Literature, Theatre, and Performance

Technical Theatre teacher, Robert Kallos, developed a toy theatre project to teach the skills and principles of technical theatre. This project integrated literature (through script writing), set design and craft (which taught visual, hand, and eye coordination), and performance (which encouraged skills in speech, movement, and confidence.) Student groups were asked to adapt a fairy tale or children’s book for a miniature play that would be performed before their peers as well as younger students. Giving students the responsibility of creating a three-dimensional universe of their stories through collaboration necessitated a unique interaction of the words, visuals, and the body in a process that stimulates a new way of thinking, all imagined at a scale where students can be successful. The process of going back and forth between the trio of the concepts of text, visual, and physiological enhances student engagement. The complex choices within this process emerge to be negotiated among the students and push the students to realize their imagination. The figurative theatre project supports students’ understanding of writing, that in its full context, is not simply words arranged neatly on a page but is meant to be brought to life. It allows students an opportunity to engage in script writing; something with which they may not have had as much experience, especially compared with essay writing. Script writing connects students to the traditions of literature and reconnects them to each other as fellow artists through the collaborative nature of such a genre.

Does your school do something similar?

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