Create a Performance Playbill

This is a short post about an activity you can do with your kids as you get ready for the show.  As many of us directors know, there are an endless number of things you can do to prepare for the performance.  IN NO WAY, am I suggesting that you need to do a lot of things to have a successful performance.  ( I typically do very few and the kids still have a blast!) However, in many cases, there are extra things that you and/or your kids will want to do. 

One of those fun and creative things is to create a brochure for the show.  Some people call this a playbill. And one such homeschool mom created a wonderful playbill for her parents during their performance of our version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Kids. As you can see from the photo, they did a wonderful job!

This is a great homework or extracurricular activity for the kids.  Someone can figure out how to lay this out on the computer, other’s get to draw for cover and back cover, and others get to print and assemble them together. It’s another hands-on learning experience.

Well, if you do this for your next play, please, let us know and send some photos!

Create a Performance Playbill was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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CONFIDENCE – Part 7 of Why Drama is so Important in School

Part 7 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – CONFIDENCE

Confidence in children can be shattered so quickly and many times we don’t even know why. But, what we do know is that confidence can be built. Confidence can have an incredibly strong foundation for the future of a child, if nurtured correctly.

The DEFINITION of confidence: A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

Let’s break that down – “self-assurance” and “one’s own abilities” – it’s about believing in yourself and your skills. The other key phrase to note here is “ARISING from one’s appreciation” – ARISING, or emerging or becoming apparent. This doesn’t JUST occur, it takes time, repetition.

That’s one of the great things that drama brings to the table – the ability to give you time to work on something until you feel confident enough to go in front of people to present it.  And only when those people appreciate what you have accomplished, whether it be your parents, director, peers, or whomever you deem important, does your confidence in your own abilities become a growing foundation for you to build on.

There’s a good reason many kids do more than one play. One of those reasons IS self-confidence and being proud of their work.

I directed a kid once, whose parents made him join one of my drama classes.  He said he wanted a small part because he was scared to go on stage and be embarrassed.  So I gave him a part with just 3 speaking lines, and a lot of opportunities to come on stage with no lines. (It was Treasure Island for Kids, pirates were always being killed on stage, and hey, kids LOVE to die on stage!)  He had so much fun with his peers, and he nailed his part and made the audience laugh. He came back to do five more of my plays over the next three years. Each time, getting a bigger and bigger part. Until yes, he got the part of Hamlet.

He quickly realized, as most seasoned actors do, “There are no small parts, just small actors”. In other words, even with no lines, his pirate “deaths” were AMAZING… and had the audience laughing every time. This laughter fueled his confidence.

There are no “small” parts just small actors – Constantin Stanislavski

This kid did not want to do drama because he was worried about what his friends would think of him. Once he realized that he could make them laugh, he came back for more. He is a very different kid today than the one who reluctantly came into my class three years ago. All, because of the continued growth in confidence he had in himself.

Having confidence in yourself and abilities to go in front of an audience, whether that is a group of peers, your class, your boss, or whoever, takes courage.

Another way to improve confidence is through improv. Practicing improvisation increases and builds confidence. As well as impromptu speaking skills which come in very handy at business meetings and social gatherings.

As we know, many adults have a fear of speaking, and the fact is it’s not the fear of speaking but rather the fear of making a fool of ones’ self in front of others, or not being believed. Much of this fear could have been curbed by doing drama when they were younger and giving them confidence in their abilities.

Drama is amazing for giving us life skills without even realizing it. These are the tools that we need to give our children so they can go on to be fabulous, independent, and confident adults.

To learn more about all the positive aspects of drama in school, please see the article: Why Drama is so Important in School

CONFIDENCE – Part 7 of Why Drama is so Important in School was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Ophelia’s Crazy Song

Did you know Ophelia actually sings a lunacy song in Hamlet?  It’s sprinkled throughout the act, but here’s the basic text. Enjoy!

Ophelia crazy 1

Crazy Ophelia – from O’my Theater’s production of my Hamlet for Kids


How should I your true love know

From another one?

By his cockle hat and staff,

And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady,

He is dead and gone,

At his head a grass-green turf,

At his heels a stone.

Ophelia crazy 2Larded all with sweet flowers,

Which bewept to the ground did not go

With true-love showers.

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,

All in the morning betime,

And I a maid at your window,

To be your Valentine.

Then up he rose, and donned his clothes,

And dupped the chamber door.

Let in the maid that out a maid

Never departed more.

By Gis and by Saint Charity,

Alack, and fie, for shame!

Young men will do ’t, if they come to ’t.

By Cock, they are to blame.

Quoth she, “Before you tumbled me,

You promised me to wed.”

He answers,

“So would I ha’ done, by yonder sun,

An thou hadst not come to my bed.”

They bore him barefaced on the bier,

Hey, non nonny, nonny, hey, nonny,

And in his grave rained many a tear.

And will he not come again?

And will he not come again?

No, no, he is dead,

Go to thy deathbed.

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,

All flaxen was his poll.

He is gone, he is gone,

And we cast away moan,

God ha’ mercy on his soul.—

Ophelia’s Crazy Song was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Why Drama is so Important in School – PART 2 – CREATIVITY

Part 2 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – CREATIVITY Sherlock Holmes once questioned what the point was of filling his brain with useless facts, in this particular case, the Earth revolving around the Sun. As he would rather fill his brain with useful facts. Although I don’t completely agree with his philosophy,…

Why Drama is so Important in School – PART 2 – CREATIVITY was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Shakespeare Festivals

Traveling soon and have kids? Well then, there is no better time to stop by a Shakespeare Festival. Family trips can be mundane and boring on the road, However, there are great ways to mix this up. You can play road games, you can stop by random bizarre sites along the way like a giant blue ox or motels made out of teepees or my favorite, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (BEST. ICE CREAM. EVER). Or you can stop somewhere fabulous for some great Shakespeare! Guess what!? In most cities you can find great Shakespeare Festivals pretty easily!

Educators always say, and I’m sure you have heard this before, the best way to understand Shakespeare is to see Shakespeare PERFORMED (and even more so, perform it yourself!). Well, across the country and around the world there are festivals literally everywhere. The coolest part are the different venues. Some are in replica Globe Theaters: (San Diego, Ashland, Utah) others are in a park, others set on a lake, and so on… beautiful venues for beautiful theater.

I have composed a list of Shakespeare Festivals to make it easy to find a show around the globe while you’re on the road!

So the next road trip you are on, I expect to see a great photo of you and your family with the Shakespeare Festival you just visited!

If you run or are part of a Shakespeare Festival and you are not listed on my Shakespeare festival page, please let me know and I will be sure to add your organization.

 

 

 

Shakespeare Festivals was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

The Merchant IN Venice!

That’s right, I said “IN”, the Merchant IN Venice! Read below from one of our guest bloggers about a rare opportunity…

Venetian ghetto 500 years ago

Venetian ghetto 500 years ago

I have always wondered how it would be to see Shakespeare’s characters in the places which the Bard himself thought for them, how it would be to see Lorenzo wooing Jessica outside a Venetian palace or Shylock claiming the “pound of flesh” that Antonio owed him. Now you have the opportunity to walk through the streets (or “calli” in the Venetian dialect) which have inspired Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice.

In the summer of 2016, the Colombari Company and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice will be part of an initiative called “Shylock Project” that aims at bringing the characters of The Merchant of Venice for the first time on a special stage, the Venetian Ghetto, the Jewish quarter in Venice. The Ghetto was the place where Jews were forced to live by the Venetian Republic and 2016 marks the quincentennial of its establishment. (That’s 500 years!) The Ghetto is also the place where we will perform The Merchant of Venice!

Furthermore, many brilliant scholars will be discussing the play in several meetings and seminars! Do not miss the chance to be part of this unique event, visit our website to have more information: www.themerchantinvenice.org

Federico Baldan

The Merchant IN Venice! was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

Mr. Potato Head for Language and learning body parts

The Skinny: Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are great open-ended activities prompting language, learning about body parts, and practicing pretend play skills.  What it is: Mr./Mrs. Potato Head  (any version)  What it’s used for: Language – teaching requesting,”more”, body parts, and colors, following directions  Ways to use it: Language: Withhold Potato Heads parts momentarily to prompt your kid to…

Mr. Potato Head for Language and learning body parts was originally published on KidConnectionZ