When choosing a show for a class or school production, the first thought that teachers usually have is about practical aspects. There are many important things to consider. Is it the right length? Are there enough roles to go? Will royalties be within our budget? Will the administration approve it? Is this a show that our students will enjoy? While these things are essential to consider, it is important for teachers to choose which shows they are passionate about. Why? Read more!
Choose a show that annoys you when you talk about it.
You have to choose a show that you really like and that you are excited about. You’ll hear the lines or songs over and over again in the next two months. You need a show with compelling characters, a message that you believe in, interesting technical challenges or something else that stimulates you to start the process. Yes, your students must like the show, but there are a lot of shows. If you think you will get bored or annoyed during the trial or feel “just fine” about the show, keep looking. Don’t settle for less.
Your emotion will generate enthusiasm for others.
If you are excited to explain the plot of your principal and other teachers, or expose the virtues of the show to your friends or family outside of school, or share with your students all the reasons why this particular show is amazing, that’s a good thing. Your enthusiasm will generate enthusiasm as well buy with others. It’s a draining effect: your enthusiasm makes students happy to participate, what makes their parents happy, what makes the administration happy, which (hopefully) allows you to have more shows in the future.
The story catches you and you have to tell it.
Why are you passionate about this show? It should have a captivating story that you feel is important to share with the audience. The story can be meaningful or educational. It could raise awareness of current social issues or important historical events. Or it could be a show that is simply FUN. These are all reasons to direct the show, because you know that it will involve your students, the audience and you.
This is an artistic activity for you.
Directing a show is not a simple undertaking. This may sound selfish, but you will dedicate a lot of your time, energy and creativity to this project. It is important to be artistically fulfilled, creatively challenged (but not overwhelmed) and satisfied with the final product. Yes, the process is important and it probably will challenge. We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously or be inflexible, but your time and effort are valuable and you deserve to enjoy the process and the product as much as your students.
Theater people have a fabulous library of plays for middle school, high school and classroom study. We can help you find the perfect song that you will be totally passionate about and that your students will love too.
Top tips for directing your first show
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage fighter from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.
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