Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Remote Teaching Strategies for JCA: Theatre

The show must go on.

Theatre: Acting & Directing, Stage Management, Costume Design

Resource Recommendations by Tier

In order to most effectively share resources for the various Dance Performance courses, the Center for Academic Technology has broken down the Dance Performance curriculum into the following tiers:

Tier 1: Lecture Classes

TH 111, TH 112, TH 113, TH 202, TH 203, TH 208, TH 213, TH 300, TH 302, TH 314, TH 322, TH 323, TH 324, TH 370/1/2, TH 380/1/2, TH 385, TH 405, TH 410, TH 411, TH 414, TH 419, TH 426, TH 451, TH 452, TH 453 

 

Tier 1 courses include classes that are rooted in theory and are trended more towards discussion and lectures. They are less difficult to convert to a digital format.

 

Tier 2: Movement Based Classes

TH 201, TH 310, TH 430.

 

Tier 2 courses include classes that involve choreography and other largely movement based elements. 

 

Tier 3: Technique/Production Classes

TH 100, TH 123, TH 200, TH 220, TH 231, TH 232, TH 233, TH 325, TH 326, TH 330, TH 331, TH 332, TH 430, TH 350, TH 360, TH 412.

 

Tier 3 courses are made up of elements that one simply does not have at home. Most of these courses have to do with production elements.

 

Tier 4: Group Work

TH 416.

 

Tier 4 courses are classes that involve heavy group participation.

 

 

Tier 1: Lecture Classes

Tier 1 courses include classes that are rooted in theory and are trended more towards discussion and lectures. They are less difficult to convert to a digital format.

TH 111, TH 112, TH 113, TH 202, TH 203, TH 208, TH 213, TH 300, TH 302, TH 314, TH 322, TH 323, TH 324, TH 370/1/2, TH 380/1/2, TH 385, TH 405, TH 410, TH 411, TH 414, TH 419, TH 426, TH 451, TH 452, TH 453

 

Synchronous Learning

Some instructors may choose to have meetings at a consistent time each week that involve the class meeting on a digital format.

 

There are many beneficial features to synchronous learning including increased classroom engagement, and an increased opportunity to interact with your professor. In addition to these beneficial features, there are some disadvantages to practicing synchronous learning. These include a rigid schedule that is not easily adaptable for the chaotic new world students have entered into and technical difficulties can occur more easily.

 

Synchronous Streaming

Zoom: Zoom is a web-based communication technology that has the capacity to conduct video conferencing, annotate meetings, facilitate breakout rooms, and can record and download meetings. It supports both audio and video.

  • Project Y Theatre Company has taken on the task of compiling a Drive of “Zoom Plays” that can be conducted over a Zoom Call. The categories of these plays include 2 person plays, under 15 minutes in running time, over 15 minutes in running time, and monologues. 
  • Siobhan Bremer, a professional actor and Associate Professor of Theatre at the United of Minnesota, Morris,  has created a video full of helpful tips and hints to teach acting with Zoom.
  • This FaceTime Improv series shows how improv scenes can be practiced through utilizing a video-based communication service.

Hangouts: Hangouts is a unified communication system, similar to Zoom, that allows members to initiate and participate in text, voice or video chats. It can be used on both iOS and Android devices.

Teams: Microsoft Teams can be blended directly into your Canvas course and allows students to be able to meet similarly to Zoom.

 

Synchronous Engagement

Kahoot: Kahoot is a game-based learning platform that allows instructors to create games and quizzes for review that can be screenshared via Zoom or Teams synchronously, and promotes engagement. This is useful for spicing up any lecture.

PollEverywhere: PollEverywhere allows students to use their mobile phones or laptops to respond to polls synchronously or asynchronously. PollEverywhere is useful for gathering student feedback and has the potential to work well with larger class sizes.

 

Asynchronous Learning

Another way to conduct courses this semester is through asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learning is delivered via forums, videos, emails, and messages where students will complete lessons on their own, though typically with a set of weekly or daily due dates.

 

Similar to synchronous learning, asynchronous learning has both pros and cons. Synchronous learning is ideal for students who need a more flexible schedule and to avoid technical errors; however, students who lack motivation may discover that the low levels of interaction make completing work more difficult. Asynchronous learning and its success is largely dependent on the individual and their work ethic.

 

Video Recording

Panopto: Panopto is a software solution that allows the recording of audio/video content, as well as includes a web-based editor. It is useful for recording lectures that students can view on their own time, as well as for students to upload video submission of their work directly to the course.

 

Discussion Forums
Canvas: Canvas is a cloud-based learning management system that Butler adopted in Spring 2019. It has many tools that could be useful for teaching an asynchronous class. Discussion boards allow professors and students to “discuss” a lecture, offer feedback to other students, and share audio/video. Instructors can also grade Canvas discussions.
  • Ashlee Espinosa, an actor, director, and educator, offers insight into how to adapt a Canvas course to benefit theatre classes

FlipGrid: FlipGrid is a website that allows teachers to create “grids” to host video discussions. Teachers can post questions or prompts which are called “topics,” and then students can post video responses that appear in the tiled grid display. It is useful for sharing videos that could be a response to an acting prompt, and allowing students to comment on each other’s performance utilizing videos.

Tier 2: Movement Based Classes

Tier 2 courses include classes that involve choreography and other largely movement based elements. TH 201, TH 310, TH 430.

Movement

Movement is a very important part of theatre; however, many professors are scratching their heads to find ways to adapt movement to online learning. Many instructors across the country have created resources to aid in bringing these elements remotely.

  • Instructor Megan Paradis Hanley of The Syndicate has prepared a lesson plan and suggestions for how to teach Movement for Actors online.
  • Instructor Jana S Tift has compiled videos of the Alexander Technique, and a variety of other topics regarding the body of an actor and its movement and made them widely available through her Facebook Group.

 

Stage Combat

Stage combat is very difficult to adapt to an online format due to its high level of interaction with a partner, or partners; however, many instructors have found creative ways to teach this topic in isolation.

  • University of Southern California professor Edgar Landa had students filming themselves fighting themselves.
  • This video showcases how students can “fight each other” remotely.

In this video, David Wilkerson demonstrates how to fight with a rapier.

Tier 3: Technique/Production Classes

Tier 3 courses are made up of elements that one simply does not have at home. Most of these courses have to do with production elements.

TH 100, TH 123, TH 200, TH 220, TH 231, TH 232, TH 233, TH 325, TH 326, TH 330, TH 331, TH 332, TH 430, TH 350, TH 360, TH 412.

 

Despite the disappointing reality of no longer having access to resources that instructors typically would have, there are many ways to adapt production and technique classes to an online/remote format.

 

Directing

Though students may not be able to direct their own shows this year, there are many ways for students to gain a greater level of understanding of directing.

  • 5 Truths: The 5 Truths series looks at the way five different directors work with the actress playing Ophelia in the famous mad scene in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This video series was commissioned by the V&A in partnership with the National Theatre. Each video is about ten minutes and allows for students to get glimpses into the styles of five different directors.
  • Director’s Notebook: Ask students to create a director’s notebook digitally on a specific play and scene.
  • Story boarding: Have students create plans for Zoom conversations and develop stage directions by developing specific pictures for the beginning, middle, and end. Storyboards can be created through Canva, Storyboard That, and Plot

 

Lighting and Sound Design

Although your students may not have access to a lighting or sound board, there are still ways to study and apply lighting and sound principles.

  • Scenic and Lighting: Has an interactive Cue Builder that closely resembles a lighting console. It allows you to build cues and record them for timings like an actual lighting board would allow.
  • Color Lab: Is a browser-based lighting lab that allows students to examine how well colors mix on actors and on the floor from three different directions. 
  • Gobo Lab: Allows students and teachers to explore the direction and texture of lighting created by gobos.  
  • Vintage Lighting Instruments: Explores the application and components of traditional lighting instruments that form the base of contemporary lighting.
  • WICKED Lighting: Study the lighting design behind WICKED through this backstage view of the show.
  • WICKED Sound: Gain a greater understanding of sound components through this backstage view of WICKED.
  • Online Teaching Resources in Sound: Christopher Plummer has created a list of useful links that involve the teaching of sound and music elements in theatre.

 

Makeup Design

Instructors can hold a class via Zoom where they do make up with their students, or create powerpoints with step-by-step photographs of their makeup designs. Instructors could also record videos utilizing Panopto or YouTube that depict them applying makeup.

  • Smooth-On has a variety of useful tutorials on how to do makeup effects utilizing a variety of silicone face pieces.

Set Design

There is a large variety of ways instructors can incorporate set design online without actually building a physical set piece.

  • Time Travel Research Assignment: In order for students to gain an understanding of various time periods, have your students travel to various museums online and pick a room or era to research.
  • Create Your Own Theater Set: Utilize the Virtual Theater’s free 10 day trial and build a 3D Set Design directly from your device.
  • Cost & Labor: Have students create a cost and labor estimate for a production and put together a bid package.
  • Outfit the Show: Students can create lists and a ground plan of what is needed to outfit a shop given specific budget and floor plan.

Tier 4: Group Work

Tier 4 courses are classes that involve heavy group participation. TH 416.

This course is so exciting and special because it has a stress on ensemble acting. Although students may not be able to be physically altogether, the following platforms allow for real-time conference calls and recording. Though not perfect, they will allow for group communication and recording of a final performance.

Zoom: Zoom is a web-based communication technology that has the capacity to conduct video conferencing, annotate meetings, facilitate breakout rooms, and can record and download meetings. It supports both audio and video.

Teams: Microsoft Teams can be blended directly into your Canvas course and allows students to be able to meet similarly to Zoom.

Additional Theatre Resources

 

CONTACT

Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

Like us on FacebookInstagramFollow us on Twitter