Director's Corner with Jon Jory

News of canceled productions and uprooted programs is heartbreaking for all of us. We've been challenged to change the way we live and create, and with little notice.

Stage Partners Education Director Maria McConville is here with tips for theatre educators looking to embrace online learning.

Distance Learning: Ideas and Resources for Your Drama Classroom

We come together to make theatre and It. Is. Glorious.

Since our ability to congregate has taken a pause while we overcome the current health crisis, many educators across the globe must devise tactics for teaching via the internet. How can we inspire our young artists to keep working that creative muscle? How can we teach theatre over the web and on the fly?

Here are some quick ideas from Stage Partners as we try to figure out Distance Learning together.

#1. Read new plays together (for free!)

You and your students can read every Stage Partners play in its entirety online for free.

There are a wide variety of assignments and guiding questions you can offer your students. Have them submit a written response or even have a group chat. Here are some writing prompts and discussion ideas.

  • Select your favorite character and write a character analysis.
  • Design the set for Act 1.
  • Discuss the underlying themes of the play and why they are worthy of discussion.

#2. Playwriting Exercises

Take a look at these free lessons/writing exercises and adapt them for at-home activities.

Have your students write their own scenes. Read The Day the Internet Died and have them use it as inspiration to create their own scenes and add them into the play for a possible production at another time.

#3. Monologues

This is valuable time that students can work on building their monologue repertoire.

  • Check out our new monologue book The Audition: Monologues with Direction by Jon Jory. Each monologue is written by Mr. Jory and has direction for the student to follow included.
  • Download and use free monologues— all from Stage Partners plays. (Bonus: Have them read the whole play and discuss the context.)
  • If your community has the ability, have students film and submit a video of them performing the monologue.

#4. Student Drama Diary

Each day, students can write a brief entry.

Here are some topic questions you can offer:

  • What character would you want to play one day?
  • What type of production is your favorite? Musical? Classical Theatre? Comedy?
  • What do you love about auditions?/What do you hate about auditions?

We are all looking forward to when we come out on the other side of this. What we do with this time and how we navigate our young people through it is vital. Keep in touch with one another!

Have more ideas?

We invite you to comment on the Stage Partners Facebook page and share what is working in your on-line classroom. Or connect with us on Twitter @stage_partners!

Need additional resources? Just let us know. We’ll do this, together.

Maria McConville has been a NYC Public School teaching artist since 2005. In the past she has worked with the Theatre Development Fund, LeAP! Onstage, and Periwinkle Theater for Youth, and as a Shakespeare and Playwriting teaching artist with Theatre For A New Audience.  Her students have performed and adapted the work of Shakespeare, written their own plays, devised ensemble performance pieces, sang and danced in musical productions, and performed their peers work on a Broadway stage. Growing up in New York, Maria attended LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts for Drama, and recently adjudicated the auditions for incoming students. Maria is also a playwright; her published plays include "#Censored" and "#Viral" (Stage Partners) and "To Date or Not to Date" (Playscripts).

Maria McConville