Teaching drama this year has been a fun and unique journey. My beginning drama students started the year just learning each other's names, since the class is 9th through 12th grade, and many of them had never met each other. For some of my shyest, even saying their name aloud in a circle was a struggle at the beginning of the year. Now, they are working on a student-directed production, and they are full invested in learning to put on an entertaining, meaningful show. While some drama teachers have parents able to donate elaborate sets and costumes, this is not possible at my school. Nonetheless, my students love putting on elaborate productions with exciting sets and costumes which unfortunately cost a lot of money, but which delight our audiences and bring theater to a community that is in many ways an artistic desert.
It is hard to emulate theatre greatness without seeing it firsthand.
Few of my students see live theatre on a regular basis. I think it is important that a college prep drama experience include seeing professional actors perform live, which is why I try to plan at least one field trip to see a play each year.
Theatricum Botanicum's educational programs are some of the best I have ever seen. They send actors to come meet with the class before the show, then on the day of the show, they do Q&A activities with an actor portraying the "author" of the show, followed up by theatre improv activities, and then, the students view the show.
The Crucible is an important, foundational part of the American literature canon, but the work is truly an intense piece of theatre to see performed live.
I am eager for my students to have this special theatre experience as part of our contemporary theatre unit, studying playwrights like Arthur Miller who shaped modern theatre.
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