This page (Page #3) has creative ideas
for directing a fun, successful play or musical. Check
out these examples used in ArtReach popular titles: A
Thousand Cranes, Emperor's New Clothes, Peter
Pan, Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island.
Dont forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play
Package and contain many other ideas and inspirations!
JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS THEATRE ASSOCIATION
ISSUE: What's happening in schools?
Ladies College, Australia
- Liane Campbell
by Kathryn Schultz Miller
A Middle School Teacher
Discusses her production of ArtReach's A THOUSAND CRANES
3-10 but I managed to expand the cast to 42 students using them as
different choruses: a physical theatre troupe, musicians and also as
a soundscape chorus. As we are an all girls' school we only cast
females and they also played the 2 male roles (Kenji and Father).
Sadako needs to be a strong performer who oozes optimism. She has the
bulk of the lines.
wonderfully rewarding process for the cast and crew."
THOUSAND CRANES -
Majestic Theatre, Corvallis OR
Duration of rehearsal:
and physical theatre work. The ensemble all worked as one to sing
the song we wrote about Sadako.
rewarding aspect: A
wonderfully rewarding process for the cast and crew involved. As the
director I was keen to use this touching story as a learning tool for
the students involved and explore Hiroshima in 1945: how the
countries and families were affected, what an atomic bomb is and how
this was the beginning of the end of World War Two. I also wanted to
integrate multimedia (actual video, photos and sound footage) which
worked really well to take the audience to that time and place.
Why we chose it:
I wanted to explore the human spirit - how it adapts, grows and loves
in every part of the world in time of pain or in time of peace. The
process of bringing the production to life has been a discovery of
emotions and historically based stories for both the cast and crew.
The story of Sadako that juxtaposes the horrors of war with the
celebratory spirit of hope from a young girl stricken with leukaemia
as a result of the atomic bomb. With optimism she began to fold 1,000
paper cranes so that according to legend the gods would grant her a
wish and make her well.
from the school community:
Wonderful. And we involved much of the middle school as they were all
taught and asked to make 2-3 paper cranes that we then hung in the
One thing I
would have done differently: The
vocal and soundscape chorus I created really could have been
effectively done with the other chorus members. I was trying to
include maximum potential of students but they had a lot of down time.
Loves Audience Participation
Audiences and Kids Have Fun Together
During the revolutionary 60s and 70s, a British
director named Brian Way forged a new direction in childrens
theatre that centered on inclusion. His plays were the first to
have all children participate together in a way that really offered
kids a chance to use their natural impulse to play and imagine.
For us at ArtReach, Brian Way is a hero.
With ArtReachs School Plays, we strive to
find new and creative ways to bring audience and cast together.
We dont believe in lecturing kids about how to behave during a
play we let them know that something fun is going on and they
are invited to enjoy it with us. Whether you are on stage or in
the audience, you are a part of this very special event we call live theatre.
Emperors New Clothes, the audience is invited to help the
conniving tailor pull a fast one on the Emperor. In Alice
in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts invites the audience to play
along during the flamingo croquet game. In Pinocchio,
the audience actually becomes the whale that swallows Geppetto and
his little puppet son. In Aladdin,
market sellers come right up to the audience members to sell their
wares. Hope you have a coin, because the merchant is ready to
make a deal!
are a part of this very special event."
Audience members pretend to hold
the Emperors invisible coat. Market
Sellers present their wares to the audience for sale.
Emperors New Clothes and Aladdin
Every ArtReach School
Play will give you lots of tips and instructions on how involve
your audience. As a director, you can be sure that the audience
participation is clearly explained in the script. The School
Plays even have blocking suggestions that will bring your scenes
right into the aisles! You will be amazed at how easily
everyone catches on and how eager your audience is to join in the fun.
Hold Auditions for a School Play
Create a Safe Place for Kids to
Explore Their Talents
Its important to decide what your goals
are for the production. Do you want to produce a play that is
as close to professional as possible? Or do you want to provide an
educational experience for lots of kids in order to expose them to
the dramatic arts?
ArtReachs School Plays can serve either
of these goals. Theres no one "right way to do
it! Many teachers produce wonderful elaborate productions with
professional sets and costumes. And we love to see pictures of
these productions! Take a look at these:
no one right way to do it!"
- Peter Pan, Pinocchio, The
Wizard of Oz
But for every gorgeously realized production,
there are many productions that are quite informal that put the
emphasis is on simply learning and having fun. These
productions are just as exciting and meaningful to your kids!
If your concern is providing kids with their
first taste of acting, we suggest starting with a policy of
inclusion. For auditions, have everyone who is interested
gather together in one large room. Have everyone stay together
throughout the process. At the beginning of the session explain
that everyone is being considered and everyone who wants to be in the
play will be cast. Then encourage your young hopefuls to
support each other during auditions. Tell them to laugh and
applaud their fellow auditioners if they feel like it!
Rather than concentrating on monologues or 2
person scenes, choose group scenes from the script and have a several
kids audition together. Let everyone who wants to read a scene
have their chance. Never say a line for your actors and ask
them to mimic you. This limits your performers and sends the
signal that there is a "right way to say the line when in
fact the possibilities are endless! Your young performer may surprise
you with an incredibly creative reading! Also, never interrupt
a student while he or she is auditioning. Stick to the scene as
you have provided it and show great respect for the performers efforts.
your kids a chance to explore."
& Alice in Wonderland
Keep your eye open -- not for the next Broadway
star -- but for all the signals the kids will send you about where
they are in the creative process. Look for opportunities to
cast kids in roles that do not seem obvious for them. The class clown
might be challenged by playing the less than comic role of Prince
Charming. The shyest kid in your group may come alive as
Captain Hook. Look for the kids who help others and put them in
roles where they can strengthen the sense of camaraderie in your cast.
At every turn in the process offer your kids a
chance to explore and discover their own unique talents. Give
them a safe place to enjoy this wonderful new thing called live
theatre. Without a doubt you will find treasures of talent
where you least expect it!
School Play is Best for Your Age-Group?
The Simplest Play Not
Necessarily the Easiest
Teachers with very young kids often ask which
play is the simplest for their kids to learn. The
Wizard of Oz will always be fairly easy for the youngest kids
because they are very familiar with the story. ArtReachs Wizard
of Oz follows the L. Frank Baum book and does not stray into new
side-line stories or tangents, so every part of the script will feel
familiar to you and your students.
as young as kindergarten have terrific results!"
Snow White -
Alice in Wonderland
Great plays for K-3 kids are Cinderella
and Snow White. These
are a little shorter than the other plays and have lots of great
roles for kids with very simple dialogue. If you are looking
for a play that is written in scenes you might consider Alice
in Wonderland. Alice is episodic and each scene can be
separated from the whole, so that you can concentrate on one scene at
a time during rehearsal.
Thousand Cranes is a very easy play to put together.
Dialogue is quite simple and costumes and scenery are easy to
make. However, the subject matter is a bit deeper than other
plays and its a good idea to factor discussion time in your
rehearsal schedule. A
Thousand Cranes is often performed by kids as young as
kindergarten with terrific results!
Your School Play Can Be Easy,
Stress-Free & Fun
Long-time ArtReach Friend and Director Sarah
Ackerman-Hale posted this last week just before the opening of her TREASURE
ISLAND: YOUNG PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: "Directing
plays inspired me to go back to school to become an elementary
teacher. As I've completed my schooling, I've come to really
understand and appreciate your philosophies about the emphasis being
on the process, not so much the completed "product.
Heres a pic from Sarahs Madison Avenue Performing Arts
to let your imagination soar!"
Check out Treasure
Island for more pictures!
ArtReachs "open stage
suggestions give you freedom to let your imagination soar! Just
because its easy doesnt mean its not good.
Sarah gave her kids a blackboard and chalk and they created a one of
kind set that is all their own! To create costumes, Sarah
invited everyone to dress up for a Pirate Party. Presto!
Instant set and costumes that cost almost nothing and make the most
of kids natural creativity and impulse to play.
"stress-free and "fun make the end result more
exciting than you ever dreamed possible!
Make Summer Drama Camp Stress-Free
Beware of Little Pirates!
One of the best things about summer is that
there are lots of "big kids around to help you with the
"little kids! Take a tip from ESF Camps at Gilman
School in Baltimore. They used ArtReachs TREASURE
ISLAND: YOUNG PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN to put together a fun and
stress-free pirate day camp!
way to make little stars shine!"
Island: Young Pirates of the Caribbean
ESF Camps at Gilman School, Baltimore MD
Enlist the older kids in your school, community
or church to help put the play together. Divide your little
pirates into "tribes and put 3 or 4 older kids in charge
of each. The tribe leaders can work together to coordinate
activities before the little ones arrive. Divide the
script up and assign portions to each tribe. This way
each group has about 10 minutes of material and one song to work
on. At the end of the 1 or 2 week session, put all the tribes
together for a swashbuckling full-length show. What a way to
make little stars shine! Its a great experience for
the tribe leaders too!
ESF Camps kicked the whole shebang off with a
fun Beware of Pirates Day! This helped with costume creation
and gave the kids a taste for the play they would be performing.
Argg, me hearties! A grand time was had
Parade to Promote Your Summer Play
Enter a Float in the Local
Independence Day Parade
Take a tip from Maumelle Youth Theater
(Maubelle AR)! The creative folks at this theatre for kids came
up with a fun and effective way to promote their July performance of
ISLAND: YOUNG PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN!
Have your kids design, build and enter their
show-themed float in the local 4th of July Parade. This gets
young creative juices flowing, costumes built early and gives
everyone a shot of confidence! What a fun way to show the whole
town how great your upcoming show is going to be!
gets young creative juices flowing!"
Maumelle Youth Theatre won first
place for their Treasure Island float.
Check out more about TREASURE
ISLAND for kids
Maubelles parade float won BEST OVERALL
PARADE FLOAT on the 4th of July! They won a huge trophy and
$200! Every little pirate was excited about getting
started on rehearsals and looking forward to getting their pirate on!
What better way to make performance ship loads of fun? Arggg!
Directing Tips Page 3: <
Prev | 1
| 2 | 3
| Next >