Although it’s still (very, very) hot outside, fall is coming quickly – so you should be organizing your theatre lesson plans and planning your curriculum for the upcoming school year. 

Although it may seem tempting to go by the book and continue using the same techniques from years past, you’ll benefit both yourself and your students by aiming to restructure and revitalize for the fall of 2023. 

The Importance of Updating Your Lessons

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is a common phrase many believe to be true. But this belief doesn’t quite work when it comes to the ever-evolving world of theatre, and to education in general. There are a variety of reasons why you should be consistently updating your curriculum. These include:

  • Avoiding stale, problematic, or out-of-date practices – Like we said, the world of education is evolving at a rapid pace. You don’t want to be the educator that refuses to change with the times! 
  • Continuously pushing/challenging yourself and your students – Your work and your students’ skills won’t evolve if you don’t push yourselves to try new techniques. 
  • Creating learning opportunities for everyone – As an educator, you should aim to be learning alongside your students. By changing up your lessons, you will get an education, too! 
  • Utilizing new technology to stay competitive – It’s no secret that tech in theatre is getting more nuanced by the day. You will create greater future opportunities for yourself and your students if you face new technology updates head-on. 

5 Things to Consider When Updating Your Lessons

1. Focus on More Than Acting 

Acting is only one component involved in the very nuanced world of theatre. If you want to give your students a truly well-rounded education, focus on other elements of theatre, including:

  • Directing – Allow student-directing for occasion shows, or create projects where students take turns making creative decisions. 
  • Set design Not all theatre enthusiasts want to be in the spotlight. You can appeal to a broader range of students by also focusing on set design techniques and prop creation. (Ensure you have the proper safety equipment first!)
  • Costuming – Students interested in fashion will surely love to help out with this element of the theatre world. 
  • Lighting and Sound Lighting and sound are integral components to a breathtaking show, so make sure you’re harping on the importance of these elements and teaching your students how to perform on the back end of the show.

2. Remember: It’s All About Inclusion 

As you’re revamping your lesson plans for the fall, remember that focusing on diversity and inclusion is never a step in the wrong direction. Inclusion in the theatre can look like a lot of different things, including:

  • Choosing productions that showcase marginalized communities or tackle topics important to cultural conversations today 
  • Hiring or pairing up with a bevy of different staff members at your school to get greater perspectives and help more students feel included 
  • Considering sensory issues for certain individuals and/or creating sensory-friendly performances 
  • Reaching out to other groups at your school or in your community who may be interested in theatre but are afraid to get involved without an introduction 
  • Curating a culture of kindness and openness in your classroom 

3. Focus On What Has Worked and What Hasn’t

As you revamp your lesson plans, look back over the last few years and analyze what shows, projects, exercises, and other creative endeavors have worked for you and your students. How can you continue to utilize those practices while bringing in a new angle?

On the flip side of the coin, if you’ve tried certain practices/shows/curriculum components before and they don’t seem to work no matter how you tweak them, there’s no shame in throwing them out and trying something new. 

4. Ask Yourself: What Talent Aren’t You Utilizing?

If you know your student pool well, analyze what talents your students have that are being underutilized with your current curriculum or lesson plans. 

For example, perhaps this year’s students are an excellent crop of dancers. Maybe you’ve got a handful of impressive altos, a big group that’s passionate about improv, or several students who want to learn more about lighting and sound design.

No matter the niche interests, ensure you’re taking your students’ interests – and talents – into account as you plan your new programming. This way, students stay engaged, and you produce great shows full of passionate kids. Win-win! 

5. Ask Yourself: What Benchmarks Do You Want to Hit?

Before making this year’s curriculum, ask yourself what goals you’d like to accomplish this year. Creating lesson plans around the specific skills you’d like to hone, shows you’d like to do, and goals you’d like to hit will make for a productive program. Make sure to be specific and bold in your benchmark creations to create a more dynamic program for everyone involved. 

Other questions to ask:

  • How can I challenge myself and my students this year? 
  • What creative goals do I want to accomplish this year?
  • How can I make my curriculum better and more appealing to more people
  • What school- or district-wide benchmarks have been set, and how can I achieve those?

Enter On The Stage 

As you plan your fall curriculum, remember that you’re not alone. On The Stage provides a variety of assets for theatre professionals from all backgrounds. If you’re interested in gaining a partner on your creative journey, book a personalized demo with On The Stage today. Additionally, download our Ultimate Guide for First-Time Drama Teachers for even more tips and tricks! 

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