Super Charge Your Classroom Warm Up Exercise

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Storytelling-Super-Hero-Post-Card-Stories-3238578

Are you looking for a FREE product to try with your classroom? Something fun but useful to teach with these weeks right before a holiday break?

Super Hero Cover 6 Ad

Simply put, this warm up exercise is loads of fun because YOU are the hero!  Students love creating the story around you.

Your materials list is easy:  a box of photographs of all kinds and a copy of a postcard story of your own or another student group from another time. I have included a copy of one my students created just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Sometimes my students dramatize their story (it’s always very short) or merely share the story with the class. When they dramatize their story, I ask them to use chanting (repeated words or phrases for an effect), a sound effect or two and some movement.  They even create a title for their story.

I’d love to hear how this exercise works for you.

If you enjoy this one, please check out my store at Teacherspayteachers.com.  I’m always adding new products.  Maybe something else will help you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

Dramamommaspeaks.com Youth Theatre

The Impact of Youth Theatre on the World

 

You know I am all about this. Theatre has saved many a child, including me. I have never known it not to impact someone’s life.

I am hoping this post will be helpful to parents.

Read this post if you’d like to know about my journey. https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/17/how-theatre-saved-m%EF%BB%BFy-life/

Those of us who work in youth theatre can give you countless reasons why your child should be involved in theatre.

Read this post from a Litpick.com article I penned for them.

https://wordpress.com/post/dramamommaspeaks.com/1943https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/09/20/top-seven-reasons-drama-education-is-important-to-your-childs-life/comment

How Theater for Young People Could Save the World

By Loren Gunderson of the Huffington Post

Theatre for Children

March 20th is World Theater for Children and Young People Day.

Some of you might be thinking, “Oh lord, why do we need a day to

celebrate actors being silly, wearing bright colors and singing obnoxiously

at squirming kiddos and bored parents?”

But if you think that’s what Theatre for Young People is,

you’re missing out on truly powerful, hilarious, bold, engaging,

surprising theater that might just save the world.

Around the world artists are creating a new stripe of

Theatre for Young People that combines the elegance of dance,

the innovation of devised theater, the freshness of new plays,

the magnetism of puppetry and the inciting energy of new

musicals.

Theatre for Youth

Kids have access to more and more mature theatrical

visions premiering from Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center

to Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre to San Francisco’s

Handful Players to Ireland to Adelaide to Kosovo to Cape

These plays range from re-imagined fairy tales and adaptations

of favorite books to brand-new plays and electric new musicals

about everything from physics to bullying to the American Civil War.

But how could theater, especially theater for young people,

really matter in a world as fraught and disparity-scattered as ours?

Not to sound overly grand (too late), but so much of the toxicity

in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy.

We don’t understand each other, and we don’t want to.

But theater invites us — no, forces us — to empathize.

As my friend Bill English of San Francisco’s SF Playhouse says,

theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up

the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding

and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves.

We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from

other people’s actions. We practice caring.

Kids need this kind of practice even more than adults do.

This is going to be their planet and they’ve got more time to apply

that empathy and make a difference. Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax

challenges us to actively and specifically teach

children (and vote for presidents with) empathy.

Why not take your child to the theater to do just that.

In fact “Take A Child to the Theatre Today” is the campaign theme

of The International Association of Theaters for Young Audiences

for the next three years.

If you take a child to the theater, not only will they practice empathy,

they might also laugh uproariously, or come home singing about science,

or want to know more about history, or tell you what happened at

school today, or spend all dinner discussing music, or learn how to

handle conflict, or start becoming future patrons of the arts.

On March 20th, take a child to the theater. Take them all the time.

And don’t “sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.” Lean forward, engage

and start changing the world for the better.

Theatre for Children– a great place to live.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

Sure Fire Formula that Works with Classroom Assignments”

speech making.jpg

If you are a teacher like me, sometimes you need a little help but don’t know

where to find it. I’m just like anyone else–occasionally, I need a sure

fire formula, a fast, time tested answer to my teaching needs.

Open the door to Rubistar.4teachers.org

Maybe this will help you…

Click here for a FREE copy. Informative Speech Rubric

speech making

This rubric includes elements such as voice, posture, eye contact, introduction, body, conclusion, bibliography, outline, notecards, self evaluation of peers, etc.

So back to Rubistars4.teachers.org…..

Rubistar4teachers.org is a website for anyone teaching who needs

a particular rubric, or grade sheet.

There are terrific templates for

just about any assignment you are grading. You can find rubrics for subjects under

the heading of oral projects, making products, multi media, science,

work skills, math, art and music just to name a few.

And you can custom one to your particular needs.

Another terrific feature:  Teachers have made their rubrics

available to you for your use, too! 

I put one together last week using the oral presentation template for

a persuasive speech for a college level Fundamentals in Speech class

I am teaching this semester.

Check back here often because I have a few other FREE rubrics for your use.  

I always appreciate when other teachers help me.  So, I’m paying it forward here.  Hope it helps!

speech making

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

drama teacher

The A-List Way to Becoming a Fabulous Teacher

champagne-160867_1280

New teachers wonder what are the secrets to becoming an A-List teacher.

Rubistar.com is a website where a teacher can create any kind

of rubric she may need. It has been great help to me over the years.

This year, I am teaching a Fundamentals of Speech class for

a community college. I realized I have several rubrics for speech presentations which might come in handy for some of you.

My students presented wedding toasts, graduation,

employee of the year (the award went to me!), anniversary celebration toasts,

and a host of other types.

I hope this helps you.

Check it out:  Group Presentation Speech Rubric – Excel

This rubric includes all the elements that one would need to look for in an exemplary speech–voice, tone, eye contact, introduction, body, conclusion, bibliography, notecards, outline, peer evaluation, etc.

Try out my rubric and do get back to me with your results.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

champagne-160867_1280

backstage of theatre

Amazing Photos: What Actors See the Audience Does Not

https://www.buzzfeed.com/lauragallant/15-photos-of-what-actors-see-when-theyre-on-stage?utm_term=.ciWqJPYW6#.faDWzre9d

I have a little story for you which complements this post.

When I was in college, my college had its own summer stock theatre.  It was built out of an old airplane hangar way up in near Okoboji, Iowa. I spent two summers there–one as an actress playing several leading roles and one as the properties mistress.  I learned lots both summers.  I’m not big on defacing property, but we were invited to leave our autograph backstage somewhere.

Fast forward thirty years and guess what?  Our youngest daughter attended the same college and performed at the same summer stock theatre.  When we went to visit her at the end of the season, she took me aside and told me shhe had a little gift for me.  We walked backstage and she showed me her autograph which she left on the wall backstage right.over. mine.

It’s a special memory between us and one I will not forget!

So when I saw this photo of backstage, I was immediately reminded of my own experiences backstage during a play.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.

 

Architectural photographer Klaus Frahm wanted to take people through the “fourth wall” that separates actors from their audience. To do this he photographed some of Germany’s most beautiful theatres from the perspective of the actors, looking out into the audit

Theaters backstage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is so cool to see the theaters from the view point of the actors.

If you haven’t visited backstage of a professional theater, you are missing out. They are fascinating architecture.

Do check it out!

The Drama Exercise to Jazz Up Your Class and Impress Your Parents

Do you need an exercise for your students and parents to participate together?

Your dramamomma has you covered!  Here’s a new lesson plan for your drama classroom using tableau as the springboard.

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to encourage your parents to be involved whenever they visit class.  This exercise is a sure fire winner.  I have used it at the beginning of the school year and also when parents visit to see a class play.

It’s a sneaky to get your parents to perform with their child.  In many ways, it helps everyone.  The students get to “play” with their parent and have their full attention, the parents are given permission to “play” as well.  Together their have a shared experience, too.

Generally, parents really enjoy this little ice breaker.  It certainly engages everyone.

The exercise takes about fifteen minutes in length.  You could also lengthen the exercise by asking two student/parent groups to work together and perform a larger memory they might have–say, seeing a baseball games (two are the players and two are the baseball fans in the bleachers, etc.)

I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

Go to:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Vacation-Tableau-3431865?aref=kayx2rtcVacation Tableau Ad (2)

Bumbling Bea

Exclusive Interview of My Main Character

http://www.tabislick.com/2017/09/bumblinginterview.html

Recently, my main character Beatrice Brace was interviewed on the Slick Writing Corner.  Thank you so much to Tabi and the Slick writing Corner.   Here is the interview:

img_1002

*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*

Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?

*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*

Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!

*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*

*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*

Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?

Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.

Tabi: And why is that?

Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.

Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?

Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight.  Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioningmy two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.

Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?

Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.

Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.

Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.

Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?

Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter egosarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.

Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?

Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.

Tabi: That’s a good kind of friends to have. And what about Peter?

Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.

*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*

Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!

*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*

Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?

Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.

Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?

Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?

Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?

Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song.  One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it.  Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time.  I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.  

Tabi: What about your favorite movie?

Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman.  She’s awesome!

Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?

*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*

Bumbling Bea: Heck no.

*The Audience laughs*

Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.

*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*

Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?

Beatrice:  I doubt it.  His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know?  I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.  

Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?

Beatrice: Yes.

Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?

Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.

Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?

Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.

Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?

Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!

*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*

Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.

*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*

Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.

Michiko: What are you doing?

Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.

Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.

*Michiko turns to Tabi*

Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?

Tabi: Why, no actually.

Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.

Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.

*Beatrice looks confused by this*

Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.

Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.

Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.

Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!

*Outro music begins*

Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll  be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586

If you’d like more information about the Slick Writing Corner, check it out here:

*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*

Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?

*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*

crowd cheering

Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!

*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*

*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*

Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?

Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.

Tabi: And why is that?

Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.

Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?

Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight.  Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioningmy two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.

Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?

Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.

Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.

Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.

Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?

Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter egosarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.

Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?

Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.

Tabi: That’s a good kind of friend to have. And what about Peter?

Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.

*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*

Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!

*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*

Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?

Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.

Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?

Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?

Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?

Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song.  One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it.  Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time.  I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.  

Tabi: What about your favorite movie?

Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman.  She’s awesome!

Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?

*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*

Bumbling Bea: Heck no.

*The Audience laughs*

Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.

*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*

Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?

Beatrice:  I doubt it.  His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know?  I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.  

Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?

Beatrice: Yes.

Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?

Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.

Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?

Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.

Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?

Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!

*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*

Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.

*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*

Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.

Michiko: What are you doing?

Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.

Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.

*Michiko turns to Tabi*

Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?

Tabi: Why, no actually.

Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.

Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.

*Beatrice looks confused by this*

Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.

Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.

Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.

Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!

*Outro music begins*

Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll  be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586

 

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Like Halloween? Then You’ll Enjoy This

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/theater/shakespeare-theater-company-costume-sale.html?emc=edit_nn_20170926&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=78695717&te=1&_r=0

Tomorrow, it’s October! Yippee! 

October is one of my most favorite months–the leaves begin to change to scarlet and gold, pumpkins are everywhere, the air is crisp. 

When our daughters were children, we had a rule: you couldn’t talk about Halloween until September 1st. No drawing pictures of what your costume should be, negotiating for some extravagant costume piece, and NO buying Halloween candy. 

Recently,  I ran on to an article in the New York Times about the Royal Shakespeare Company’s costume sale. Wow, that would have been a neat thing to see. I was in England in August and visited Stratford in Avon where the sale was held. If only I had visited a bit later…

Read on. 

Ball Gowns, Lace Ruffs and Fairy Wings: Theater History for Sale

By Holly Williams

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England — Have you ever wanted to step into the shoes of a great Shakespearean actor? Over the weekend, shoppers here in Shakespeare’s birthplace, which is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, had a chance to walk away with a piece of theatrical history, as the legendary company held a sale of 15,000 costumes and other items.

By the time the sale opened at 9 a.m. Saturday, a line snaked down the street; the first fans had arrived at 5 p.m. the previous day, camping out to secure a spot. Such patience was rewarded, and customers emerged clutching treasures, from the sublime — period ball gowns, lace ruffs, fairy wings — to the ridiculous — gold lamé lion tails and grotesque pig suits.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has the largest costume department in British theater, and it employs 30 members of staff, including experts in armor and millinery. The sale was raising money for the company’s Stitch in Time campaign, to renovate its costume workshop and to finance specialist apprenticeships. Around a third of its stock — items too worn or too specific to be reused — was on sale at bargain prices: from 50 pence, or 67 cents, for a fan to 30 pounds, or roughly $40, for a velvet cloak.

The life-span of Royal Shakespeare Company costumes, recycled across productions and for up to 100 performances, is among what makes them special, and every item has a sewn-in label identifying the actor who wore it last, and in which show. Beady-eyed rummagers could pick up Anita Dobson’s grubby underskirt from “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” or Joanna Vanderham’s silver gown from “Othello.” One happy shopper claimed to have found a dress worn by Jane Asher.

It can be bittersweet, however. “What makes this so emotional for someone like me — I put on my first R.S.C. costume in 1966 — are the name tags,” said the British actor Patrick Stewart, who fronted the Stitch in Time campaign. “I already found one item worn by a dear friend of mine, long gone.”

Indeed, among the armor, I came across a breastplate with “Tim Pigott-Smith” written on a label; the British actor died in April.

Even stars of Mr. Stewart’s caliber are not immune to feeling awe when taking on the mantle (at times literally) of acting giants. “I was once given a jacket which I did not really like,” Mr. Stewart said, adding that he had then seen from the label that it had been worn by Paul Scofield, a British actor who died in 2008.

“So of course I wore it,” he said. “Although it had to be cut down, because Paul was a much taller actor than I was, in every sense.”

Performers often highlight how vital costumes are, and by trying on a vast crinoline (used in the “Tempest”) and an absurdly heavy cloak (“Henry VIII”), I can understand why: They completely change the way you move and hold yourself.
“There were times when the costume had a significant impact on the work I would do on that character,” Mr. Stewart said, recalling the transformative effect of a luxurious pale gray three-piece suit worn for a modern-dress “Merchant of Venice” in 2011 — “which I should have stolen because it fitted me so well.”
I unearthed a kitsch, frothy wedding dress from the same production, worn by Susannah Fielding as Portia. Indeed, a whole rail of wedding dresses were available to make wedding days extra special — once they’ve had a good clean, at least.

Outside, members of the public emerged enchanted with their hauls. Jenkin Van Zyl, whose parents drove up from London so that he could fill their car, went on quite a spree: “I only wear theater costumes,” he said. “So I just came to top up, but I didn’t realize how cheap and amazing the sale was going to be. I spent £800.”
Shelley Bolderson from Cambridge, England, also wears costumes in her daily life. She said she had been delighted to find a coat made from pages of a book, created for the dancing satyrs in the 2009 production of “The Winter’s Tale.”

“I just hope it won’t dissolve in the rain,” she said.

The sale is also a godsend for amateur theater groups. Miriam Davies, from Stamford, England, is a costume designer for a company specializing in Shakespeare.
“You can’t really miss something like this,” she said. “Having R.S.C. costumes is a special thing — it’s history.”

Peter Rabbit film

Some “Hoppy” News For Peter Rabbit

http://variety.com/2017/film/news/peter-rabbit-movie-trailer-james-corden-1202565619/

Oh my, James Corden is the voice of Peter Rabbit in a new film! 

Read on…

Everyone’s favorite rambunctious rabbit finds new life as a party animal in the first trailer for the live-action/animated comedy “Peter Rabbit.”

The film stars James Corden as the the titular mischievous bunny whose feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates as they rival for the affections of the animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). The film also stars Sam Neill and features the voices of Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as his triplets Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

The trailer shows Peter and his furry friends raiding Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden and trashing his home in a wild party, then frantically dispersing when the farmer returns home unexpectedly. The critter exudes so much charm that even a fox who previously tried to eat him is a welcome party guest.

The movie is based on the character from Beatrix Potter’s children’s book series. Peter Rabbit first appeared in “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in 1902 and the series has since sold more than 150 million copies worldwide in 35 languages.

The film is directed by Will Gluck who also wrote the screenplay with Rob Lieber. Gluck’s previous directing work includes “Easy A,” “Friends With Benefits,” and the 2014 remake of “Annie.” Lieber has previously written the screenplay for “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

“Peter Rabbit” hits theaters on Feb. 9, 2018.
Staff Writer

Matt Fernandez

Staff Writer

@matt_fern

 

  

 

growth mindset

Strategic Ways to Accelerate Learning: Growth Mindset through the Arts

https://www.edutopia.org/practice/embracing-failure-building-growth-mindset-through-arts

I just love the arts, don’t you?  Did you know they teach growth mind set?   In case you don’t know what growth mindset is:

People believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work-brains and talent are just the starting point.

Amen and amen.

Here’s an article from Edutopia.com about ways to accelerate learning and growth mindset through the arts.  It’s worth a read.

teaching apple
At New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA) — a dual arts and academic curriculum — failure is taught as an important part of the journey toward success. Understanding that mistakes are indicators for areas of growth, freshmen learn to give and receive feedback. By senior year, students welcome tough, critical feedback — and even insist on it.

When Natesa, a senior at NMSA, arrived as a freshman, she had a hard time pushing herself in the areas that were difficult for her to master: choreography and getting into character.

“Now, I feel like I can channel my inner self and my inner fierceness when I need it, and even my inner beauty,” reflects Natesa. “I became more willing to take risks, and I think that taking risks is a big part of who you want to become, and who you’re choosing to be.”

Students audition to get into an NMSA program specific to their craft — dance, theater, music, or visual arts. Each day, they have their academic classes from 9AM to 2PM, and after lunch, they have their art classes until 4:45PM.

“Students have to take risks,” says Cristina Gonzalez, the former chair of NMSA’s visual arts department. “That’s something that is so unique to learning in the arts. Great art comes from risk taking, from being willing to fail. Maybe it will work. Maybe I’ll discover something about myself, something about my capacity that I wasn’t even aware of, and that’s so exciting for a student.”

If you want to help your students develop a growth mindset — the belief that they can improve their abilities through effort — helping them become more comfortable with risk-taking and modeling critical feedback through critique journals are two of NMSA’s strategies that you can adapt to your own practice.

teaching apple

Teach Your Students That It’s OK to Make Mistakes

Making mistakes, not knowing the answer — this is part of the artistic process. “You’re going to make bad paintings,” says Gonzalez. “You’re going to make bad photographs. You’re going to fumble your way through it, and in fact, that’s how you learn. You need to make those mistakes.”

The idea that you learn from your mistakes is embedded into their entire arts curriculum. Teacher, expert, and peer critiques are innate to the arts process. Immediate feedback is part of the norm. You might pause your piano student in mid-rehearsal to say, “When you get here, make sure you get a really clean pedal on the B flat, but that was great. That’s the kind of energy you want.”

In dance class, you might tell your students how they need to rotate their legs differently when taking their demi-plié in first position.

When ninth-grade theater students rehearse their Working in Silence scenes, they perform in front of their peers and faculty, receive feedback from their teachers, and then re-perform the scene to immediately incorporate their feedback.

“Getting to do the scenes a couple different times really helps because then we get to take the feedback and we get to apply it, and that is the whole learning process,” says Kara, a ninth-grade theater student. “If you fail, then you can do it again, and you could make big leaps and bounds and learn from that.”

You can connect risk taking — and helping your students build comfort around it — to their interests outside of school. Gonzalez has students in her class who enjoy skateboarding. She draws connections to risk taking by referencing their experience with trying a new trick. “

A skateboarder knows what it feels like to try a new trick, how scary it is that they actually might fall,” she says. “They could get hurt, and all their buddies are watching. We ask them to do that every day in the art studio.”

With any art form, students can fall into a pattern of doing what they’re comfortable with or what they’re good at doing without risking something new because they don’t want to make a mistake. “It’s our job as teachers to go, ‘Do that new new trick. Go to the precipice,'” explains Gonzalez.

By encouraging your students, you’re helping them to explore their craft and expand their ability — whether they execute a new technique right out of the gate or over time with feedback and practice. Either way, they see that taking risks pays off.

teaching apple
“Failure isn’t the end of the road,” explains Cindy Montoya, NMSA’s principal. “You learn from failure. It gives you more information on how to do something better. It’s fodder for success. It’s a cycle of either learning about yourself, the content, or your art form.”

Teach Your Students to Appreciate Feedback

Once your students go through the process of applying constructive feedback to improve their work — and once they create something beautiful as a result — they’ll see its value. They’ll learn to appreciate and even want feedback. “Being able to accept critique and not feel hurt by it is an important skill for us to learn,” says Serena, a 10th-grade student. “We’re taking those critiques and learning how to put them to use.”

Creating something, receiving feedback, and revising their work is a natural part of the artistic process that your students can apply toward their academic classes. “The strengths and skills that these artists come to us with are hard work and a willingness to keep trying,” says Geron Spray, an English and history teacher. “They have perseverance, they take constructive criticism well, and they build on it.”

It’s not uncommon to hear students say, “I’m not good at math,” or “I’m bad at writing essays.” An arts education helps students to see that they can improve at their craft with effort. They can become better at math.

They can become better at writing essays. “They start to see that connection between struggling through the practice, getting feedback, going in for help, and the outcome,” says Eric Crites, NMSA’s assistant principal.

“It’s just so great to watch a student go through that process of struggle, have a teacher believe in them, and then at the end, they have a result that they can be proud of,” adds Gonzalez.

Give your students journals to write down the feedback they receive from you. It’s a way for them to store immediate feedback from each day to review and apply later, and it also allows you to model giving constructive criticism. When providing feedback to your students, share both their successes and areas for improvement, and be specific.

“Feedback is fundamental to growing oneself as an artist,” says Adam McKinney, the chair of NMSA’s dance department. “I try to model what it means to provide critical feedback to my dancers.” One way that the dance department models critical feedback is through dance journals.

teaching apple
Throughout class, students write their teacher’s feedback in their dance journal. For example, says McKinney, a student might write, “‘When I’m taking my demi-plié in first position, rotate from the top of my legs so that my knees are going over my first and second toes.’

For me, that next level of cognition — to understand the feedback, realize the importance of the feedback, and then to incorporate that into their bodies — is essential as young artists.”

By giving constructive criticism to their peers, your students will learn to better appreciate receiving feedback and they’ll improve their skills to self-assess their own work. “Having young artists provide critical feedback to each other provides a deeper understanding and another layer of what it means to get better as an artist,” says McKinney. “That critical feedback is essential to improving one’s art.”

NMSA develops students’ abilities to assess their own and others’ work through showing them examples of mastery, equipping them with technical vocabulary, and providing them with opportunities to practice peer critique through fishbowl discussions, Visual Thinking Strategies, and Post-it note critiques (See Mastering Self-Assessment: Independent Learning Through the Arts).

“Our students have learned that they can receive feedback — even negative feedback,” says Crites, “make a correction, and then come up with something amazing.”

teaching apple
“We develop this idea of self-reflection very early in the department,” adds McKinney. “Why are you a dancer? Why is that important to the world? I know that the power of art saves lives. I have several young people in the department — and who have graduated — who communicate that art has saved their lives, and it certainly saved my own.”

The arts saved my life, theatre specifically.  For a post describing how it did so, go to:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/17/how-theatre-saved-m%ef%bb%bfy-life/comment-page-1/