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Lesson 1: Introduction to Theatre Course

Objective

Students will become familiar with one another and classroom procedures/expectations by participating in getting-to-know-you activities and discussing the disclosure document.

 

 

Materials Needed

Copies of your school’s Disclosure Document for each student,
Student Fact Sheet (1 per student) –  Theatre Course Fact Sheet

 

 

Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook
Introduce yourself to the class and give a brief description of the course. Pass out the student description sheets. Have the students complete them and answer the questions for the following discussion. While you take role, as you call on each person have them share one fact from their fact sheet with the class. The teacher may also share something with the class.

 

 

Instruction

 

Step 1: Once you have finished taking role, have all the students stand in two parallel lines facing each other, one on each side of the room. Then tell the students that you will be saying a bunch of statements and if the statement is true about them, then they must cross to the other side of the room and get in the other line. This activity does not require any talking. Here are a few suggestions of things to say:

– You are a Freshman.
– You are a Sophomore
– You were born in Utah.
– You have younger siblings.
– You have older siblings.
– Your favorite sport is basketball.
– You are afraid of heights.
– You have been out of the country.
– You have ever acted before.
– You have ever seen a play.
– You have met or seen a famous actor/actress.
– You are nervous about this class.
– You are afraid of getting up in front of the class.
– (Offer to let the students give a couple suggestions)

 

Transition: Have the students sit down and ask them to take out their fact sheets.

 

 

Step 2: Ask the students what fears or curiosities they have about this class. What are they most nervous about? Explain that this is a beginning drama class and therefore the first drama experience for many students in the class. Make sure that you tell them that they will not be judged on how perfect their acting skills are or how funny or realistic they are. They will be graded on how much they risk. They are required to participate and at least try everything once. I will have high expectations but nothing that they won’t be able to achieve if they take risks.
Ask the students to share some of their answers to the last question on the fact sheet: What is theatre?
Facilitate a discussion about the many different aspects and roles in theatre. Explain that acting or performing is only a portion of the types of jobs in the theatre field and that we will be exploring many of these throughout the course of the term. As they give responses, write them up on the board. Ask the students what the different roles in the theatre are.

– actor
– director
– playwright
– designer
– producer
– stage manager
– house manager
– publicist
– dramaturg

 

 

Step 3: Have all the students stand up and get in a straight line facing towards the teacher. Then instruct them that without using noise, words, or mouthing anything, they must re-arrange themselves in order based on their birth month. They must use their hands or bodies to communicate and get in line beginning with January babies all the way to those born in December. Show them where January should start and December should end. Instruct them that if there are multiple people born in one month, they need to get in order of the actual day. Tell them that they only have 2 minutes to do this.

 

When the time is up, have the students each say their birthday and check to see how accurate they were. Have them go back to their seats and ask the students what their experience was with this activity.
What was difficult?
How did you communicate?
Did you see something that someone else was doing that you thought was effective?
How could you improve your time if you were to do this again?
How does this activity relate to theatre or acting?
Talk about how communication is the most important thing with theatre. Without multiple people performing with one another or for one another theatre would not exist. Theatre is a different way of communicating with the world and becoming better people. It is for ourselves as well as for others.

 

Transition: Pass out the disclosure documents.

 

 

Step 4: Go over the whole document with the class. Be sure to tell them about the media section that needs to be looked over and approved by their parents. Ask the students for any clarifying questions and tell them the signed document needs to be turned by the next class period.

 

Transition: Have them put their disclosure documents away and pack all their things to take down to the auditorium.

 

 

Step 5: Theatre Tour

Tell the students to follow the teacher on a short tour of the auditorium. While in the auditorium, have all students look out from the stage and get a feel of how large the space is. Talk about the many tasks or jobs there are to be done in order for a theatre to be fully functional. Point out the following parts of the theatre space:

– stage
– audience (house)
– light/sound booth
– wings
– alcoves
– backstage
– scene shop
– proscenium arch
– apron

 

When finished with the tour, have the students sit down on the stage and ask for questions about the theatre space until the end of class.

 

 

Assessment

Participation