FREE RESOURCES: Directing Tips [ Page 6 ]
Ideas & suggestions for producing a creative, fun school play
< Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Next >

This page (Page #6) has creative ideas for directing a fun, successful play or musical.  Check out these examples used in ArtReach popular titles: The Velveteen Rabbit, The Emperor's New Clothes, Wizard of Oz.  Don’t forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and contain many other ideas and inspirations!

It's All About the Experience
It’s all about letting kids explore their imaginations

Maybe you know a kid who shies away from the experience of performing in a play because or she is afraid of the responsibility of learning lines, standing up straight and looking good before an audience.  As director you may be primarily concerned with teaching everyone where to stand, when to come in and making sure they keep their faces toward the audience.

But at ArtReach we believe that kids need a chance to perform, act out and pretend.  It’s time to use funny voices, walk like crazy people, scream and laugh and dance like nobody’s looking.   As director you feel you must keep control of your cast and be concerned with whether or not the audience can see the action.  But since these are kids, just getting their feet wet, it’s quite all right to let them test their wings – and fall – if they have to.  What if Captain Hook isn’t the best you’ve ever seen?  What if the audience isn’t exactly thrilled with the performance?

"Give them roots and wings – and confidence!"
The Velveteen Rabbit, Kids Perform The Velveteen Rabbit for Kids
Students rehearse ArtReach's The Velveteen Rabbit -- Fleetwood Community Theatre, Exton PA

What matters is the child performer has a chance to experience Captain Hook, try on the clothes, hobble on the peg leg and enjoy being something they never dreamt of.  Give them roots and wings – the confidence to try something new and a safe place to land if they don’t exactly fly.

Failure doesn’t need to be pointed out or even worried about.  It just isn’t part of the experience.  Giving kids a chance to have fun and feel free to explore something outside of the ordinary – that’s what it’s all about. 

Give yourself the freedom to value the process over product – and you’ll have the time of your life!

ArtReach's Emperors New Clothes Jazzes it Up with an Orchestra
Add creative fun with percussion instruments

Danny Da Drum, Zella Bella, Horatio Hornblower, Ting-A-Ling, Tim Whistle and Huey Kazooie.  What do these characters have in common?  They are the members of a fun and silly orchestra for ArtReach’s play THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES.

Raid the music room!  Look for kazoos, triangles, drums, chimes, tambourines, rhythm sticks, slide whistles, bells, cymbals and anything that makes noise!  Bring these to your first rehearsal and ask the kids to play with them during scenes to see if they enhance the performance.  Show your cast an example:  Peter rams his head against the castle door to open it.  Use the cymbal for the crash and then a slide whistle as Peter circles his head around, dizzy from the crash.  Ask them to think of similar sounds for other moments throughout the play such as the Empress’ entrance, Peter’s travels etc.  Set aside a little time each rehearsal session to review ideas for sounds and decide which will be included in the play.

Jazzing it up for the Emperor!
The Emperor's New Clothes Play for Kids to Perform
ArtReach's Emperor's - Campanile Center for the Arts, Minocqua WI

The script for EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES calls for the storytellers to also be the music/sound makers, but you may apply this idea to any of the ArtReach plays.  Even if storytellers don’t stay stationary at the percussion stand, they may carry small instruments in their pockets or on chains around their necks.  You can also eliminate literal props by having the orchestra make the sounds such as sawing, creaking hinges, a blacksmith’s tapping etc.

"Storytellers are also the music/sound makers!"
Emperor's New Clothes Kids Perform Emperor's New Clothes
ArtReach's Emperor's - Campanile Center for the Arts, Minocqua WI

Example: Here’s a trick I used often.  When your Prince Charming hero enters have him smile big.  Have someone "ting” a triangle at just that moment.  It seems to make your hero’s teeth glint in the sunlight.  It never fails to get a laugh and establishes your hero as a super good-guy.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW are great scripts for percussion instruments but the idea may applied to any play with narrators.

Monticello Elementary School (KY) presents ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz
It's More Than Just a Play

The community is in for a treat this Thursday (April 6th) at 6:00 p.m. if they would enjoy following the yellow brick road to Emerald City in the children's version of The Wizard of Oz. The third, fourth and fifth graders have been working on this play for months and it will be a colorful adaptation when they bring the famous story to life on the Monticello Elementary School stage.

The Monticello Elementary (KY) students will get a chance to see the production during school hours, so parents and the rest of the community are encouraged to attend the evening performance.

"Being exposed to drama is very beneficial to youngsters."
Wizard of Oz directing tips Large Cast Play Wizard of Oz
Monticello Elem KY - Forsyth Academy Performing Arts, Cumming, GA

Local teachers realize there are many educational benefits in staging a play and in adding creative drama to the school curriculum. Whether it is through the CKLA Reading program at Wayne County's elementary schools where teachers bring stories alive in their classrooms or in actual play productions like Monticello Elementary's The Wizard of Oz play to be performed this Thursday, April 6th at 6:00 p.m.

Enhancing imaginations through make believe is completely natural for children. It builds their creativity, self-esteem, and teaches them to deal with others in a cooperative manner. So, being exposed to drama is very beneficial to youngsters, according to the performance guide by ArtReach Children's Theatre Plays, which is the company that has customized the play for schools.

"Students learn to cooperate in a group activity."
Kids perform ArtReach's Wizard of Oz Lots of Kids perform in ArtReach's Play ArtReach's Wizard of Oz
Monticello Elem KY - Forsyth Academy Performing Arts, Cumming, GA

Working together for a common goal producing a play involves many different activities: memorizing lines, learning stage movement, and creating costumes, props and set pieces. Students get to experience the process of taking a project from inception to completion. By its very nature, drama is a collaborative art: students learn to cooperate in a group activity and enjoy the camaraderie of the experience.

Children also develop their ability to focus when participating in a play. By the time the play is ready, teachers notice a vast improvement in their students' ability to focus - not only on their parts, but on the other roles and the play in general.

"They rise to the occasion, create a whole new world."
Everyone is a star in ArtReach's Wizard of Oz
Monticello Elem KY - Forsyth Academy Performing Arts, Cumming, GA

The Joy of Learning is realized on the day or evening of the performance, as the audience enters and the play is about to begin. The children will sense the excitement that it's show time. They may be a bit nervous, but they know that now all their diligent work will come together in something new and special. They rise to the occasion, create a whole new world of make-believe, take their bows, and beam in the applause that tells them they did a great job. They are proud to be there, they have a sense of accomplishment, and they are joyful that they learned and performed the play.

So, with all that said, sit back and enjoy this student production Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. on the stage at Monticello Elementary! 

Directing Tips Page 6: < Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Next >
All Free Resources


Teacher Reviews