Drama is a fundamental tool in developing an understanding of the ideas, attitudes, beliefs and feelings of people in different circumstances, cultures and times. As such, it is basic to the education of all children. The emphasis on developmental processes and activity-oriented methods develops powerful modes of learning that are applicable to all areas of academic curriculum. The study of drama is basic in educating the emotions for controlled use, strengthening the imagination for creative self-expression, disciplining the voice and body for purposeful use, and providing an understanding and critical appreciation for theatre arts.
The curriculum is sequential and provides for the development of knowledge and skills in increasing levels of competence. Areas of study include creative drama, acting, improvisation, scene and monologue study, audition techniques, rehearsal methods, character analysis, script analysis, theatre history, stage management, directing, technical theatre (scenery, painting, costumes, props), and musical theatre. Progress is best seen through consistent and continuing work.
It is our belief that theatre arts training is like any other form of training – the more you do it, the better you get. Just as a dancer takes class after class of ballet, or a soccer player trains year after year with a team, theatre arts training is most effective when the student is repeatedly exposed to vocabulary, theories, and exercises. At SCCT, we hope to provide a variety of creative opportunities that encourage creative thinking, expression and collaboration, develop verbal and social skills, and bolster confidence and self-esteem. In the past year, 1,400 students participated in our training classes and camps.
A Progression of Learning
A student enters classes appropriate to his/her grade level and interest (Exploration, Process or Production). For most students, one hour of class per week is plenty. They begin to understand performance, ensemble and analysis as it relates to theatre arts. As they learn and hone skills, they will be given more to do on their own. Classes are geared for fun at all grade levels, but the student will be given tasks for which s/he is responsible – memorizing a part, rehearsing a mime skit, preparing basic character work. Individual outside work makes class time more productive and fun for the whole class.
Younger students who continue to be interested in drama will continue to take beginning-level classes for about a year, and then should progress to an intermediate level class (Production) at the suggestion of the teacher. Classes should not be hurried through. Performance skills take time to develop. Sometimes theatre games are used in more than one class, but the student will be gaining skills that make the games different every time they are played. The instructor is the best judge of developmental stages, and if a student is not being challenged, the instructor will be the first to suggest a class shift. It is difficult at this level for a student to understand what s/he doesn’t know.
Students can continue at an intermediate level for several years and then move into the Intermediate Level or the Intensive Training Ensemble or can explore other drama classes (Technical Theatre, Masks & Puppets, Musical Theatre). Classes are never the same at this level as scenes and monologues as well as improvisation work are the focus.