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
Snow White Christmas, 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!
students carry on a holiday tradition performance
talks about directing A
Snow White Christmas with students
Dec. 12, was a great day for 32 sixth-graders and 28 fifth-graders
who go to Colo-NESCO Schools.
that day, these young students had the chance to present to their
parents, other relatives and community members the holiday play, A
Snow White Christmas.
students performed in the morning and some in the afternoon, but no
matter which performance they were in, the language arts teachers who
led the shows, Joy Lee and Vickie Wilson, said all the students were
gaining valuable learning and skills because of their participation
in the performances, which have become an annual tradition since the
2008-09 school year.
remembers the year it all began, with the production of A
Wizard of Oz, in McCallsburg, with first- and second-grade
students.Since then, I have done plays with fourth grade (up
to) sixth grade each year, she said. I love working as a
team with Mrs. Wilson. I do most of the directing and she does most
of the costuming, sets and props.
Snow White Christmas was a great play."
Schools present ArtReach's A
Snow White Christmas.
they prepared this year to take part in the production, students
started out in mid-October, giving 10 minutes of each school day to
the process. It all kicks off with Lee reading the play aloud to
them. We continue with 10 minutes (a day) while the students
read their parts aloud, Lee said.
eventually, Lee said, they move up to 20 minutes a day, as they
start to act out the play. Mrs. Wilson works on lines and
costuming with the students who arent on stage,
while I work on staging in her room, Lee said. They
finally get to a point where students work 30 minutes a day up to the
last two weeks, and then they devote one hour of class time, each
day, to get through the whole play with the kids.
things that kids are learning by being part of a production at this
age, the two teachers say, include speaking publicly, learning to
articulate, proper speaking speed, responding in an appropriate
fashion, becoming a character and listening to each other.
also teaches a lot of 21st-century skills, Lee said. They
learn to work as a team and listen to each other and be kind and
supportive. They learn they are capable of anything, and they have a
final product to be proud of.
Snow White Christmas was a great play for this year, the
teachers agreed, because it showcased many kids talents. With
two presentations, there are double and sometimes more opportunities
for main roles.
learn they are capable of anything."
Schools present ArtReach's A
Snow White Christmas.
Snow Whites were played by Jadyn Niemeyer, Kaydene Reyes, Baylee
George and Molly Angell. The evil queens were played by Cerra Muntz,
Hannah Matteson, Abbie Kettwig, Ayla Bappe, Sophia Clawson and
Britney Jacobs. The mirrors were played by Jack Angell and Kooper
Spalding, along with many other great parts for the rest of the students.
years play wouldnt have been possible without a few
special people helping in important ways. Colo-NESCO High
School art student Jordan Estes made the witchs nose, and Chevy
Dunlap, a high school woods class student, made an extra set of
steps. Mr. Crow, a third-grade teacher, is always kind enough to let
the teachers borrow his Santa suit for their productions. And along
with what is made by Wilson and collected by Lee, they have been
thankful to get costuming help from Pat Timmerman and the kids
families throughout the years.
teachers, now with this years production behind them, say they
are very proud of all their students and their hard work.
JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS THEATRE ASSOCIATION
THIS 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."
- Majestic Theatre, Corvallis OR
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.
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
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
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."
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.
to 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
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?
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 Imagination Soar!
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!
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!
to Make Summer Drama Camp Stress-Free
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!
a way to make little stars shine!"
Island: Young Pirates of the Caribbean
ESF Camps at Gilman School,
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 by all!
the 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 ArtReachs TREASURE
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!"
Theatre won first place for their Treasure Island float.
Check out more
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
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