World Theatre Day was created in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), an organization founded by UNESCO. Celebrated annually on March 27th, World Theatre Day is a perfect time to draw attention to the unique appeal, as well as the wide-ranging learning opportunities, of this art form. Find some inspiration in these ideas from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org:
Attend a show and get inspired to write.
This article from English Journal states that the goal of an educator is to help students realize they can be effective writers by giving them the ability to demonstrate their skills. Scene writing can be a great way to spotlight writing as an opportunity to express ideas.
Read a story and act it out.
This article from Language Arts looks into the world of pretend to understand how the invitation to move, to take risks, and to become the story of Jack and the Beanstalk afforded three- to five-year-old children a means to be more than their usual selves. It describes a ten-week process drama residency studied in two preschool settings: first in three classrooms in a rural Head Start school and one year later in two classrooms in an urban Reggio-inspired child development center. The focus is on the compelling effect of engaging preschoolers’ bodies in movement and pretend, particularly for three children who presented what the author chooses to call “special circumstances” and whose experiences illustrate how embodied learning occurred so prominently in the Jack and the Beanstalk residency.
Take backstage tours of schools or local theaters.
After taking a virtual tour of the Globe Theater in Elizabethan London, this lesson plan guides students to compare attending a performance at the Globe to attending a current professional production (such as a play on Broadway) or to viewing a movie at a local theater. This activity helps students better understand the Elizabethan times and Elizabethan theater audiences, as well as persuasive advertising techniques.
Incorporate theater into all content areas.
The middle school theater teacher in this article from Voices from the Middle discusses the importance of arts programs for middle schoolers and provides some concrete suggestions for adding theater to any curriculum in any discipline.
Pay tribute to a playwright.
Learn from other teachers what playwright (other than Shakespeare) has been especially effective with students.