Intro to Storytelling with our other skills (puppetry, design)

Intro to Storytelling with our other skills (puppetry, design)

By Katelyn Tullis



Students will demonstrate their ability to tell stories visually by doing basic script analysis and creating a rough sketch for their design ideas.


Prior Experience:

Students will draw upon their practice with script analysis as they work through the design process in this lesson.


Class Style:

*Live Zoom Call.*


National Standards:

TH:Cr1.1.I.a. Apply basic research to construct ideas about the visual composition of a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1.I.c. Refine technical design choices to support the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/ theatre work.


Big Ideas:

  • Script analysis is part of any theatre maker’s work.
  • The script is the basis for all design choices.
  • Stories are told in theatre through the design areas.
  • The design areas have an impact on how the audience receives the story.


Enduring Understandings:

  • Students will learn that script analysis should inform their design choices.
  • Students will learn about the basic design process (research, drafts, design).
  • Students will experiment with telling a story visually. 


Essential Questions:

  • What does script analysis look like for a designer?
  • What is the design process?
  • How do the design areas affect the audience?





  1. Email out the script as well as the worksheet. Or post these on a class website so that students can have access to these. 


HOOK (10 minutes)

  1. Stories are told visually just as much as they are told with our voices and with our bodies. Our designers are just as much a part of theatre as are the actors.
  2. Use the “Guess that Show” powerpoint. There are examples of different plays that have won awards for their designs. See if students can guess what the show is just by looking at a picture. Then discuss the elements of each design a little.


INSTRUCTION (15 minutes)

  1. Walk through the powerpoint. Remember that this is a breeze over the ENTIRE design process. We will work through this in more detail later, but it’s good to learn about the general process now. Pay attention, but don’t stress about remembering everything.
    1. General Theatre Design Process
      1. Discover the needs of the design (function)
        1. Act/Scene Breakdowns
        2. Make notes for yourself of what you need for your design area–see Design needs Worksheet.
        3. Make notes from your meetings with the director and other designers
          1. Director’s Concept: what is it and how do you use your design to tell that story?
            1. My concept might be that “love can’t conquer all” in a production of Romeo and Juliet. 
            2. What does that do to my imagination for design. I imagine things like false hope, so maybe bright colors at the beginning, but drab at the end.
            3. Things that seem a little over done.
            4. You as designers would take that direction and work with that as you create your designs. 
      2. Identify possible solutions to meet the needs
        1. Think about what you can control
      3. Create design documents
        1. Lighting paperwork
        2. Costume & Makeup paperwork
        3. Sound paperwork
        4. Set paperwork
      4. Construct the design
        1. Build!!
      5. Load into the theatre
      6. Tech
      7. Opening performance


GUIDED PRACTICE (10 minutes)

  1. “We will read through Act I, Scene II of Twelfth Night by Shakespeare as a class. Make notes as we read.”
  2. Before we start reading, here are some things to keep in mind. Remember to be looking at this from a design point of view. Mark the things that stand out to you as we read. 
    1. What are some of the different design areas? If anything from these design areas stands out to you, mark those as well.
      1. Lighting
      2. Set
      3. Costume
  3. After reading through the script, let students know that you will be splitting them up into groups. 
  4. “Here is your checklist for while you are in your groups.”  
    1. Read through the script a second time. Reading something a second time can help you find things you might have missed.
    2. Fill out the Design Needs worksheet (this was emailed to you or can be found on the class website).
    3. Work on a short sketch of something that would help us understand your hopes for the design.
    4. Pick someone to present for your group the information on your groups’ worksheets and your design ideas.


APPLICATION (20 minutes or more, as needed)

  1. Split class into six groups (two for each of the design areas mentioned above). Breakout room style through Zoom.
    1. Remind students of breakout procedures.
  2. Encourage them to think about how they might attempt to work through these needs of the design as a team and come up with a sketch, picture, a sound snippet, or something that they can show us to demonstrate what they are thinking for the scene.


PERFORMANCE (30 minutes)

  1. Each group should share with the class for 5 minutes, then we can debrief shortly with each group using our “I observed, I liked, I wonder responses.”
  2. When we are responding to our peer’s work, we want to be supportive and encouraging, but we also want to think critically. Our peers will perform and then you can respond in one of the following three ways:
  1. “I observed…” which is just statements of fact, not liked or disliked. “I observed that they used their bodies.” “I observed that we had to work together.” etc. 
  2. “I liked…” which is just something they did that you liked! “I liked that so-and-so decided to be a grandma because that worked really well with the lines in the script!”
  3. “I wonder…” which could be a question or a thought that you had. For example, “I wonder how the script would have changed if the script was about friends instead of enemies.”