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1.  Technical Theatre

Posted Aug 12, 2014 2:19 PM
We have really kicked up our technical theatre program at our school.  I had a 100 kids who wanted to be involved and only half were put into classes.

I need some help with hands on activities that really help them learn.  I am not strong in this area.

Does anyone have any activity on like organizing and redesigning the shops?

Troy Taylor
Theatre Director
Gardendale AL

2.  RE: Technical Theatre

Posted Aug 14, 2014 8:06 AM

In regard to your shop and potential projects, I had students create storage units (road boxes) as well as places to organize and hang mic and lighting cables.

As I have recommended to others over the years, teach your equipment first. Construction projects may not be practical if students don't know how to use power tools safely and efficiently. Also, make sure you document their competency. Likewise, you will need to be certain that you can document your own competencies as well.

Best Wishes,


Dana Taylor
MSD of Mt. Vernon
Evansville IN

3.  RE: Technical Theatre

Posted Aug 15, 2014 11:55 AM
Hey Troy,

My favorite "beginning" construction project is to have each student make ½ of a sawhorse according to explicit instructions.  I include a cut list, drawings, and all of the advice I can give.  

I have a 2 ½ hour class so it's usually a 2 day project, you can scale it out to however you like.

After each student, or student team finishes one half of the sawhorse including painting (this is really good for your more arty students), I randomly pull names from a hat and tell them to attach their 2 halves together.  I let my students choose the "best" completed sawhorse and that pair gets a small prize.  At the end of the year I have them dis-assemble the horses (give me back the hardware, hinges etc...) and take the frames home or in the trash, their choice.


James Auld
Technical Director
Las Virgenes Unified School District
Agoura Hills CA

4.  RE: Technical Theatre

Posted Aug 15, 2014 4:59 PM
For lighting - hang a simple light plot and have groups of 3 or 4 students create a lighting design (require a minimum amount of cues) to a piece of (school appropriate!) music. ------------------------------------------- Elizabeth Rand High School Theatre Consultant Rand Consulting and Design Woodinville WA -------------------------------------------

5.  RE: Technical Theatre

Posted Aug 15, 2014 4:59 PM
Have them build and hang pegboards - great storage space savers! ------------------------------------------- Elizabeth Rand High School Theatre Consultant Rand Consulting and Design Woodinville WA -------------------------------------------

6.  RE: Technical Theatre

Posted Aug 15, 2014 9:14 PM
We split up our semester for Beginning Technical Theater into two halves-- first, paper and arts sorts of projects and secondly, construction and scene painting work on a life size set.

For the first half of the semester, some of my favorite projects include:
1) a scale paper model of a box set in 1/4 inch.  We use manila file folders for our card stock and the students have to draw out their floor plans and elevations-- then cut and fold those as needed to create a paper model.  I think it is Richard Rose's book that has a nice elevation of You Can't Take it with You that we often use as an early paper model, so students have an idea of the process.  We usually, watch Arsenic and Old Lace or Noises Off and then work up our designs from that.  I have the students present their designs to the class following their work with a committee of other "designers" in lighting, sound, costuming and direction.  Usually, we have second or third year students step into these roles for the presentations.  I then display the models in our trophy case for a few weeks.

2) Secondly, we follow a similar process for costume design where I use the old school techniques of tracing over a template with transfer or graphite paper onto water color paper and then painting, and inking.  The students mount these onto black foam core and use fabric swatches from our scraps box.  We do some research of the period we are working from as well.  Again, we participate in a designer's round table at the end of the project.

3) Another really fun project to do is to make garbage bag and duct tape costumes.  Use them in some skits as you like, too.  

Hope that helps, let me know if you need more specifics.

Michael Johnson
Trinity NC

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