Kamishibai Paper Performance Storytelling Unit–Engaging and Unique

Let’s talk about Kamishibai Paper Performance, shall we?  Are you looking for an engaging and unique unit for your students?  An oral communication project for your students?  Check out my Kamishibai Paper Performance Storytelling unit on teacherspayteachers.com

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kamishibai-Paper-Performance-Storytelling-3260379

The paper drama

Simply put, Kamishibai storytelling is a form of storytelling which integrates art and storytelling.

It can used with reading or an ELA, english/language arts, social studies, music  or drama class.  The subjects are endless.

Let’s say you have a reading class.  That’s an easy one.  Have your students draw picture for a particular book or chapter.  The next step is for them to tell the story.  What a great way to help your students retain the plot!

How about in social studies?  If you were studying Mexico, the students could create Kamishibai for a particular region’s folk lore (I advised one SS teacher who was teaching about Austrailia and they used Kamishibai to share Aborigine stories.)

ELA?  The students could create Kamishibai for an American tall tale.

English?  Mythology would work great with this form of storytelling.

Music?  Tell the story of the life of a famous composer.

Drama?  Use it was first intended (sorry, you’ll need to check out the actual lesson at Teacherspayteachers.com for that.)

The Kamishibai Paper Performance product is a three week unit, complete with a day by day calendar, instructions for creating kamishibai (which is a little involved if you have never tried it, but I clear those worries up right away) and suggestions for extensions.

And….it’s a bargain.

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

 

 

super hero post cards stories

What are Super Hero Postcard Stories

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

Are you looking an exercise to super charge your classroom?  Something fun but useful to teach with these weeks right before a holiday break? How about Super Hero Postcard Stories?

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. In the lesson, I  have included a copy of one my students’ stories 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. My students LOVE this exercise!

Why super heroes?  First, they are wildly popular with all ages.  Look at the ticket sales for Wonder Woman and the Black Panther.  How wonderful to focus upon females and people of color!  Think what that can do for some student.

super hero post cards stories

Plus, some times our students think we are stuffy when in fact, we are busy curtailing over enthusiasm.  It’s not that we can’t have fun, but too much fun because bedlam in a drama classroom.

The Super Hero Postcard Stories are your answer to fun and learning!

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

If you enjoy this one, please check out my store at Teacherspayteachers.com at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Dramamommaspeaks

I’m always adding new products.  My radio theatre unit is very popular, so check it out:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/RADIO-THEATRE-IN-THE-CLASSROOM-Tune-In-and-Turn-On-3319922

It is a three week unit focused on radio theatre–how to perform it, various lessons on radio theatre itself, cooperative learning and even a homework assignment.  Oh yes, I almost forgot–I included a vintage radio theatre play which I adapted for classroom use–H.S. Welle’s The Invisible Man.

Or maybe something else will help you.

Please feel to share this post with others, too!

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

 

Arts Education

Arts Education: Fostering Creativity and Innovation

I’m all about any research or editorials supporting arts education fostering creativity and innovation whether it’s in the United States or elsewhere.  I ran upon this piece on Stemeducation.news:

Read on…

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Arts education is vital to help foster creativity and innovation

By Susan Davis

I have a dream that this nation will achieve its full creative and economic potential and that Arts education will rightfully be seen as central to making this happen. It worries me that current thinking and policymaking around national innovation concentrates on increasing participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects while the teaching of the Arts (dance, drama, music, media arts and visual arts,) is rarely even on the innovation agenda.

It is not that I begrudge the attention STEM is getting, it is just that I believe if we want to be a truly innovative and creative nation we need to put the Arts, very firmly, back in the mix. We should be talking about STEAM in schools and universities with the Arts very much in the centre of it all.

There exists a popular narrative, used to drive the STEM education agenda in Australia (and elsewhere), that says there are significantly declining enrolments in the Sciences and other STEM disciplines. However I question this narrative as justification for major initiatives. I will come back to that later.

First up what are we talking about, when we talk about innovation and creativity?

Innovation and creativity

Creativity and innovation involves putting things together in new ways, it involves risk-taking, experimenting and refining, valuing the role of productive failure, it involves making and doing, and is often collaborative and co-creative. While creativity is about the capacity to putting things together in new, novel and different ways, innovation is often seen as putting them to work and out into the world so that they meet a need, want or interest.

However these capacities don’t get switched on when people hit the world of work, they need to be cultivated across the education lifespan in all subjects in as many ways as possible.

Unfortunately the nurturing of creativity and innovation often seems to be at odds with the direction of many current initiatives in education. I have concerns about mandated curriculum and standards and everyone doing the same thing, the same tests, meeting the same benchmarks. I am particularly concerned about certain subjects or areas of learning being valued as more essential or more important than others.

Why the Arts subjects are important when it comes to innovation and creativity

The focus on STEM, without similar focus being turned to the Arts and Humanities does not appear to be justified by recent research about the impact of technologies on our lives. It is hard to deny that all aspects of life and the world of work are undergoing rapid transformations, many brought about by developments in technologies across nearly all fields of endeavour. Recent research from Oxford University notes however, that while robots will assume the role of many people in many sectors, growth continues in those that rely on creative capacity and social interactions, people, services and experiences. They are not optional areas of focus for education, but essential for opening up future study and work opportunities.

The importance of valuing other areas of learning and related industry sectors is also evident when examining economic development within various industry sectors. Industry growth and projection reports identify that education itself is one of Australia’s major export industries. Other projected growth areas identified by the Reserve Bank include household and business services, food, arts and recreation.

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A Deloitte report also identifies industry sectors such as agribusiness, tourism, international education and wealth management as ones that are growth sectors for the Australian economy.

To do well in these sectors may require knowledge and skills in some or all of the STEM areas, but also relies on understanding people, design, experience and communications: the Arts subjects.

Is there really a crisis in the uptake of STEM subjects?

A review of senior secondary enrolments in several states over the past 20 years reveals that in most cases all students have to/or tend to study an English and a Math subject. When it comes to the sciences, Biology is the top or near top elective subject and while there is some drop in the percentage of Physics and Chemistry enrolments it is not perhaps as extreme as we have been lead to believe, and in fact in recent times in Queensland, for example, there has been an increase in the numbers for Chemistry enrolments.

Enrolments in sciences have not been dropping more substantially than other subjects over the last 20 years using Queensland data as an example. While percentages of total year 12 enrolments might be 5-10% lower, this has to be considered in the context of increased subject choices including vocational training courses. It is clear that the pattern of enrolment of the Arts and Humanities also shows similar decreases in percentages too. When it comes to the most dramatic drop in enrolments over the past 20 years it is actually Accounting (20% to 7%) and Economics (19% to 5%) that have seen the most dramatic declines.

Similar trends can be identified in New South Wales and Victorian data, though the strength of Chemistry seen in Queensland is not necessarily reflected in other state data.

While there is no doubt that there are still issues with enrolments in STEM by different target groups, including girls and students from low SES backgrounds, regional areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, these are not new issues. However a focus on increased enrolments in STEM per se is not likely to change that. Other strategies that focus more on pedagogy, combining STEM and arts based approaches are more likely to have impact (and have been the basis for strategies in places such as Korea).

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So what should we be doing?

It is important that capacity building in creativity and innovation be supported across the years of formal education (including early childhood, primary and secondary education) and tertiary study, including teacher education. This requires a shift beyond STEM and the ongoing focus on ‘basic skills’ in major educational drives, and to look at the cultivation of ideas and passions, calculated risk taking, how to work through failure, problem-finding and problem-solving and resolution of ideas into products and forms.

This requires an approach that recognizes that creativity and innovation can be cultivated across diverse learning and industry fields. If the current obsession with STEM is to continue, as I said previously, it should be converted to STEAM, with the Arts at its centre, at the very least, or perhaps ESTEAM to recognize the importance of Entrepreneurship as well.

Other key points

Here is my list of other key points and issues we need to tackle.

  • We need to see the arts, education and teacher education as being integral to a national innovation agenda

  • We should be specifically teaching teachers and children about innovation and creativity and to value the different knowledges and skills that can contribute to innovation

  • Include scope for more specialisations in primary education degrees, including in the arts and humanities

  • Recognise that there needs to be space for people to develop different interests, depth of knowledge and experience. Some of this can be supported through formal learning programs, but can also be supported through after school programs, partnerships and informal learning

  • Reduce the focus in educational agendas on NAPLAN and standardized test instruments and reports. We can’t mandate that everyone learns the same things in the same ways for 10 years of schooling and then expect them to do things ‘differently’. We need room for people to develop interests and expertise in diverse areas, so room for electives, special projects and enterprises.

If our governments recognize the importance of creativity and innovation for our future national prosperity (as the current parliamentary inquiry would indicate), attention must be paid to learning that promotes problem-solving and inventiveness, social innovation and entrepreneurship, and multiple forms of communication and expression. To do this effectively Australia needs to give just as much attention to the Arts as it is currently to the teaching of and participation in STEM. These areas are all fundamental to cultivating innovation for the future of our economy and our world.

Perhaps you’d like to read my own views on drama education.  Go to:  https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/08/14/top-seven-reasons-drama-education-is-important-to-your-childs-life/

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

I’d love to hear from you.

Twelve Important Questions to Ask About Your City’s Community Theatre

I have been involved in theatre for nearly forty years. I have twelve important questions to ask about your city’s community theatre.

Forty years—wow, that’s a long time.

I’ve seen fabulous theatre and some really stinky stuff, too.  Even on Broadway!

I’ve melted enduring out door theatre in the dead of summer until intermission when I could get some relief in an air conditioned rest room.

I witnessed a famous, well respected professional actor break character and fall into fits of laughter and not able to compose himself right through curtain call.

Another time I caught a dancer kicking a cape off the stage that had fallen off another dancer as he exited.

I’ve watched:

  • in horror as a friend’s period wig (1700’s) falls right off her noggin’.

  • a skirt slowly make its way down a high school girl’s behind because it didn’t get zipped,

  • a friend swallows a fly while singing

I have:

  • been bitten by mosquitoes while I sang a romantic song trying to dodge the gnats swirling in to my face

  • heard the crackling sound of beetles squished with my heel while dancing a jig

  • gained five pounds in one week (!!) from eating fruit pies (meat pies) for Sweeney Todd performing a sight gag

You name it, I’ve seen it or experienced it myself.

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Despite all of these experiences (and more), I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Theatre is a marvelous activity in which to participate, attend or support.

But how does one know the theatre is worth supporting?

Here are the twelve questions to ask of your community theatre:

1. Does the theatre company have a season?

Is the season varied, sprinkled with a comedy, drama and musical? Or do they merely produce the same sort of shows every year?  (You know, a Disney musical for the kids, a classic comedy or frightening thriller? Does the company ever produce a brand new play?)

2. Do they sponsor a special event, such as a new play contest?

3.  Does anyone else ever rent the theatre for some other activity? Do other theater companies use the venue?

4.  Do they welcome to new directors and actually hire them?

5.  Do you ever see new performers or designers working at the theatre from time to time?

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6. Do the sets and costumes look recycled?  Can you name the show a particular costume was worn in another show when you see it paraded in front of you in the present show you are seeing?

8.  Does every show poster look like others?

9.  Does the company ever try anything new or experimental?

10.  Does the company have a youth theatre program?

11.  How about any programs for seniors?

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12.  Did you leave a performance feeling exhilarated by the show?

If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding “no!”, then I’d suggest you support some other company.

Theatre people are creative people.  If the theatre never changes, it means it’s on auto pilot and frankly, I wouldn’t support it if I were you.  When you do, you are condoning their lack of creativity, their laziness.

So, there you have it–twelve questions to ask about your city’s community theatre.

Trust me, support the new community theatre company who has just opened their doors to the public.  They have more chance of doing something new and exciting than the broken record one.  They need your support.

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What have you seen or experienced in a performance or viewing it?  I’d love to hear from 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. Youth 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.

What youth theatre company have you attended?  There are many good programs in the country.  I’ve love to hear your thoughts about youth theatre.

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

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 that works with classroom assignments–a 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  create 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.

I have many rubrics through rubistar4teachers.org.  If you search my name, you should find them.  If not, contact me and I’ll help you.

In my new teaching positions, I can create rubrics right in the coursework assignments which is awesome.

Boy, has Infinite Campus changed over the years.  This software has been around for at least twenty years, I’d say.  We can do all kinds of things through it such as rosters, coursework, blog, test, attach assignments, surveys, videos and a bunch of other incredible helpers.

I still remember when we used paper gradebooks!  In my third years of teaching, my school called me one summer because I gave a student a B instead of an A as I had informed my student she would receive.

Can you imagine?  I had to go BACK to school and change the grade in the paper gradebook (which we turned in to the office, BTW…) and inform the student.

Now, we can change grades right on line with the click of the mouse!

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

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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, time, introduction, body, conclusion, bibliography, notecards, outline, peer evaluation, etc.

This lesson took the students about two weeks to prepare meeting twice a week.

Since this a commuter college, we had to make time in the computer lab for them to research while working together.  This gave me an opportunity to observe their behavior with other group members.

This rubric includes preparedness, time limit, introuduction, body, conclusion of the speech, visual aid, diction, posture, notecards, outline and bibiography.  There is room for notes from the teacher.

Now that I’ve implimented this rubric twice, I’m thinking each member of the group needs a separate rubric to be graded so that if a teacher needs to give one student a lower score on the speech, she can do so without making it public to the rest of the group.

This rubric was created for a college level class, however it is suitable for secondary level classes as well.

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

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

champagne-160867_1280

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? How about tableau in a unique way?

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)

Like Halloween? Then You’ll Enjoy This Costume Sale

Do you like Halloween like I do?  Tomorrow, it’s October! Yippee! Have you found a theater’s costume sale you can peruse?

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.”

Lots of theater companies have costume sales prior to Halloween.  Their costumes are worth the money they ask for them.  Trust me on this.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

Ten Audition Secrets From a Director

Previously, I blogged a list of ten audition secrets from a director.

You knew this subject was coming, didn’t you? It only seems natural to speak about how I make decisions about casting someone in a play.

Remember, these are only my opinions. Someone else will have a different viewpoint, obviously.
Here is my advice (and secrets) to landing the part:

1. Arrive on time for the auditions and stay until they are finished. If you arrive late or are in a rush to leave early, it implies that the production is not that important to you.

2. Dress appropriately for the audition. If you are auditioning for a musical and there are going to be dance auditions, either bring the right shoe wear or wear them. There is nothing more distracting to a director than observing someone flop around in the wrong shoes as they attempt to dance or move about the stage. And ladies, you hair needs to be swept back away from your face and controlled with a bobby pin or something.

3. Read the script prior to auditions. Now reading the script ahead of time does not guarantee you a part in the production, but most scripts are very well written (that’s why they are produced) and worth your time to read. Or at least watch a movie version of the play or musical if there is one available. My guess is some people don’t read the entire script before auditioning because they don’t want to commit their free time because if they aren’t cast, it feels like they have wasted their time. One hasn’t wasted their time. They have enriched it.

I try to be patient with people who haven’t read the script ahead of time, but secretly nothing is more frustrating than having someone say to me, “So, what’s this play about?” I don’t have the time to explain the story to them nor do I think it is my job to do so.

4. Pay attention during the auditions. If the auditions aren’t closed and you are able to observe them, watch other actors. You never know when a director might call you up to read with someone and if you pay attention you are ready to go.

Ten secrets to a great audition5. A director doesn’t need to know if you have a cold or don’t feel well, or whatever the excuse might be at the moment. So, don’tannounce your maladies–just audition confidently. A director will ask the actor to call backs if he thinks he needs to hear the actor once the cold or illness is over.

6. If you mark on your audition sheet that you will accept any role you are offered, please tell the truth. Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to cast someone and afterward they announce they won’t accept the role you gave them (since the person wanted another one instead.) Tacky! And, if the accused auditions for another one of the director’s plays, chances are the actor won’t even be considered them based on their past actions.

7. If you mark on your audition sheet that you have no conflicts, then a director expects you to have no conflicts! Avoiding informing the director of a few conflicts and spinning that you have none then coming back later with a litany of conflicts does nothing for the actor’s relationship with the director. Better to tell the truth and let the director work around the conflicts if he thinks he can do so. An actor’s behavior gets around in a theater community very quickly, so just be honest and up front.

8. Sometimes a director will put out the word that they are looking for a particular age actor for a role. It is not wise to try and make yourself up to look half your age if you aren’t really able to convince your best friend of your age change. If your friend thinks you look silly trying to be twenty-five when you are fifty-five, then believe them. Audition for a play that suits your age range.

If you are an adult, you can usually appear ten years either direction of your age. Children and teen agers are a bit different in this regard. Personally, I am more likely to cast someone who is taller and thirteen to play a sixteen year old than a short thirteen year old to play a ten year old.

9. No matter what, always finish your audition with a thank you and get the heck off the stage. An actor trying to make conversation with the director can come across as a desperate attempt for attention. If the director initiates the conversation, then I think it is safe to chat a moment with him or her. But I wouldn’t begin the conversation. Directors are usually considering many things during auditions, so it’s best not to interrupt them.

10. Be confident in your audition. If you audition with others and someone does something that is comical (and the director reacts by laughing), it does not mean you must do the same thing if you read the same part. Be yourself. Be clever and memorable, but don’t behave in such a manner that you make others feel uncomfortable by your audition. In other words, keep your clothes on, keep your mouth clean and be polite.

10. The biggest secret to auditions? Listen to what the director asks of you. I am more likely to cast someone who honestly tries to do what I ask of him (such as lowering the pitch of his voice, trying an unusual laugh or reaction), than someone who has a preconceived vision of the character and can not or will not budge from that idea. Also, I really don’t like it when an actor just imitates someone else portraying the role–either someone else at the auditions or someone they have seen portray the role in the film version, for example. Generally, if I don’t think the inflexible person can adapt themselves to my needs, then I can’t cast them. Simple as that.

So, there you go—audition secrets from a director.  I hope this helps you. I would love to answer any other questions you might have about auditions, so send them on. P.S.  If you’d like to audition for Beauty and the Beast, go here for information http://www.theatrelawrence.com/index.html

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