Category Archives: youth theatre

Kamishibai Storytelling Unit– Engaging and Unique for Your Students



Are you looking for an oral communication unit for your students? Check out my Kamishibai Storytelling unit on

What are Super Hero Postcard Stories? 

What are Super Hero Postcard Stories? 

Another lesson plan is up!

Incredible: My store is Open

Incredible: My store is Open

This is amazing for me. I have been trying to get this accomplished for several years. Finally, my brain wouldn’t let go of the idea until I did it. My store is up and open on Check it out will you?
There will be MANY more products available, so keep a look out for them and follow me!

New Jig Saw Puzzle Cover

Super Heros Cover jpg


Important News: Final Friday Stage Reading Event

Important News: Final Friday Stage Reading Event









I am excited to share there will be a stage reading of Act one, scene one of Bumbling Bea, the Play at Lawrence’s Final Friday on June 30! The event will be held at Greenhouse Culture Church  in Lawrence, KS from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Copies of the book version of Bumbling Bea will be available to purchase as well. I’d love to have you attend. 😊

Here is the scene which will be performed this evening.

Announcing: Bumbling Bea The Play –Act one, Scene one

Amazon Giveaway Contest for Bumbling Bea

Amazon Giveaway Contest for Bumbling Bea

Want to win a FREE copy of Bumbling Bea? You know what to do. 

Feel free to share–

Give Away for Bumbling Bea

Give Away for Bumbling Bea

EXTENSION: Our Bumbling Bea Giveaway is running for one more week! 

Get in on the opportunity to WIN your copy of the new Bumbling Bea, 2nd edition! Click the link below to enter today!
#bumblingbea2 #secondedition #bestsellingbook

Why is the Name of My Blog Dramamommaspeaks? 

Why is the Name of My Blog Dramamommaspeaks? 

I’ve often wondered why I chose Dramamommaspeaks as my blog’s title.

It made a lot of sense to me and still does.

I teach drama.

I am the momma of two wonderful girls.

I talk about both many times in a day.

Plus, it came from my personal email address many years ago. I’m fairly right brained so anything I can do to keep my life organized always helps me.  Having some funky blog name or website name would frazzle me.

I took one of those very serious tests on Facebook.  You know the kind….and it revealed Helen should be my name.  You know what?  My MIDDLE name is Helen.  Spooky.


I was called Hogan when I was a Girl Scout about a million years ago.  We were training to be camp counselors.  I needed a name for the girls to call me other than my real name.

I remember I liked the TV series “Hogan’s Heroes”.  Why, I haven’t the foggiest idea.  You know how sometimes you remember the strangest things, but can’t remember what you ate for dinner last night?  This is one of those.

I chose my name as I made my bed,  while I was listening to the “Hogan’s Heroes” theme song playing on the TV.  Gosh, isn’t that exciting to know?


In college my nickname was Coonrad.  Some people even called me Coonie. People liked the nickname so much I was given a raccoon stuff animal in honor of it.

My maiden name is Conard.  It’s German and our ancestor’s names were Kundr.  My understanding is that when my family came to America, the name was changed to make it easier to say and spell.  There aren’t a lot of Conards in the country.  We are NOT Conrads. Ugh.

My students call me Momma B., Mrs. B. and Mother Baldwin.  It depends upon where I am and with whom I am working.  Some students desire the intimacy a nickname gives a teacher, so it’s fine with me.


I taught the last group of students for six years straight.  Some of them loved theatre so much they took every class I taught progressing through each grade level.  Those are the most beloved students of mine.

Even their parents call me Mrs. B.!  That’s when I know I’ve made an impact on a student’s life.

It doesn’t always occur that a teacher is fortunate to teach a student over many years, but I taught in an unusual public school program for home schooled students.  We saw them once a week for one or two hours for the entire school year.

That isn’t a lot of time, but when you think about how much a child develops over nine months, it is marvelous to observe and be a small part of their lives.


Most of my good friends call me Deb or Debbie.  I call myself Deborah Baldwin when I speak as an author to separate the author image from the teacher/director image.

Some times people call me Deborah when they are feigning that I am guilty of something.  When you stretch out the De-bor-ah, it has a nice lilt to it.  They usually sing it like a doorbell ringing, “Oh, De-bor-ah!”

My family called me DB when I was a child.  My oldest brother teased me with stressing the second syllable of the word, so it was “DeBORah.”  His name was Kent. There isn’t a lot you can do with his name to torment him and he knew it.  Argh.

Names are so important.  I’ve taught kids with names that made absolutely no sense and those poor kids knew it.  One student was named after a tree in India and another was named after a type of dwelling.   You could always tell they wished they’d been named Mark or John or Allison or Sarah.  My mother warned me to select names for our daughters which they could use their entire lives. That was a good suggestion.  Their names are dignified and classic.


And now….I’m called Grammie or Grandma.  Whichever name my granddaughter gives me, I’ll accept. She’s only six months old. Maybe she won’t name me those.  Maybe it will be something like Meemaw?  I suggested  to her mother she could call me Your Royal Highness, but that didn’t seem to go over too well.  I had to give it a try, you know?

Oh well, there’s always the next grandchild…..

P.S.  The photos in this blog have nothing to do with the theme.  I mean, what do I use for names?  I especially like the cow.  You’re welcome.

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If I Won the Lottery

If I Won the Lottery

Did you hear about the seventeen year old who won the lottery and it supposedly ruined her life?  So, now she is suing her state’s lottery commission because she thinks no one her age should be allowed to buy a lottery ticket?  Give me a break.

True confession:  I’ve never purchased a lottery ticket in my life. A few times they’ve been given to me as presents, but even then I had a difficult time knowing quite what to do with it.  I know… think I’m weird.


I HATE to waste money, especially on chance.  I probably waste enough money as it is–have you ever seen my refrigerator’s vegetable bin?  Talk about a waste of money!

However, if I won the lottery I do have a few idea of the ways in which I’d spend it. I would take care of the usual things you’d expect– Pay off all debts we have left.  Set aside monies for our children and future grandchildren.

  I’m hoping we’ll get our act together in the US and make state colleges and universities tuition free.  In case that doesn’t occur, I’d gift money to our children to take care of any expenses incurred during their college life.

I’d donate to worthy causes such as not for profit organizations that are fighting unending challenges.  I think clean water and air, safe food to eat, inexpensive medications, secure neighborhoods and cities, properly equipped hospitals, police and fire departments and public libraries are essential.


Here’s the biggie, though…..

After that, I would build small community theaters across the country. I’m serious, here.  As you know, I’m keenly interested in sustaining the arts at any cost.  I think every part of the country needs one.

Think of the good a theatre can bring to a community…not only for entertainment’s sake, but a place to explore social issues through the written word. Many our current problems could be discussed through a stage play.  Maybe we would get something ironed out and resolved.

Of course, these theaters would need equipment such as sound, lights, props, set pieces, costumes, box office and publicity.  I’d give each theatre an endowment so they could learn how to budget the money in a wise manner. Occasionally, I’d review the company and award money as I saw fit.

Children dancing

The youth theatre programs would need some help (for scholarships and materials). I’d love to see throngs of kids involved in a youth theatre program after school rather than walking around town bored.

I promise you, if a kids gets involved in a theatre program, they’ll love it and never be bored. They’ll find their place within its walls.  Not everyone wants to be a performer.  Maybe a student would become interested in lighting design? Maybe the kids who participate in an after school theatre program visit children in hospitals?


Let’s not forget programs for our seniors (transportation to the performances), too.  Many senior citizens are looking for experiences and hobbies to occupy their time.  A community theatre with a strong program for seniors would be such help to them.

Creativity and imagination don’t atrophy or age.  I know of a group of “vintage players” who travel to area care centers and perform for the residents.  I think the performers get just as much of a thrill out of performing as the residents do of the performance.  It’s a win-win.


Yes, if I won the lottery I’d save the world through theatre.  What a kick in the pants it would be?

What would you do if you won the lottery?

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Kabuki Theatre for Girls

Kabuki Theatre for Girls



Kabuki Theatre for Girls?

Readers ask me why I created a story which included Kabuki theatre.

When I was sixteen years old, my parents and I traveled to Japan for a vacation.  My grandparents were missionaries in Japan prior to WWII and my mother wanted to visit the country again.  She hadn’t visited her birthplace since attending college in the US in the early 1940’s.

Mr. Tannabe (yes, I used his name in the book to honor him) served as a tour guide showing us around Japan. Mr. Tannabe owed his faith in Christ to my grandfather who baptized him in the ocean.  He felt indebted to my family because of this. He wined and dined us and showered us with many gifts.  Nearing the end of the trip,  Mr. Tannabe treated us to seats at the National Kabuki Theatre in Tokyo to attend a play.

Mr. Tannabe knew I loved theatre.  I will be forever grateful to him for this experience, because the impetus for Bumbling Bea came from this performance. I was struck by its pageantry, spectacle, story, movement and style.  Then I found out that women originally portrayed all the characters.










You are kidding me, right?  Why aren’t women performing Kabuki Theatre today?

Here’s a quick history lesson for you:

It’s possible Kabuki Theatre was first created by a woman named  Okuni of Izumo in the 1590’s (around the time of Shakespeare). She was thought to be an iron worker’s daughter in service to a shrine of Izumo.

From   An Outline Drama of Japanese Theatre written in 1928 (I’m paraphrasing here) the supposed Okuni may have been on a tour seeking contributions for the shrine.
Okuni’s dance was one of worship in praise of a Shinto god.   Her dance met with such welcome in Kyoto that she remained, to be identified with a new dramatic movement rising from the midst of the common people. Okuni was beautiful and graceful which appealed to the people regardless of the religious reasons.

Now, the plot thickens….

A young man was sent by his parents to become trained as a priest. He saw Okuni dance and admired her beauty and poise. He came from a military family and wasn’t interested in the priesthood, but more focused on social aspects.  He found her dances too restricting.  Over time, he convinced Okuni to adapt her dance movements to the music of the day (some of which he wrote). Later, this form became known as Kabuki–the art of song and dance.

More time goes by…

Okuni becomes the Beyoncé of the time. Her dances were quite sensual.

She was invited at least once to perform for the royalty of Japan.   As in many circumstances in the entertainment business,  imitators sprang up.  Both women and men were performing some form of Kabuki. These were men who were otherwise unemployed or women of ill repute (prostitutes) and considered lower class citizens. Plus, those sexy dances, you know?  Kabuki gained a poor reputation.

More time goes by….

Well gosh.  Now, the women weren’t allowed on the stage (you know, because they are females and acting all sexy like).  There were lots of young unemployed men willing to take their places. The stories involved male and female characters, so the men took up playing the female characters as well.

To this day, men portray both the female and male roles in Kabuki Theatre.

There is lots more to the history of Kabuki Theatre, but this gives you a very quick story explaining why a woman from the Midwest would craft such a story.

Kabuki Theatre has a style all its own.

I think one of most unusual aspects of it is a character could be passed from one generation of actors to the next.  Sort of like your grandfather was a Kabuki actor who played John Smith.  Then, your dad becomes a Kabuki actor and he inherits your grandfather’s role of John Smith PLUS whatever celebrated movement your grandfather created in the part.

Now it’s your turn.  Not only are you portraying the role your grandfather and father portrayed, you are sharing your family’s legacy.

Except you are a girl named Michiko.  You want to honor your grandfather, and in your case, your uncle. But heck.  You are a girl and the only family member interested or willing to train in the Kabuki Theatre.

That’s Michiko’s challenge and it was mine, too.

After attending only one Kabuki Theatre performance when I was a sixteen year old,  forty-four years later, I give you Bumbling Bea.


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Top Seven Reasons Drama Education is Important to Your Student, Part 2

Top Seven Reasons Drama Education is Important to Your Student, Part 2

This is a two part series.  Click here for part one:

Drama Class:

Teaches creative problem solving—In the best-selling book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink writes,”In short, we have progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we’re progressing yet again—to a society of creators and empathizers, or pattern recognizers and meaning makers.”directing-oklahoma

Oklahoma! First read thru–Presser Performing Arts Center  July 2009

When a group of students tackle any problem and solve it together using their imaginations to project an outcome and then produce it, they are incredibly valuable. I have the honor to work with some of my students for nearly six years.

They are very adept at creative problem solving. Recently, my co-teacher and I charged our musical theatre students with the task of creating of the wall, dying trees and flowers with their bodies in our production of the musical, Secret Garden.

Without discussing it very much, the students twisted and contorted themselves to make the atmosphere we intended.  We complimented them and they beamed with pride.

Through creative problem solving, we stretch the boundaries of what can’t be done to what can be. Voila!  Besides, creative problem solving makes one happy.

Lastly, drama is just plain fun!  Teachers know that humor helps students learn more efficiently.  We are joyful when we are relaxed.  When we are relaxed, we are more likely to learn. Through studying drama and performing, we laugh, poke fun at ourselves and develop a kind of camaraderie with one another that is rarely experienced anywhere else.

We create a strong bond that isn’t easily splintered.  Some of my best friends have come from working on a production together.  My play production experiences are the some of the greatest memories I have of my life.

Several years ago, a professional actor and director-friend of mine remarked that, “Theatre is history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, music, dance, art all wrapped into one.”  He’s right.   It makes us more human by “playing” at being a human. Where else can you find that?


Check out part one here:

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