Theatre Workshops at Bret Harte Elementary

Bret Harte Elementary School | Funded Spring 2017

Through a 5-week residency with Dramamaniacs, all students in grades K-5 at Bret Harte Elementary were able to learn through theatre training. Each week, they spent time “working on their speaking and presentation skills, as well as their understanding of narratives and scenes. [They also] spent time practicing how to control their voices, their bodies, and to directly communicate with the audience.” The theatre techniques learned directly impacted students’ work on presentations, group work, and in their ability to communicate their thoughts.

When discussing the impact of program, Bret Harte Curriculum Specialist, Matt Gilpin, stated:

“Beyond learning and practicing communication, students spent time crafting narratives, scenes, or fables. Discussions of story elements such as setting, protagonist, and antagonist were held, which were immediately carried back to the classroom. Students learned to create short scenes with a beginning, middle, and end. This was especially challenging during improvised scenes. The quick thinking needed for a successful improvised scene is imperative to classroom discussions when student responses and reactions drive the conversation. Additionally, we had 5 fifth grade hosts for this year’s Bret Harte Variety Show. Though there was a script for the act introductions, the students’ theatre practice and training was very clear. They delivered lines, knew how to address the audience, and could even improvise jokes based upon hiccups in the performance.”

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