Visual-Based Ice-Breakers

We use a lot of ice-breaker activities in theatre classrooms. These often included revealing information about one’s self or emoting in some way. You can surprise your students with either of the following two activities that do not require any

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Online Lighting Design Project

This is an open-education resource, like everything else on this site. It is a step-by-step lighting design project packaged as a PowerPoint file. The PowerPoint file can be downloaded here:  https://scenicandlighting.com/downloads/Light_Plot_Assignment.pptx Your students are instructed to edit the PowerPoint slides.

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Projections on Stage Part IV: Choices about Media

This article follows Part III in this series, Projections on Stage Part III: Choices about Screens Projections on stage can be more than just a big square image behind the actors. They can be broken up, spread around, and appear

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Projections on Stage Part I: How do I make them brighter?

The Butter Gun I’m not saying I do, but I am not saying that I do not.   In my home, on my breakfast table, I may,  or I may not have a gun that shoots butter.   If I did have

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Browser-Based Light Labs

Demonstrating theatrical lighting in an educational environment takes a lot of setup.  I have some standard lectures where I take my entire class down to one of our theatres and spend the class powering different instruments on and off while

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Accessing Broadway: Learning experiences that bring life and light to the world of theatre.

Broadway Educators is hosted and maintained by All Tickets, Inc., which specializes in group experiences and educational theatre experiences in New York City. One of the services offered by All Tickets, Inc. is access to a huge range of workshops

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The Drama Machine

Behold, The Drama Machine.  This is an interactive application that demonstrates the variables that we always deal with in production.  It randomly combines factors: Script, Director’s Concept, Venue, Budget, and Time. It churns out the circumstances for a hypothetical production

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Theatre History: A Discussion of Challenges and Remedies, Part I

In teaching theatre history on the university level to undergraduates, we’re often challenged by feeling the need to relay a mountain of facts that students tend to fairly boring, overwhelming, and inconsequential. Along with the historical information are our primary

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Preparing College Theatre Students for the Real World

There are three different schools of thought regarding how one gets undergrads ready for the real world of theatre. One school of thought is focused on making sure that candidates spend four years specializing in a specific area such as

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Why Majoring in Theatre is Not a Waste of an Education, Part I

Sometimes actors reach a point in their endeavors when they may feel as if they wasted four years in college studying their dream for nothing. “I should have done what my dad told me and studied science,” actors may think

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What is a Career in the Professional Theatre?

Students in high school and even in college are often confused as to what a career in the theatre really means? Although it is hard to believe, many still think that to have a professional theatre career you must go

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a true arts complex, offering performances in a range of disciplines including music, dance and theatre. The Center, which is also a rich resource for theatre historians, offers daily tours that include special group

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Directing Actors: Creating Contagious Confidence in Performers

Acting is not an easy job and just about any actor, no matter what their level of training and accomplishment may be, has insecurities that can undermine their success. One of the things that a director can do is instill

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Teachers Can Help Student Actors Create a Positive Self-Image

Over the years, I’ve found that many student actors at the high school and college levels have a very difficult time with their self-image, especially in terms of their physicality. Exactly what they are troubled by depends upon the individual.

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Script Analysis Basics for Students: Understanding the Play and Plot, Part Two

In Part One of this four-part series, we defined formalist script analysis and discussed the importance of utilizing this interpretative too in preparing for production. It is an essential tool for directors and other artists, such as designers and actors,

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Script Analysis Basics for Students: Understanding the Play, Part One

Formalist script analysis for production is an important skill for directors, designers, and actors to master. Although each approaches analysis a little differently, there are foundation elements that everyone in the theatre shares when it comes to analyzing a script

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What Every Student Actor Needs to Know About Being Professional

If you’re a student actor who is serious about being a professional, there are a few things of which you must be aware to succeed. Actually, there are more than a few, but this blog will offer you 5 basic,

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Auditioning for Musical Theatre, Part Two: Material Choices, Type, Accompanists

Know Your Limits Actors should use material at which they excel. If you are auditioning at nine or ten in the morning, be sure you can hit your money notes. If not, choose a different song for that morning. Auditions

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Auditioning for Musical Theatre, Part One: Teaching Auditioning

Learning Through the Experience Auditioning for musical theatre can be more stressful and exhausting than preparing for a job interview. In college, I took several audition and musical theatre classes where they did their best to help prepare students for

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Playwriting: The Power of Love

Focus: When saying “I love you” has a devastating effect. In this exercise, playwrights create a scene with two characters in which one tells the other that they love them. The statement of love should in some way have a

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Playwriting: Using Subtext Effectively

Focus: Subtext and Conflict Subtext, the meaning that is inside or under the text (a line of dialogue) is an important tool for playwrights as it enriches a play on many levels, making for more complex characters, more twists and

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Viewpoints of Time

When using this exercise be sure to reference this blog post. Tempo How slowly or quickly something occurs, which can be physical, vocal, or internal. I ask a brave student to volunteer for this one, and in a whisper ask

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Viewpoints of Space

In utilizing this exercise be sure to read this post. Shape This is literally how you shape your body, as well as the shapes you create onstage using the environment around you and other bodies. At this point, I will

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Creative Drama for the Classroom: Side Coaching Actors

Why Side Coaching? Side coaching is the process of giving directions to actors while they are playing a scene. Acting students love side coaching, becomes it forces them to think on their toes. They have to instantly take on whatever

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Reader’s Theatre in the Classroom: Part I, The Basics

What It Is Reader’s Theatre is a fun approach for developing reading confidence in children. It engages kids to engage in oral reading by reading characters in scripts that has been developed from a short story or novel. It is

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Teaching Lessons in Scenic Design: Art from Nothing

I am positive that every scenic designer in the U.S. reading this blog understands the drill: Carefully read the script. Discuss it with the director. Do your research. Take time to conceptualize. Repeat. The process involves engaging in these steps

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Theatre History II Mini-Assignments

This second grouping of theatre history Mini-Assignment covers the period staring at the English Restoration and goes through to the present and the future. These exercises from Sharon Paquette are creative, insightful and fun. View or download the exercises here: Theatre History

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Haiku Creative Assignment

This exercise offers students an innovative way to respond to a production they have seen by creating a haiku. It helps them focus on production specifics and create an intelligent reaction. This is appropriate for college and high school students.

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Collage Creative Assignment

This Collage Creative exercise is geared towards college students but it is also appropriate for those in high school. This is an innovative way to elicit responses to a theatre production. It allows students to create focused responses in a creative

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Blank Calendar

Nothing glamorous about this; it’s just a one-page Word Doc calendar. You can print it, photocopy it, and fill it out to suit the current month. Download Blank Calendar Exercise Contributed by Matt Kizer Matt Kizer is the webmaster for

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Lighting Design Class: Oops, we need a set design…

Lighting Design Class:  Oops, we need a set design…

Lighting Design course projects typically need a set design to be provided for the project to go forward. Included in this compressed folder are JPEG rendering of the set. PDF groundplan of the set. PDF section view of the set.

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Design: Experimental Design

  In what is the last of 10 exercises on design aesthetics, professor Rostampour allows for a wide range of experimentation. Students “will experiment with deconstructing a natural phenomenon, an insect.” They then utilize the insect’s form and reconstruct it,

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Design: Progression, a 3D Storyboard

There’s a lot of room for creativity in what is the ninth of 10 design aesthetics exercises from lighting and set design professor Fereshteh Rostampour . Students create a three-dimensional storyboard based on the theme “Progression.” Design process, use of material,

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Design: Mask Design & Creation

Design: Mask Design & Creation

In what is the eighth of 10 exercises focusing on design aesthetics from Associate Professor Rostampour, students design a character mask based on one of the following- Kabuki, ancient Greek, African, Commedia dell´Arte, or virtual game character/anime. They must also

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Design: Visual Narrative

Design: Visual Narrative

This exercise asks students to create a triptych that tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The three panels, which are developed as collages, must utilize the principles and elements of design. This is the sixth of 10

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Design: Music Composition

Design: Music Composition

In the fifth of 10 design aesthetics exercises from Auburn associate professor Fereshteh Rostampour, students are given the creative task of translating a 3 to 5 minute piece of music into a visual display. This is a wonderful mid-range exercise

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Design: Composition

Design: Composition

This design aesthetics exercise focusing on composition requires that students convey a focal point, asymmetrical balance, and movement. Students write a short story or develop a theme and then illustrate their central idea through collage. The point is to create

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