Big Fish The Musical: Themes for Classroom Discussion

Lessons learned, teaching Big Fish the Musical

Fathers and Sons, Mothers and Daughters, Parents and Children Based on the 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace, Big Fish The Musical is about a former traveling salesman (Edward Bloom) from the South who has a passion for storytelling. His son,

Read More Big Fish The Musical: Themes for Classroom Discussion

Stanislavski Method: Magic If and Illusion of the First Time

In teaching acting two important concepts that are connected to the Stanislavski method or system are the Magic If and the actors need to create the Illusion of the First Time. Understanding the Magic If can help an actor make

Read More Stanislavski Method: Magic If and Illusion of the First Time

Acting Styles: The Importance of Having Student Actors Go Beyond Realism

If you’re a teacher or director working with young actors in high school or an undergraduate college program, then chances are your actors are primarily familiar with scripts that focus overall on realism. If they do know plays that demand

Read More Acting Styles: The Importance of Having Student Actors Go Beyond Realism

Teaching and Learning: Bringing Students Together with Theatre Artists

Bringing students together with theatre professionals can be a rewarding experience for students, teachers, and theatre artists. Professionals who work with students tend to do so because they enjoy engaging with and teaching those who are enthusiastic about and/or interested

Read More Teaching and Learning: Bringing Students Together with Theatre Artists

Teaching Acting: Using Stanislavski’s Three Questions

In teaching acting or working with student actors on a show there are some basic techniques that should be stressed in regards to how to create a character that is actively engaged on stage at all times. An important technique

Read More Teaching Acting: Using Stanislavski’s Three Questions

Broadway Study Guides and the Class Trip

If you’re a teacher taking a class to see a Broadway musical or play, you may want to utilize a study guide. Broadway study guides can be helpful to teachers. There are a range of study guides available for free

Read More Broadway Study Guides and the Class Trip

Working with Student Actors: Geometry Can Help Them be More Effective On Stage

If you are a teacher or drama director working with school students, then you have your work cut out for you. When directing a school or after-school play with those in primary or secondary grades drama directors must spent a

Read More Working with Student Actors: Geometry Can Help Them be More Effective On Stage

Directing Students Actors- Opening Up Your Student Actors

When working with young actors in a primary and secondary school setting drama teachers and directors can find that it’s a major chore to get them to open up to an audience. Often young actors will work against themselves on

Read More Directing Students Actors- Opening Up Your Student Actors

Theatre & the Classroom: Theatre History, Literature & Les Misérables, Part Two

In the classroom, teachers can focus on numerous topics in relationship to Les Misérables. In Part Two of our consideration of Les Misérables, we’ll look at a few of the many areas, themes, and subjects that you can investigate with

Read More Theatre & the Classroom: Theatre History, Literature & Les Misérables, Part Two

Theatre & the Classroom: Theatre History, Literature & Les Misérables, Part One

Teaching Les Misérables in the classroom offers educators the chance to include a range of diverse subjects. Plus, with the return of Les Misérables to Broadway in 2014, a hit movie version of the musical, the book, and many other

Read More Theatre & the Classroom: Theatre History, Literature & Les Misérables, Part One

Advanced Directing Technique: Insights for Actors through Storytelling, Part II

In the first installment of this two-part series on Insights for Actors through Storytelling, I discussed why and how I developed this directorial technique. We also considered the foundation elements that are a part of this directing method. It’s interesting

Read More Advanced Directing Technique: Insights for Actors through Storytelling, Part II

Teaching Lorraine Hansberry’s Classic Drama A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun premiered on Broadway on March 11, 1959. To the surprise of many, the play became a huge success, earning four Tony nominations, the New York Critic’s Circle Award for Best play, and running for two

Read More Teaching Lorraine Hansberry’s Classic Drama A Raisin in the Sun

Advanced Directing Technique: Insights for Actors through Storytelling, Part I

Over the years I’ve directed my share of professional and university productions. Recently, I was working on a production of Steel Magnolias. It was an Actors Equity production and all of the actresses were professionals, many with more than 20

Read More Advanced Directing Technique: Insights for Actors through Storytelling, Part I

Classroom Teaching: Theatre, Subtext and Understanding Plays

When teaching a play written in verse you find that overall the characters say what’s on their minds. Shakespeare, Sophocles, Racine and others don’t utilize what we call subtext. But when dealing with plays written from around the time of

Read More Classroom Teaching: Theatre, Subtext and Understanding Plays

Classroom and Rehearsal: Mask Work Can Free the Actor’s Body

Working with masks offers various challenges to young actors. This is because masks take away one of an actor’s primary methods of communication- facial expression. But it also works to free the body. Here are some suggestions on how to

Read More Classroom and Rehearsal: Mask Work Can Free the Actor’s Body

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

Read More Playwriting: Using Subtext Effectively

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.

Read More Acting: Mask Work Lesson Plan For Kids

The Arts and Learning: Theatre in the Classroom and Community

In Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, the preeminent study on the usefulness and importance of the arts as a teaching and achievement tool, Richard Riley, Secretary, Department of Education, wrote. “The ultimate challenge for American

Read More The Arts and Learning: Theatre in the Classroom and Community

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

Read More Creative Drama in The Classroom: Viewpoints For Students

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

Read More Viewpoints of Space

Side Coaching Exercise for Actors: How to Use It, Benefits for Actors

  You can use this side coaching exercise when working with actors in class or on a show. Side coaching can be useful in a few ways. Primarily, it gets performers to act and react without thinking. That is to develop and

Read More Side Coaching Exercise for Actors: How to Use It, Benefits for Actors

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

Read More Creative Drama for the Classroom: Side Coaching Actors

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

Read More Reader’s Theatre in the Classroom: Part 2, Reading Rock Stars

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

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

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

Read More Theatre and Recycling: Soda Bottle Balustrade Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Broadway Musical NEWSIES: Themes for the Classroom

Musical NEWSIES on Broadway

History The musical NEWSIES is a dramatized, but overall accurate description of what life was like for children in the U.S. back in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. The newspaper boys (aka the “newsies”) were the primary way that

Read More Broadway Musical NEWSIES: Themes for the Classroom

Camp CenterStage: Achieving Excellence Through the Arts

For several summers, I have had the privilege of counseling and teaching at Camp CenterStage, a performing arts summer camp where the staff’s goal is achieving excellence through the arts. I have worked at various terrific camps, but I find

Read More Camp CenterStage: Achieving Excellence Through the Arts

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

Read More The Dynamics of Classroom Playwriting and Reading Aloud, Part II

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

Read More Teaching Lessons in Scenic Design: Art from Nothing

Teaching Spanish in the Classroom through Theatre

What better way is there to apply the Spanish language and culture in the classroom than through theatre? It definitely helps to have classes where the students engage in traditional learning, such as writing down Spanish vocabulary, watching movies in

Read More Teaching Spanish in the Classroom through Theatre

A Student Finding His Niche in the Theatre

While on the road directing and performing with Missoula Children’s Theatre, I had many life-changing moments that provided me with a huge amount of perspective. This story is only one of them. Invisible Rewards We were casting our weekly musical

Read More A Student Finding His Niche in the Theatre

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

Read More Theatre History II Mini-Assignments