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11 October 2023

7 series to simplify theatre lesson planning and curriculum design

Alesha Tatum-Howe

Head of Theatre, Digital Theatre+


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Looking for easy ways to design impactful theatre lesson plans? To save you time, Digital Theatre+’s Head of Schools (and former theatre teacher) Alesha, has put together her pick of the top series that will simplify your theatre lesson planning and boost student engagement at the same time. 


As a former secondary theatre teacher, I understand the importance of keeping your lessons and curriculum fresh, engaging, and dynamic. In today's digital age, it's easy to get lost down the Internet rabbit hole looking for new things to engage your students and enhance their learning experience. What matters most is finding quality resources that can be quickly and easily integrated into your curriculum, are aligned with your learning outcomes, and save you time by being ready to use with little or no additional preparation.  In this blog, I'll introduce you to seven key series available on Digital Theatre+ that do just that. They'll simplify your lesson planning and help you develop a theatre curriculum that not only teaches but also inspires your students.

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 1: Are You Teaching?

The "Are You Teaching?" handbooks are an excellent starting point for lesson planning and curriculum development. They're a roadmap of resources focused on essential theatrical skills. Each guide includes a curated collection of resources, implementation tips, and a proposed sequence for scaffolding materials across classes and grade levels. Whether you're focusing on character development, stage design, or directing skills, these handbooks provide an organised framework to developing a curriculum that’s focused on teaching and learning objectives while also ensuring your students obtain a well-rounded understanding of theatre.

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 2: Class Starters

We all know that the first few minutes of class are crucial for grabbing students’ attention and setting the tone for the rest of the class period. A class starter, or bell ringer, is an excellent way to do this, but creating them from scratch can be time-consuming. To save some of your valuable time, check out our Class Starters series. These videos are made up of short, theatre-focused activities that are easily integrated into your lessons with the click of a button, and are designed to interest your students from the moment they enter your classroom. Whether it's a thought-provoking question, a quick warm up exercise, or a mini-analysis of a theatrical scene, Class Starters help kick start your class in a dynamic and productive way. 

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 3: Daily Lesson Plan

Searching for the best methods and materials to use in your classroom can make lesson planning incredibly time-consuming. Our Daily Lesson Plans series makes your job a little easier. These ready-to-use lesson plans are designed for a 50-minute class period and are specifically created to make the most of the educational materials and productions on Digital Theatre+. Lesson plans include an introduction, a warm-up, individual and group activities, and an exit ticket. Each lesson plan integrates key Digital Theatre+ resources to create a cohesive and engaging learning experience. These plans are an excellent resource for streamlining your lesson planning and curriculum preparation processes.

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 4: Spotlight On

Starting a new unit of study? Introducing a new topic to your students? Spotlight On is a quick, student-focused way to engage students and keep them interested and receptive throughout the lesson. Whether you're exploring different careers in the production team, examining different world theatre styles, introducing your students to William Shakespeare, or providing an overview of major plays and musicals, these short e-learning videos and written workbooks are great for sparking classroom discussion, research projects, or even individual student exploration. They're perfect for the opening lesson of a unit or as a backup plan on days when you're out of the classroom.

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 5: Unlocked

The Unlocked series is a treasure trove of resources aimed at strengthening your students' understanding of key texts and skills. Each video and its accompanying guides provide you with a complete unit of work which includes a variety of activities, implementation strategies, and assessments. Use Unlocked to help your students understand dramatic texts more deeply, to investigate the complexities of character development, or to reinforce essential theatre skills and techniques in both acting and technical areas. It's a versatile tool that can enhance your curriculum across multiple units of study.

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 6: How To

In the theatre, hands-on experience is vital. This approach is central to our How To series, which includes a variety of short, easy-to-follow e-learning videos featuring theatre professionals demonstrating practical activities linked to performance and production. From scale drawing, to costume design, stage combat, and improvisation, incorporating "How To" videos into your curriculum provides your students with step-by-step processes, insights, and skills they can apply in the classroom and in future careers.

Theatre Lesson Planning Series 7: Discover, Explore, Assess

The Discover, Explore, Assess series takes an in-depth look at some of the dramatic texts and musicals you may choose to study. These written materials provide ready-made resources including activities, suggestions for implementation, and assessments, all of which assist students in developing a thorough knowledge and understanding of the chosen text.  Whether you're delving into a classic play or a contemporary script, these materials will help you guide your students through the intricacies of character development, plot analysis, and thematic exploration, providing you with a complete unit of study around a specific work. 

These seven easy-to-implement series will not only save you time but also enrich your teaching, transforming your theatre classroom into an engaging and dynamic space where your students can explore, learn, and thrive in the world of theatre. And you can rest easy knowing they’ve been created by teachers and educators with your students, standards, and learning objectives in mind. With Digital Theatre+,  you have a wealth of materials at your disposal to present engaging lessons and craft a curriculum that fosters creativity, skill development, and a deep appreciation for the dramatic arts.

For those of you who do not have access, you can take a quick tour today to see the wealth of resources available to help your students (and save you a lot of time in the process!).