what resources are available to you. This unit will explore how your lighting and sound designers can prepare and execute their designs to help support the script of your show.

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LESSON PLAN

Marketing and Audience Experience

by Karen Loftus

This unit will explore a couple of the Business roles: (1) Marketing and (2) Front of House. As a reminder: Artistic jobs create ideas. The production jobs implement those ideas. And the business jobs provide the framework that allow those ideas to be shared.

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LESSON PLAN

Student Leadership - Stage and Production Management

by Karen Loftus

This unit will allow students to explore the responsibilities of the stage manager and production manager. It may help you determine who the best students are for these roles.

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LESSON PLAN

Step by Step

by Karen Loftus

This lesson covers a general overview of The Production Classroom process. It includes pacing suggestions for each step as well as how to find the necessary documentation to complete each step.

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LESSON PLAN

Production Binder

by Karen Loftus

This lesson describes the production binder, including everything that should be included as well as how to organize.

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LESSON PLAN

Company Positions and Tasks

by Karen Loftus

This document outlines all of the potential roles and tasks for students in The Production Classroom. It includes the tasks each student is to complete for their production binder, as well as their particular role during the performance of the show.

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LESSON PLAN

The Audition Process

by Karen Loftus

This 3-part process includes preparation for auditions, initial auditions, and callbacks.

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LESSON PLAN

The Rehearsal Process

by Karen Loftus

This process covers typical day procedures for rehearsal and documents students should be using daily during the rehearsal process.

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LESSON PLAN

Technical Rehearsals

by Karen Loftus

A review of the various types and stages of technical rehearsals, as well as departmental responsibilities, daily procedures, and sample technical rehearsal schedule.

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LESSON PLAN

Performance and Strike

by Karen Loftus

This cover the necessary procedures for each and every show, as well as what has to happen once your show is over. Checklists for setup and breakdown are included, as well as performance reports, strike plan and worksheets.

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LESSON PLAN

Assessment

by Karen Loftus

The production binder is the final assessment. A checklist and rubric is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Troubleshooting

by Karen Loftus

The Production Classroom has its challenges. The scenarios included are designed to help you to think about some potential barriers to having a successful production.

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LESSON PLAN

How to Create a Budget When You've Never Done it Before

by Kerry Hishon

In this lesson plan, students will take on the role of a producer. They have had their show approved, but, before they get started, they must create a budget to track the money coming and going. Budgeting is a job that must be completed by the producer for every show. What’s involved? What does a budget look like?

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LESSON PLAN

Same Show, Different Stages

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is to introduce, compare, and contrast different types of theatrical performance venues/stages.

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Resources

RESOURCE

Production Situation Analysis

This production situation analysis allows a class to determine their needs, before they start a production class.

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RESOURCE

Who's Who in the Theatre?

This handout lists all of the roles and positions that make up a theatre company.

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RESOURCE

0 - Overview: The Organized Production Toolkit

The overview outlines all aspects of the Organized Production Toolkit and describes the use and format of each resource.

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RESOURCE

7 - Posters

Posters to use during your production. All 8.5x11 size for easy printing.

RESOURCE

How do you look for a show?

This video by Todd Espeland is a mini lesson to help you in your search for a show. Todd shares 5 specific tips and tricks choosing a show that is the right fit for your school and program. This lesson comes with a handout sheet and brainstorming sheets to help you narrow down your search.

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RESOURCE

One Moment From a Play

This video by Todd Espeland is a mini lesson in creating that 'One Moment from a Play'. Todd shares his experience in devising that moment by making the right creative choices. This lesson comes with a worksheet for reflection.

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RESOURCE

00 - Overview

The overview includes a table of contents outlining all of the resources in the Rehearsal Toolkit.

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RESOURCE

01 - The First Few Rehearsals

A guideline for starting rehearsals off on the right foot, including setting goals, expectations, and alternative strategies.

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RESOURCE

02 - Creating the Pre-Rehearsal Warmup

This resource includes a variety of warmup ideas for rehearsal, including physical warmups, vocal warmups, creativity warmups, and focus warmups.

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RESOURCE

03 - How Do We Keep Student Actors Invested in Rehearsal?

The more you can invest your actors in the process of creation, the more they will stay engaged and interested throughout rehearsals. This resource explores alternatives to the traditional rehearsal process as well as alternatives to traditional blocking methods.

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RESOURCE

04 - Character Development

One of the biggest challenges directors face when working with inexperienced actors is the need to find creative ways to guide their character development. This resource includes exercises you can work into your rehearsals.

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RESOURCE

05 - Strategies for Rehearsing a Classical Play

This resource addresses the challenge of classical texts, by exploring how practical drama activities can help students better identify with the complexity of the language.

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RESOURCE

06 - Strategies for Rehearsing Comedy

If you are staging a comedy or a comedic scene, then you need to provide opportunities for your cast to play and laugh together at the beginning of rehearsals to encourage a spirit of light-hearted exploration and discovery. This resources helps you to adapt well-known activities to meet your needs,
depending on the type of comedy you need to explore.

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RESOURCE

07 - Common Rehearsal Challenges

This resources includes ideas and activities to address issues when the cast is struggling, or passion and commitment start to falter.

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RESOURCE

08 - Final Rehearsals

The final rehearsals before a show meets its audience are probably among the most critical. This resources includes exercises to help students become familiar with their production as a complete whole.

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RESOURCE

The Production Publicity Toolkit

In the school market, you rarely have a marketing budget. But you have a lot of resources for publicity. You have social media, your students, community outreach, and more. The Production Publicity Toolkit can help you create the awareness and attention your production deserves.

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RESOURCE

Masterclass with Karen Loftus: Stage Manager to Production Manager

Masterclass is a series of one-on-one interviews with experts, creators and innovators in the world of Theatre that you can study in-depth, or share with your classes. Think of this series as 'Inside the Actor's Studio' for Drama Teachers.

In this masterclass, Matt Webster talks to Karen Loftus, who started out her career as a stage manager, and has moved from that into being a production manager. Karen presents aspects of both jobs in our discussion, but we’re mainly focusing on her work as a Production Manager.

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RESOURCE

Bringing Black and Latinx Plays & Playwrights into the Drama Classroom

Every year we see top ten lists containing the most popular plays performed by students and studied in the drama classroom. Shakespeare makes the list every year. So does Arthur Miller. Some say that Our Town is performed every day of the year.

What is decidedly lacking from these lists are Black and Latinx plays and playwrights. These playwrights are writing and have been writing plays for years tackling the same themes as those on these top ten lists. The Theatrefolk Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Panel has assembled suggestions to include on your list for production and classroom study.

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RESOURCE

Do's and Don'ts for Producing BIPOC Plays

Use this list as a discussion starter for your students, or as a point of reference for your next production.

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RESOURCE

BIPOC Streaming Shows

In these times, it’s important to know if the BIPOC play you want to do can be livestreamed, recorded, or performed virtually. We’ve put together a list of plays and playwrights with all that information.

As with all classroom material, it is incumbent on the instructor to familiarize themselves with the material before introducing it to their classes. Read the plays first to make sure they fit within any district guidelines with regard to language and subject matter.

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PLCs

PLC

Production Pitfalls

Hosted by Matt Webster, Jeremy Bishop, and Heather Brandon

Production Pitfalls. We all know about how much fun the ups are, but how do we deal with the downs when we’re producing a play? What production pitfalls do YOU need help with? What was your biggest production-related frustration this year?

The discussion is led by Matt Webster, one of our awesome DTA instructors. Joining us are two DTA members: Jeremy Bishop and Heather Brandon.

Recorded June 25, 2015

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PLC

Commitment

Hosted by Matt Webster, Jeremy Bishop, and Heather Brandon

A recording of our live online PLC just for DTA members

How do you get get commitment (from students, parents, and administration) in order to make your program the best it can be?

The discussion is led by Matt Webster, one of our awesome DTA instructors. Joining us are two DTA members: Jeremy Bishop and Heather Brandon.

Recorded July 9, 2015

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