Preview: Essential Theater

Bettyann Henderson, a veteran drama teacher, shares her expertise after years of running a successful theater program in a small, private-school environment. This is a K–12 plan for developing a theater program that simultaneously cultivates the rhetorical skills of a classical school and the homeschool environment. The author describes how to develop rhetorical skills early on, how to practically provide students with training and venues that create not only theater productions, but curricular and cocurricular activities in the context of relationship and community.

You will find this text incredibly helpful for starting a program, developing an existing program, organizing a single event, or working with your students on their rhetorical skills in the classroom or homeschool environment. Each chapter deals with specific aspects of working from page to stage. Included are parent-student forms and photographs, calendars, character worksheets, scheduling suggestions, and instructions for compiling the production script. The blend of brass tacks, curricular goals, and high-minded fun will delight you and your students.

The style of theater described in these pages is best applied to the intimacy of a small theater space. All of the advice applies to larger groups as well; however, our experience has proven the benefits of the smaller theater space.

Essential Theater, a wealth of resources, is organized in the following manner:

  • An overview of a theater and rhetoric curriculum for each stage of the classical trivium
  • Chapters about the practical needs of a theatrical production
  • Handouts, illustrations, examples of forms and charts
  • Recommended scripts and additional resources

Essential Theater: Illustrations and Forms (PDF)