This unit will enable students to identify, compare, and contrast three different styles of Japanese Theatre: Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki. There are three proposed projects in this unit: a research assignment where groups delve into further detail about one of the three styles; a performance project where students utilize what they’ve learned by enacting a scene from a Kyogen (comedic) play; and a Bunraku puppet play.

The unit comes with a Google Slide Deck to help students visualize the information. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

Unit Overview

This unit will enable students to identify, compare, and contrast three different styles of Japanese Theatre: Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki. There are three proposed projects in this unit: a research assignment where groups delve into further detail about one of the three styles; a performance project where students utilize what they’ve learned by enacting a scene from a Kyogen (comedic) play; and a Bunraku puppet play. The unit comes with a Google Slide Deck to help students visualize the information.

Additional Attachments
1: Noh Theatre

Students are introduced to Noh Theatre.Students participate in an exercise to develop their understanding of ritual movements.

2: Bunraku

Students are introduced to Bunraki Theatre. Students perform a performance exercise (Human Puppets). A performance rubric is included.

3: Kabuki

Students are introduced to the Kabuki Theatre. Students participate in a Kabuki Walk exercise.


4: Research Assignment

This assignment is designed to allow students to delve further into the 3 styles of Japanese theatre introduced in this unit. An assignment handout and assessment rubric are included.

5: Kyogen Performance Project

Students will perform a scene from a Kyogen play in the Kabuki style. Exit slips, a peer feedback sheet, and a performance rubric are included.

6: Bunraku Performance Project

Alternatively, students can perform a Bunraku puppet play. A peer feedback sheet is included.

Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards


Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 7

TH:Pr4.1.7.a - Consider various staging choices to enhance the story in a drama/theatre work.

Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr4.1.8.a - Explore different pacing to better communicate the story in a drama/theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.a - Articulate and examine choices to refine a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 6

TH:Cn11.2.6.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 7

TH:Pr6.1.7.a - Participate in rehearsals for a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 8

TH:Pr6.1.8.a - Perform a rehearsed drama/theatre work for an audience.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 8

TH:Cn11.2.8.b - Identify and use artifacts from a time period and place to develop performance and design choices in a drama/theatre work.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr6.1.HSI.a - Perform a scripted drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Common Core


California VAPA Standards (2019)


7.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

7.TH:Pr4.a - Consider various staging choices to enhance the story in a drama/theatre work.

8.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

8.TH:Pr4.a - Explore different pacing to better communicate the story in a drama/theatre work.

6.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

6.TH:Cn11.2.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

7.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

67TH:Pr6 - Create through improvisation a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

8.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

8.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted scene from a drama/theatre work for an audience.

8.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

8.TH:Cn11.2.b - Identify and use artifacts from a time period and place to develop performance and design choices in a drama/theatre work.

Prof.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

Prof.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted short drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Florida Sunshine State Standards


North Carolina Essential Standards


Intermediate High School Standards - Communication

I.C.2.2 - Interpret scenes through formal and informal presentations.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts


MS 117.211 LI - Critical evaluation and response

C.5.A - identify and apply audience etiquette at all performances.

MS 117.212 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

B.1.E - demonstrate knowledge of theatrical vocabulary and terminology.

MS 117.212 LII - Creative Expression: performance

B.2.A - demonstrate safe use of the voice and body.

HS 117.317 LIII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.B - experiment with stage movement.

HS 117.317 LIII - Historical and cultural relevance

C.4.A - evaluate historical and cultural influences on theatre.

HS 117.318 LIV - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.B - devise and model stage movement.

Alberta, Canada


Technical Theatre/Design 10-20-30 - Costume

1 - demonstrate understanding of the purpose of costume

Theatre Studies Drama 10 (Greek, Medieval or Elizabethan, and Canadian)

1 - recognize theatre has evolved as a traditional art form

Technical Theatre/Design 10-20-30 - Management - Properties

1 - demonstrate understanding of the purpose of stage properties

Technical Theatre/Design 10-20-30 - Management - Sound

7 - create live sound effects

Speech Level II - Intermediate

14 - use a variety of character voices

Theatre Studies Level III - Advanced (The script)

9 - read a script aloud

British Columbia (2018)


GRADE 8 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Take creative risks to express feelings, ideas, and experiences

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Connecting and expanding

Demonstrate respect for themselves, others, and the audience

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and the audience

Ontario, Canada