Jun 23, 2012

Teaching Youth Drama

Nursing the flu the past few days. I hate the flu. It has been particularly taxing, this time, since I have been teaching youth drama camps for the past two weeks. I work for an after-school drama outfit called Junior Players. Good organization run by some fine people. Pay's fair. In the summer time JP sends theatre artists out to teach drama games and such - activities that have to do with teamwork, call-and-response, listening, problem-solving, creativity - to large groups of kids at Recreation centers and libraries. At the end of the two week summer camps the kids have to put on a performance of some sort. Over the years as I have continued to work with youth, I've developed a sort of system for devising these performances in a quick and fun manner.
Young actors* working on the script "The Water Princesses" complete with construction-paper costume pieces. 
* I blurred their faces, 'cause... well... they aren't my kids.

1. Introduce the elements of a story... protagonist, antagonist, objectives, obstacles. We discuss different stories and movies they've seen to draw examples.

2. Get their ideas. After the concepts are introduced I take suggestions from everyone in the class "Who would be a protagonist in your story?" Then we narrow down the choice by rounds of voting.

3. I write the play. I use the ingredients they came up with and make it into a little four or five page stage play with parts (and lines) for everyone.

I have posted two of the most recent plays of this sort on my Scribd account. If you are curious, you can read the 5 page epics by clicking the links below.

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