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7 May 2024

How to enhance Project-Based Learning in Theatre

Caitlan L Phelps

Middle School Theatre Arts Teacher

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Project-based learning in theatre (PBL) is crucial for engaging students, promoting collaboration, and fostering critical thinking. Incorporating diverse theatrical styles, from ancient Greek tragedies to avant-garde performances, offers rich opportunities for immersive learning experiences. Utilizing digital resources, such as dedicated theatre sites, enhances the impact of these projects, deepens students' understanding, and ignites their enthusiasm for theatre.

How I use Digital Theatre+ in my classroom:

I use Digital Theatre+ as a valuable pedagogical tool by providing access to a wealth of resources and information. It is a treasure trove of planning and creative inspiration for performing arts educators. It offers a curated collection of resources, including lesson plans, activity ideas, and multimedia content, tailored to different educational levels and topics. In addition, I use Digital Theatre+ weekly to spark my creativity and provide fresh perspectives for future lessons. Whether exploring new playwrights, examining productions, or incorporating digital workbooks for performance analysis, Digital Theatre+ serves as an indispensable resource for educators seeking to enrich their teaching practice and inspire their students. 

Diversity in the Theatre Classroom

Theatre’s diversity, from classical to contemporary, realism to absurdism, offers a rich landscape for exploration. For educators, the vastness of theatrical styles can be daunting. Using Digital Theatre+ as a resource is invaluable, providing a wealth of resources – articles, videos, interviews, and lesson plan and the workbooks features – turning learning into an immersive journey through dramatic history.

From classics like Wind in the Willows to Slava’s Snowshow, I chose these productions because one is a classic and the other is a great way I like to introduce my students to an age-appropriate glimpse into theatre of the absurd. 

 Personlized Learning with Digital Theatre+

Tailoring project-based learning to students' diverse interests and strengths enhances engagement. Digital Theatre+ facilitates this customization with a range of resources and activities. For historical enthusiasts, exploring the socio-cultural dynamics of Elizabethan theatre is an option, while performers can delve into method acting or devise original pieces. The platform's drop-down menu simplifies play selection based on interest, genre, courses, and themes.

Henry VI would be a great play to explore due to the historical context. This production is very accessible and would also be a great way to study a theatrical classic.

Critical thinking skills in project-based learning:

At the heart of project-based learning lies the cultivation of critical thinking skills. As students grapple with complex concepts, analyze diverse sources, and synthesize their findings into coherent narratives, they refine their ability to think critically and creatively. Digital t

Theatre+ serves as a catalyst for such cognitive processes, prompting students to interrogate the underlying themes, ideologies, and socio-political contexts embedded within different styles of theatre. Through reflective exercises, and journal entries students can deepen their understanding while honing their capacity for introspection and self-expression. The e-learning video Unlocking Community: Thinking Critically is a quick and easy way to give students access to critical thinking, provide context for their learning, and help them understand the importance of developing these skills.

Fostering Collaboration and Creativity:

Theatre, inherently collaborative, relies on actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and technicians working toward a shared vision. Similarly, project-based learning thrives on collaboration, harnessing students' talents and perspectives. Digital Theatre+’s interactive features enable collaborative endeavors, from script analysis to virtual performances. Discussion forums, multimedia presentations, and peer feedback promote constructive dialogue, fostering a vibrant community of aspiring theatremakers. Digital Theatre+ provide access to various workshops and resources for specific performances. Digital Theatre+ even has interviews with actors and directors to help students get a full picture of the creative process and what it means to work in an ensemble or company.

Encouraging e-learning in the Theatre classroom

In an increasingly digital age, harnessing the power of technology amplifies the efficacy and accessibility of project-based learning initiatives. Digital Theatre+ provides an E-learning platform that not only caters to helping students’ work, but also has the ability to transport them to theatrical spaces around the world For example, students can take a trip to the Globe Theatre or experience different types of stages from the comfort of their classroom.

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in the classroom

In theatre, every performance reflects the vast spectrum of human experiences. Project-based learning in theatre provides a stage for embracing this diversity, giving voice to marginalized perspectives. Through collaborative initiatives, students explore different styles and narratives, celebrating the richness of our shared humanity. By engaging in hands-on activities and discussions, learners gain a deeper understanding of cultural nuances and societal issues embedded in theatrical works. Digital Theatre + platform enhances this experience, offering access to a wealth of resources and opportunities for interactive learning. Together, students embark on a journey of discovery, embracing the mosaic of voices that make theatre an art form truly reflective of our world.

Curated with inclusivity in mind, Digital Theatre+'s website showcases a diverse range of theatrical traditions, from African storytelling to Japanese Noh theatre, from LGBTQ+ narratives to Indigenous performance art. By centering underrepresented stories and identities, educators empower students to challenge stereotypes, foster empathy, and advocate for social justice through their artistic endeavors.

Enriching student learning with e-learning videos

In the realm of education, project-based learning infused with theatrical exploration serves as a beacon of innovation and inspiration. By leveraging the resources and interactivity of Digital Theatre+, educators can unlock a world of possibilities that enrich students' learning journeys and inspire a passion for the stage.

Students have access to the Spotlight On series, which allows them to focus on specific aspects of each performance. They are able to acquire quick versions of productions that may be of interest to them to see if they want to explore further. By prioritizing students' ability to learn, we as educators are able to give them access to many types of resources. 

Want to access the resources mentioned in this blog? If you’re not yet a customer of Digital Theatre+, please get in touch with a member of our team today. If you already have a subscription, click here.