Open Forum

Advocating for teaching space

  • 1.  Advocating for teaching space

    Posted 05-30-2019 21:43
    Edited by Kristin Hall 06-03-2019 09:09
    Hello hive mind,

    I am in the position of needing to advocate for an appropriate teaching space for my middle school drama classes at one of my schools.

    Without saying too much about my situation (don't want to sway anyone's response), what would you say are the three most important requirements for a middle school drama class teaching space?

    I will definitely not have a room that is dedicated for drama's exclusive use, as I am not at this school for enough of the day to warrant that. And I'm not talking about equipment, or anything like that - just the room/space itself.  Also not talking shows/performances, just class for 5th through 8th graders.

    Thanks in advance for any and all responses,

    (I have my own answer, I just want to see if I am in the majority opinion, or off base.)

    Kristin Hall
    Drama Director
    Lincoln Public Schools
    Lincoln MA

  • 2.  RE: Advocating for teaching space

    Posted 05-30-2019 23:36
    Two things come to mind for me. The first is having an open playing space. The amount of space you need is really dependent on how many students are in the class, but the room should be large enough for all students to be physically engaged in drama activities at the same time. And open space is important; if the room contains furniture, it should either be out of the way or easy to move. (A classroom filled with desks, that needed to be moved for every class, would present a challenge, in my opinion.)

    It's also important to have an enclosed teaching space. Acting can be very vulnerable, and students should feel safe taking risks without feeling like they are being watched/overheard by people outside of the classroom. So if multiple groups are using the space at the same time, if there are people passing through, or if the room is otherwise not enclosed/open to people outside of the class, that could present issues.

    Good luck!

    Elizabeth Berg
    Drama Teacher
    Ashland Public Schools -- Ashland Middle School

  • 3.  RE: Advocating for teaching space

    Posted 05-31-2019 02:04
    My answer is identical to Elizabeth's.

    Laura Steenson
    Theatre Director
    Reynolds High School
    Troutdale OR

  • 4.  RE: Advocating for teaching space

    Posted 05-31-2019 11:19
    I agree with Elizabeth!  A large open space with room for all of your students to be active and engaged at the same time is ideal. As Elizabeth said it needs to be a closed space.  Young actors who have developed trust with one another in an ensemble/class will shut down if they are constantly under the eye of someone or someones who are not part of the accepted group.  Locks on doors are important.  You might want to have some 2X2X2 cubes to use as chairs tables etc in the student's work.  Elizabeth was bang on!



    Mack Dugger
    Glendale CA

  • 5.  RE: Advocating for teaching space

    Posted 05-31-2019 12:51
    I agree with Elizabeth's thoughts and I like the add of rehearsal blocks (cubes) for versatility of exercises etc... Other things I cannot live without is consistency of space and a projection screen to show clips of performance as examples related to the exercises we will be working with.

    What I mean by consistency of space is that I use the stage area in my school, but often it has to be shared with other student groups for events. So one thing that is super hard is my students being displaced frequently. Showing up and having to report to another building based on what's available etc. It can really mess with our designated time together. So if you can lobby for a place where those sorts of variables are not in play, I would. Because of the need for open space, personally I'd rather be in a gym type of setting or a cafeteria off hours than a classroom... But that may be just me...

    Best wishes!

    Colleen Mylott
    Lafayette CO

  • 6.  RE: Advocating for teaching space

    Posted 06-06-2019 10:23
    I would also think about storage within the space, an easy access closet or space where you can store small everyday props, stools, a table or two... some generic set pieces to recreate in scene work. I am also split between two schools and have no dedicated space, but get easy access to the stage when needed.  I have found that usable storage space that is quickly accessable for theater "stuff" is an absolute necessity.

    Quincy DelColletti
    Anderson SC