FREE RESOURCES: Directing Tips [ Page 7 ]
Ideas & suggestions for producing a creative, fun school play
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This page (Page #7) has creative ideas for directing a fun, successful play or musical.  Check out these examples used in ArtReach popular titles: Princess and the Pea, The Sword in the Stone.  Don’t forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and contain many other ideas and inspirations!

Director Shares Thoughts Before & After: ArtReach's Princess and the Pea

In an exciting development for theater enthusiasts, The GCS Theater Department has announced that they are beginning rehearsals for their upcoming production, ArtReach's The Princess and the Pea by Kathryn Schultz Miller. The show, set to take place in the South Campus gymnasium, promises to showcase talented students and dedicated staff.

"The show showcases talented students and dedicated staff."
Princess and the Pea Play for kids ArtReach's Play for Kids to Perform Students in Middle School
James A. Garfield Middle School (OH) - ArtReach's The Princess and the Pea

The play, which has been chosen for its wit and appeal to younger audiences, will feature a cast of students from 6th through 12th grade. The school's drama department has been hard at work preparing all aspects of a play, from sets to costumes to character development.

Director Aleta Jones, a member of the school's staff with several years of experience in theater, expressed her excitement about starting rehearsals. "We have an incredibly talented group of students dedicated to bringing this production to life," she said. "I am confident that this will be a showcase of their hard work and talent."

During rehearsals, the cast will work on honing their skills in preparation for the play. During the next few weeks, they will spend countless hours studying the script, practicing their lines, and working with the director to perfect their performances.

In addition to the cast, the crew is equally dedicated to making this production a success. From the lighting technicians to the stagehands, everyone is working tirelessly to ensure their performance is flawless.

As the rehearsals progress, the excitement among the cast and crew is palpable. The production promises to be a must-see for anyone interested in the arts, and the school is eagerly anticipating opening night.  Tickets for the production will be available to the public on March 19th and can be purchased at

"A cast of students from 6th through 12th grade."
Middle Schoolers love Princess and the Pea Fairy Tale Play for Large Cast of Kids
James A. Garfield Middle School (OH) - ArtReach's The Princess and the Pea

Director's Note, Dear Audience,

I am thrilled to be directing this production of ArtReach's "The Princess and the Pea" for our GCS community. This adaptation is a fun take on the classic fairy tale, and I am confident that we have brought it to life with passion, creativity, and a lot of fun.

Our talented cast and crew have worked tirelessly to bring this story to you. They have put in countless hours of rehearsal, and their dedication and commitment to their craft is genuinely inspiring. I have been blown away by their talent, creativity, and enthusiasm, and I am so proud of everything they have accomplished.

As you watch this play, I hope it will be an unforgettable experience, and I hope you will feel the same joy and pride that I do when I see these students shine on stage.

Thank you for joining us and enjoy the show!

"This adaptation is a fun take on the classic fairy tale."
High School Kids Perform Princess and the Pea
James A. Garfield Middle School (OH) - ArtReach's The Princess and the Pea

Historical Note:  "The Princess and the Pea" is a popular fairy tale that originated in Denmark in the mid-19th century. It was written by Hans Christian Andersen and first published in 1835. Andersen's tale became popular throughout Europe and eventually worldwide, inspiring numerous adaptations in literature, theater, and film. The story's enduring appeal lies in its themes of true love, perseverance, and the power of a seemingly insignificant event to have a profound impact. "The Princess and the Pea" remains a beloved classic that continues to captivate audiences of all ages.

Christian School logo Large Cast Play Poster Young Performers Princess and the Pea Garfield School logo
Gilead Christian School (OH) & James A. Garfield Middle School (OH)

From The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Study Guide for ArtReach's Sword in the Stone

What's the Story?

There is magic all around. At least, that's what the magician Merlin believes, even though his country is in the midst of a terrible war. As the play begins, Merlin devises a way to save his beloved England, that is, as long as everything goes according to his plan for a baby named Arthur.

Several years later, Arthur is a young man, helping his older brother Kai prepare to become a knight by practicing his swordsmanship. Even though Arthur is younger than Kai, he is also bigger and better at just about everything. Kai's not so fond of getting beat up on by his younger brother, so he decides to throw in the towel for the day and head off for swim and then a nap. Arthur, however, has other plans. He wants to keep practicing.

"Magic is in - the earth, wind, water and fire."
Young Arthur learns Arthur battles the dragon
Mount Hood Community College, Gersham OR - ArtReach's Sword in the Stone

As Arthur practices, Merlin appears and tells Arthur that he is a magician. Arthur wants to see some tricks, but Merlin insists that magic isn't quite like he might have imagined. Magic doesn't involve pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but instead is found in everything around us-the earth, wind, water and fire. Arthur is skeptical, but Merlin proves his point in his very first lesson. The young squire will first learn about the wind, as Merlin turns them both into birds and they take to the sky.

As they fly, Arthur is amazed to see the kingdom from so high above. They fly over the forest and his father's land, and then they fly over what appears to be a large group of men. Arthur thinks it looks beautiful, but as they get closer, he realizes that it is a war. Merlin explains that, like many of nature's creatures, men believe that the strongest should rule. However, the strongest are not always the best rulers.

For Merlin's next lesson, the two become fish in a moat outside Arthur's family castle. As Merlin is teaching Arthur how to swim and how to avoid the moat's biggest predator, the pike named Spike, they realize that Arthur's brother Kai has accidentally been transformed as well. The fishy Kai doesn't want to listen and swims too close to danger. Merlin takes the opportunity to teach another lesson, and he leaves the young squire to find a way out of the situation. Arthur uses cunning and bravery to save himself and his brother from Spike, learning that it isn't just strength that a ruler needs, but also intellect.

"Will he be able to get the sword in time?"
Arthur saves brother Kai Merlin in Camelot
Mount Hood Community College, Gersham OR - ArtReach's Sword in the Stone

After their adventure, the two boys return home and find a stranger, the princess Guenever. She has arrived because her father has arranged for her to marry Kai, but that is certainly not what she wants to do. Arthur tries to comfort the young lady, and in doing so, seems to gain a new admirer. Merlin appears with yet another lesson, this time about fire. He teaches Arthur that fire isn't only found in the breath of dragons, but also in the heart of a man in love.

Kai soon arrives with some bad news-he has been called to battle. Arthur must fulfill his duty as Kai's squire and assist his brother in preparing to depart. He helps Kai get into his armor and gather his supplies, but wait-Kai's sword is missing! Desperate to find his brother a sword before he leaves, Arthur comes upon a sword lodged in a stone.  Will he be able to get the sword in time?

Words to the Wise

A villain has evil plots and motives and is the bad guy of a story. Merlin provides Arthur with Excalibur, a legendary sword that only a king can carry. When Arthur pretends to be a knight, he celebrates great triumphs, or great victories and achievements.

"Valor is great courage in the face of danger."
Merlin the Magician Creative Play script for kids
Mount Hood Community College, Gersham OR - ArtReach's Sword in the Stone

Kai needs to learn to joust, a sport in which men attempt to knock each other off their horses using long wooden weapons called lances. Someday Kai will become a knight, a job for men who serve the king as brave soldiers.   Arthur believes his destiny is to become a squire, an attendant or helper to a knight. You might shout "Confound it!" if something didn't go your way, sort of like "Darn it!"

In Arthur's time, a hermit was a person who lived all alone, totally separated from everyone else. Chivalry is a knight's code of conduct and includes qualities like honor, courage, courtesy and readiness to help those in need.   Valor is great courage in the face of danger. A knight is gallant if he shows chivalry, and is brave, grand and heroic.

Something that is majestic shows great beauty and dignity. If something occurs miraculously, then it happened almost by magic as if supernatural powers are involved. Virtues are morally good and desirable qualities.   To proffer is another way to say to offer something. Kai thinks turning into a fish is absurd, or a crazy, wild and unreasonable thing to do. If something is ghastly, it is awful, frightening and terrible.

Sir Ector's castle has a moat around it, or a large ditch filled with water that is a form of protection for the people inside the castle. Spike is a pike, which is a kind of fish with a pointed snout and large teeth.  In Arthur and Guenever's time, a dowry was money or gifts that were given to a man from his bride's father.  It's not very nice to call someone an imbecile, which is like calling them dumb or stupid.

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