1. *Note: this is a lesson plan for a high school level drama course. Lessons can be adjusted for
any desired level. Objectives would remain the same, however, time and activities would
obviously be adjusted to adapt to age and level appropriate.
DRAMA 1: THEATRE DEVELOPMENT AND PERFORMANCE
This beginning drama course introduces students to an overview of the elements and traditions
of theater. It encourages self-expression through performance. It provides a broad overview of
theater history and information on a major playwright from each period, connecting the past to
the present. Exercises using the techniques of observation, concentration, and sense/ emotional
memory allow students to explore the fundamentals of acting. Through written self-evaluation,
reflective essays, and constructive critique students engage in critical analysis. Through
improvisation, pre-production preparation, rehearsal, and performance, students develop
communication and cooperative skills. The class culminates in students’ preparing and
performing audition pieces in front of local theater professionals.
Lesson Objective - Acheiving Awareness: Self, Other and the Environment
Written Reflection on todays quote or question - 5 mins
Discussion responses/questions - 5 mins
Review agenda - 5 mins
*Part One: Voice and movement warmup - 15 mins
**Part Two: Partnered Activities - 15 mins
***Part Three: Group Activities - 15 mins (Note: Day One this will come after "Part One"!)
Self-Reflection (written, meditation, or whispered partner sharing) 5 mins
Discussion and Class-Created Notes 10 mins
Wrap-Up/Assignment Focus and Prep for Next Time 5 mins
Written Reflection:”Know thyself.” What does it mean to you to "Know Yourself"? - for five
minutes free write you reaction to this quote. you may use the following questions to guide your
thinking and writing: Why is knowing yourself important? What signs will tell you that you or
someone you know "knows themselves"? How does knowing yourself help you on or back
stage? How might it help you in life? If all else fails write a little bit about what you know about
yourself right now! "I know I am...."
Free write share out.
Make a chart - how well do you know yourself, scale of 1-10
Theater History Connection: In the Greek play, Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus, Prometheus
is cautioned by Ocean that Prometheus should "know thyself".
2. Professional Theater Application: Onstage, actors use their whole selves to embody characters
and interact with diverse elements on a stage. Backstage, theater professionals must be able to
work alone as well as with a team, often under pressure of time.
Real World Application: Self-aware individuals are able to actively care for themselves and their
immediate surroundings with less stress and greater empathy. They often find success because
they are fully aware of their options and are able to make positive decisions.
See above. Choose a SM for the day to keep us on task/time.
*Part One: Awareness of Self
Voice and Movement Warmup - 15 mins
Students will begin the process of learning a standard Voice and Movement Warm Up, an
imperative skill for actors and a healthy habit for non-actors (or as Tom Stoppard called them:
This warm up will be led by the instructor for the first week or two as we introduce multiple
elements from yoga, tai-chi and dance as well as techniques from contemporary teachers such
as Kristin Linklater and Anne Bogart. Eventually students will take these pieces, create and
activate their own Warm-Up and will know it as The Very First Thing they do upon entering
Every Voice and Movement Warmup is followed by a written self reflection documenting what
the student noticed about themselves that day. This will allow them to celebrate new discoveries
as well as notice growth from previous classes.
-"Sun Salutation" - basic yoga exercises to stretch and wake up the body
-"Tai Chi" - an alternative way to move, wake up and exercise the body.
-"Alexander Technique" - Focuses on posture and balance
-"Viewpoints" - developed in part and made famous by Anne Bogart, can be utilized in all
aspects of awareness.
-"Laban" - incorporates anatomy, kinesiology and psychology in exploring the body elements of
connectivity, effort, shape and space.
-Various vocal and breathing warmups to increase strength of breath and vocal range, including
singing and enunciation exercises
**Part Two: Awareness of Other
Partnered Activities - 15 mins
Students will practice the skill of positive interaction and dialogue. More advanced students may
play with interacting around conflict. This skill preps the beginning actor for scene work and
3. keeps experienced actors sharp. For backstage professionals and other humans, these
exercises are the backbone of current and future relating skills whether between themselves
and other students, teachers, parents and, eventually, potential coworkers and other life
-”you/me”: Do you know where you end and I begin? Let's practice with a simple activity and
discuss what it means and what happens when we forget.
-”Mirror Activity”: Are you paying attention to your partner? Are you challenged more by leading
or by following? It is important to have strength in both roles.
-”Obnosing” : A portmanteau of Observing and Noticing, Obnosing requires using your words to
explicitly say what you see. It also requires good listening skills to hear what someone else
relates. Obnosing builds trust between partners while simultaniously strengthening self-
reflecting and confidence skills.
-”Blank Scenes” - partnered scenes that utilize a context-free script. It is entirely up to the
imagination of both players to lay context on to their words. Practices skills in tone, choice,
flexibility, and is a building block to character development. The class may also engage in a
discussion of context in the Real World and how the same words can often mean many different
-”Repitition” - A mini-introduction to the Sanford Meisner Technique. Using the Blank Scene
scripts and the skills from Obnosing, students engage in step one of Meisner training, an acting
technique used to increase skill in script memorization and character development.
***Part three: Awareness of Environment :
Groups ranging from 3-5+ students will practice skills relating to awareness of multiple other
people, changing levels and environments and dealing with props. A strong foundation in self
and other awareness supports this continued exploration of skills in communicating, negotiating,
leading and following and supporting a team. Creative juices will start flowing here as
imaginations are unleashed and a rich assortment of point of views is explored. Improv will be
explored to encourage skills in flexibility, build a sense of trust in the community of the class and
relating to the idea of failure as a positive growth experience. Groups may also tackle long term
projects including play reading, performance and scene study, and mini-show management and
-For Day One (Happens right after WarmUp!): "Getting to Know You" - around the circle, finish
the sentence in one-three words, go fast! "My name is...", "I am a..." "My greatest strength is..."
"The last time I stood on a stage I..." "I'd rather be..." "I like to..." Etc.....
-Improvisational games: "Zip Zap Zop", "Automatic Story Telling", "Conducted Story Telling",
"Bus Stop", "Pause, Rewind, Fastforward" "Mirror in a circle", "One Mind", "Different Choice",
"Level Up", "Human Knot" etc....
-Discovery and exploration via instructor-led presentation of contemporary professionals
including actors, directors, teachers and managers, and class discussion of their techniques,
4. methods, similarities and differences. This initial exploration will give students the foundation to
succeed in future group activities such as:
- "Now Showing...": groups will be assigned a show and roles (Set Designer, Costume
Designer, Director, Stage Manager, Actors) and will present their plans of how it would be
mounted, including how their role would be fulfilled and what techniques they would use
when working with the team.
- "How We First Met": students will choose what "type" of group they are, what their goal is
and what conflict or obstacle that group must overcome to meet their goal. They will
develope characters, script their story and act it out for class feedback.
-"Doomed To Repeat It": An exploration of how different theater techniques - acting,
managing - change the outcome of a single script. (ie: why productions may differ wildly and
how classic scripts have stood the test of time.) A scene from a script such as Our Town,
Skin of Our Teeth or even MacBeth may be assigned to multiple groups and each group
must adhear to one single method so that we may all perceive the different outcomes.
Students will have the choice of how they want to reflect on the days activities - either by writing
in their Reflection Notebooks, by taking the five minutes of quiet, meditative contemplation to
themselves or by partnering with one other student to very quietly discuss their discoveries
This self-reflection will set the stage for choosing audition monologues and preparing them for
our final performance in front of local theater professionals.
Discussion and Class-Created Notes
Students will bring their Self-Reflection and Reflection Notebook to the class circle. Questions,
observations and comments will be collected on the board. Instructor may add notes to remind
students of what was explored during the block. Notes will be recorded in Students reflection
notebook. All this will lead to:
Wrap-Up/Assignment Focus and Prep for Next Time
What did we learn today? what do we need to be ready for next time. Round of Applause. Bows
A Sample Semester Grade Rubric:
*Daily Participation: The Three A's-Attendance, Attitude, Activity: Are you here in body, brain
*Reflection Notebook: 1)Daily Warm Up Reflection, 2)Reflection on Daily Activities (optional),
3)Class-Created Notes. Notebook will be checked at instructor discretion up to 4 times per
5. *Final Audition Performace - You "compete" against You - this performance is invaluable
experience for everyone, actor and human alike. "Talent" is subjective - your ability to comport
yourself in a mature and confident manner in front of friends and strangers is our main goal.
*Possible: A Final Reflection Paper: 3-5 pages, a well structured and thoughtful look at what you
learned, discovered and are still questioning as we conclude the semester.