In School Theatre Education Program
In-school programs are one of a community theatre’s best vehicles for developing the aesthetic sense of students thereby making theatre and the arts more important to new generations, and perhaps through them, their family members.
In 2005, the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association received a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council to introduce students to basic theatre. The Grove Playmakers became the pilot for this program. They set up a long-term program, using the lessons in the curriculum that was produced for the OAC grant. These lessons are primarily an “Introduction to Theatre.” They introduce all students, not just the ‘creative’ few, to theatre skills, arts, and enjoyment.
The Playmakers chose to begin with fourth grade classes. In 2007-08, they developed a basic outline for the lesson plans for 5th through 8th grade students which includes a theatre history subject, a one-act play productions that all students in that grade level attend, and a follow-up play analysis and criticsim sesson. Fifth grade receives a lesson on Greek Theatre; sixth grade gets Commedia dell’Arte; seventh grade, Realism; and eighth grade, Shakespeare’s time. They will continue to work with each 4th grade class as they go through mid-school. This means that by the time the first 4th grade class reaches the 8th grade, Playmaker volunteers will be going into all classes in five grade levels each year—4th through 8th and will be producing four productions each year for their in-school program.
If you would like to begin an in-school program, please feel free to use and adapt these lesson plans for your schools. Let us know how you adapted the curriculum and we will post your ideas on the web also.