By Valerie

5 Theater Habits that are Science Conventions

“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.” – Stephen Hawking Theater is a structured, project-based activity that requires a unifying vision, creativity and a passion for truth.  There are many ways in which youth theater activities support scientific conventions and 21st Century precepts. 1- Questioning The theater …

Continue Reading »

5 Theater Habits that Support ELA Standards

Theater is a Language experience that is academically linked to Literature and Humanities studies. There are many ways that youth theater activities support CCSS reading habits and 21st Century precepts. 1- Interaction Between Readers The theater experience challenges participants to be accountable for a written work, particularly the text and stage directions that pertain to his …

Continue Reading »

Theater Made Me One of the Smart Kids

Growing up, I was confident in my work ethic, but never considered myself an especially smart or extraordinary student.  I have always taken pride in the notion that what I lack in natural ability I make up for in passion, diligence and resourcefulness.  In the absence of what I consider to be extraordinary talent or …

Continue Reading »

The Do’s and Don’ts of Not Getting the Part

After weeks of watching your child agonize and prepare for that audition, the news finally comes in.  And it’s not good.  Your child did NOT get the part.  There are tears.  There is upset.  There is drama everywhere, though not the kind you were hoping for.  You feel powerless.  Your natural instinct is to try …

Continue Reading »

Actor Resources – Character Analysis

Enjoy this Character Analysis Worksheet designed for Kids Grades 4-6 In my experience directing as many as 111 young actors, I have learned that it is nearly impossible for one adult (and even two adults) to keep every student fully engaged 100% of the time.  I often found myself having to come up with relevant …

Continue Reading »

Classroom Resources

Play recommendation: “Down and Out” by John Patrick Shanley Length 10 min or less Characters 3-5 Age recommendation 9+ “Down and Out” is a short one act by John Patrick Shanley. His play, which is three pages long in my script from Dramatists Play Service, Inc., is part of a compilation by Shanley called “Welcome …

Continue Reading »

Parenting Your Creative Child Within

I’m a parent, a business owner and a wife. That’s how I would characterize myself if I was pressed to identify who I am in relation to that which places demands on me every day. But occasionally I’m also a singer, director, actor, theater teacher, dancer, party planner and, if I really thought about it, …

Continue Reading »

And GO!

5 reasons theater games are valuable to an actor’s training. I had a friend in college, a fellow theater major, who was a strong actor but a weak memorizer. I don’t say that to be rude — he is a good person and a friend. He was entirely aware of his Achilles heal and would …

Continue Reading »

8 household items

Summer is here! School obligations have ended or have at least tapered off and, no matter where you live or how old your kids are, there will inevitably be rainy days or even late summer days when your kids (and even their neighborhood friends) will lie around your house complaining about how bored they are. …

Continue Reading »

Upstage/Downstage

Upstage/Downstage: Why? One of the first lessons that I teach young performers is how to take direction and move across stage. When I say young performers, I am typically referring to elementary school students. However, anyone who is new to the rehearsal process, regardless of age, needs to be able to recognize basic theatrical lingo …

Continue Reading »

Ten Playwrights

Ten Playwrights Every Theater Person Should Know If you are a high school student who has aspirations of obtaining a degree in theater or if you are an adult who finds him or herself newly and unwittingly drawn to theatrical pursuits, I urge you to get acquainted with the following ten playwrights. Theater, like fine …

Continue Reading »

Great Playwrights on Acting Vol. 1

Shakespeare The following noteworthy speech is from “Hamlet.”  In it, Hamlet provides acting instruction to a troop of performers who have agreed to present a play that is intended to expose Hamlet’s step-father as a murderer.  Despite the intense given circumstances, this speech offers excellent advice to  all actors.  Through the character of Hamlet, Shakespeare …

Continue Reading »

Miss Valerie’s Cure for the Monday Blues

The Monday Blues is a very real part of life in the theater whether you just appeared in your elementary school production of Cinderella or just completed a tour of Wicked. Monday Blues refers to the Monday that immediately follows the final performance (or “closing weekend”) of a show’s run. Mondays are typically “dark” days …

Continue Reading »

Directing or Micromanaging? Part I

Introduction A theater director’s job, at the very minimum, is to manage every aspect of a theatrical production. A director should be willing to and capable of collaborating with everyone participating in the project including designers, actors, engineers and stage managers. A director spends a lot of time in production meetings and even more time …

Continue Reading »

Encouraging Reading

There are many ways in which participation in theater can encourage reading. Educational standards in reading comprehension, fluency, phonics and vocabulary instruction are all reinforced when an early reader participates in a script-based (as opposed to improvisational) theatrical production. Typically, when play rehearsals begin, students are given a script and asked to work on and …

Continue Reading »

Classroom Management

We’ve all heard a lot about positive and negative attention and positive and negative reinforcement. It basically boils down to: punish the bad behavior, reward the good behavior. But punishing kids isn’t always effective and sometimes a gold star just isn’t enough. And, with the amount of high fructose corn syrup laced in everything, not …

Continue Reading »

A Few Words on Pantomime

I like to start all my classes by teaching a little something about Pantomime. Pantomime is, quite simply, acting without words. Most beginning actors will draw a connection between Pantomime and charades. This is a good place to start. In charades, just like Pantomime, we are challenged to use our bodies, gestures and facial expressions …

Continue Reading »