Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance

There are various ways to teach directing to students. (That is, if directing is really something that you can actually “teach.”) Directing tends to be filled with challenges, as the stage director has to understand a script in its entirety,

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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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Teaching Commedia dell’ Arte, Part II

Character Walks Since Commedia Dell’ Arte is a physical theatrical art form, it is essential and fun to have students experiment with various ways of moving their bodies. Have the students walk around the classroom as a character of their

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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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Teaching Commedia Dell’ Arte, Part I

Benefits for Students Commedia dell’ Arte is an older theatre style, but it allows students the opportunity to be innovative. Commedia dell’ Arte teaches kids physical discipline, spontaneous use of their imagination, and the ability to think on their feet.

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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: 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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Acting: Mask Work Lesson Plan For Kids

Paper Masks This particular lesson plan can be used in various classroom settings. Some teachers may opt to use it in an elementary Social Studies class when teaching a unit on Ancient Greece as actors in Greek Theatre wore masks.

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Creative Drama in The Classroom: Viewpoints For Students

Viewpoints is active and works on various levels. What Are Viewpoints? As a teacher in the classroom, I always become excited for the next time I teach an acting lesson, when a group of students tell me that they joined

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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 2, Reading Rock Stars

I found inspiration for the following Reader’s Theatre activity at www.readwritethink.org. Visit this site to discover ways in which you can expand the following activity, for links, and even more Reader’s Theatre ideas to use in the classroom! Reading Rock

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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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Theatre and Recycling: Soda Bottle Balustrade Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Often in the theatre as designers we’re given challenges to create a scenic element that at first glance may appear to be too expensive, time consuming or unwieldy.  In the summer of 2012, I designed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Papermill

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The Dynamics of Classroom Playwriting and Reading Aloud, Part II

In the first part of this two part series, we discussed some of the benefits of playwriting in the classroom, how teachers can get basic playwriting training and how to use playwriting exercises when teaching. Plays by their very nature

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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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Creative Drama for the Classroom: Life & Three Entrances Activity

  Many solid acting exercises are simply an extension of or associated with everyday life. That’s certainly the case with the Three Entrances activity in this blog which was inspired by Uta Hagen’s Three Entrances acting exercise. Here’s a considered

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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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Design: Color Wheel and Tones

Design: Color Wheel and Tones

This exercise, which is the third of 10 focusing on design aesthetics, demands that students create their own color wheel and tones. Tones are developed by using varying amounts of black and white. This is an exacting exercise from designer

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