Back to Drama!
Drama classes, troupes, and divisional rehearsals are starting up again both online and in person. We want to make sure to provide a safe space for our students and leaders, so please use your state/city/county guidelines as a bare minimum while you design your class time. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to all the state COVID19 guidelines.
CREATE AN ENTRY PROCEDURE | Use hand sanitizer as the students enter the room, require masks, and only bring drama students into the classroom (parents/guardians/siblings remain outside the classroom).
TAKE ATTENDANCE | If someone does get sick, whether in your class or within the building, a clear list of who was present on what day will make notifying families much simpler.
WEAR MASKS | Set a clear precedent as a leader, encouraging mask-wearing both in and outside the classroom. Keep in mind that students may need more water breaks due to the extra heat that occurs from wearing a mask. Consider keeping extra masks on hand for students who forget theirs.
KEEP PARTICIPANTS 6FEET APART | Using painters tape on the floor might help as a visual guide for younger actors.
LOCATION | Consider holding your class outdoors when weather permits, otherwise, request the use of a large space in your facility with plenty of ventilation.
PROPS | Avoid the use of shared props, only using personal props as needed.
WARM UPS | Make circle-style games/exercises as wide as possible, or modify them into lines so that everyone is facing the same way so they’re not breathing/talking towards each other. Click below to see modifications for all our theater game series!
KEEP SAFE | Any programming involving children (including online programming) must in all cases comply with the all applicable policies including:Social Media and Digital Communications Policy Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children National Policy Statement Guidelines for Use of Social Media With Minors Consent Form
KEEPSAFE | As the leader, you must review, sign, and send your division a copy of The Salvation Army’s KeepSafe guidelines. One-on-one calls are not permitted between adults and minors, so you will need to have a second adult present. Try asking your Corps Officer, parent/guardian, or a Corps volunteer to be on the call – even if they keep their camera off. It’s important that we protect our minors and each other! Any programming involving children (including online programming) must in all cases comply with the all applicable policies including:Social Media and Digital Communications Policy Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children National Policy Statement Guidelines for Use of Social Media With Minors Consent Form
PLATFORM | Decide what platform will work best for you: Zoom, GoogleMeet, FaceTime, etc. All platforms work well, use whatever you are most comfortable with!
CLASS LENGTH | Determine the length of your class. We have found that 30-45 minutes works best.
SET UP | Make sure to share class links with parents and students well ahead of time. Always begin your class 5-10 minutes early to give students time to figure out how to log in and settle into their space.
MUSIC | If you’re using music, share your computer audio on zoom. The music will then come through without any distortion, however, it will make it very difficult for your students to hear your voice. If you need to be heard over the music, use a speaker separate from your computer.
COMMUNICATION | Talk with parents/guardians and set clear expectations:
- All parents must sign our KeepSafe OnlineMusic and Arts Instruction consent form (click the button above).
- Create an intentional relationship with the parents/guardians. Keep communication open so they can share any concerns that arise with their child. All attempts to share information with minors should include the parent.
- Make sure students have access to wifi and a device that will allow them to use whatever virtual platform you’ve decided on.
- If you plan to have the students record themselves, communicate this with the parent. Videos that will be shared publicly will require photo release forms signed by the parent. Be sensitive that not everyone wants their child to be included in videos. Respect any restrictions that the parent requests; we don’t always know everyone’s story.
CHECK IN | Take time at the beginning and end of every class for students to share how they are.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING CYCLE | Try something. Reflect on it together, out loud. Apply it to what you’re learning/working on.
PRE-RECORD | Consider pre-recording elements of your teaching, or share videos with students to keep the pace of the class moving.
GET UP | Move around and be as interactive as possible. This will keep your students engaged for much longer than lecture-based teaching.
BE PREPARED | It can be challenging to hold the attention of students when teaching online. The more prepared you are, the smoother things will go.
IT’S DIFFERENT | Don’t try to do what you’ve always done in your regular class. Try new ways of communicating and engaging your students. You will need to draw students out; ask them individually to answer questions, share their thoughts, and demonstrate.
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES | Expect to have issues. It’s ok. They can be resolved. Everyone understands.
CONNECT PERSONALLY | Find moments to connect with each student. Check-in with your students at the start or end of class. Pray for each other. Everyone is longing to be in community, so be intentional about finding moments to create that.
HOW TO RECORD YOURSELF | Teach your students how best to record themselves on a cellphone and have them send in their recordings.
You could explore camera angles, framing, temp, lighting (natural light from a window is always best), sound (using their headphone microphone for best quality), acting for the camera, as well as using their unique space to their best advantage.
BACK TO BASICS | Review practical technical skills before coming together in person again.
You could explore stage directions, blocking notation, objectives, beats, verbs, tempo, grounding yourself, respecting punctuation, and stage directions.
COLD READ | Take this opportunity to do script cold read-throughs, exposing students to a wide range of theater.
READERS THEATER | This style of theater is often used for Sunday morning scripture presentations. It usually requires very little movement on stage or interaction between actors. This style of script works perfectly for Zoom classes and pre-recorded presentations. Check out some reader’s theater-style scripts we have available on our free National Script Database!
SA Script Database
WRITING | Take time to explore writing for the stage.
You could explore arranging scripture for stage presentations, personal monologues, long-form plays, or scenes on a given theme. There are plenty of tools available for story creation: Story Cubes, Synapsis, Emotion wheel.
SCRIPTURE MONOLOGUE | Take a larger portion of scripture and challenge your students to commit it to memory while teaching memorization techniques. Utilize this unique one-on-one coaching opportunity. You can always find some great monologues on the National Script Database (see button above), but we’ve taken this opportunity to put a few together to get you started!
VOICE WORK | Challenge your students to some tongue twisters, diction exercises, projection challenges, Shakespeare or other classic text with a focus on voice-work.
SCENE STUDY | Spend time exploring some of your favorite scenes from plays and movies.
WARM UPS | If you’re looking for some warm up games, check out our Theater Game series and some of the modifications we’ve suggested for social distancing.Theater Games
UNIQUE SPACE | Think of this as an opportunity to utilize the unique space each student is performing in (kitchens, back yards, living rooms, etc.) This can be an asset if you think outside the box.
CAMERA ANGLES | Consider how camera angles might serve as a creative tool as a part of your piece. This is more of an opportunity than you think!
UNISON | It is almost impossible to record people speaking in unison both on Zoom and through individual at-home filming sessions. Ditch the idea of speaking together and draw from their individual strengths instead.
EDITING | If you are going to edit individual videos, iMovie and Adobe Premiere are straightforward editing platforms that allow you to layer multiple videos and sound together. Recording a group piece on Zoom might be the way to go if you don’t have access to editing software, but be prepared to do it a few times.
READERS THEATER | This style of theater can work wonderfully on Zoom. Simply hit record and all your students faces/voices will appear in the final cut – no editing required. Check out all the reader’s theater-style scripts we have available on our free National Script Database!
SA Script Database
SCRIPTURE MONOLOGUE | Challenge students to prepare a portion of scripture. Rehearsals can be conducted on zoom, but for the clearest picture and sound, have the student record their performance on their cell phone. You can always find some great monologues on the National Script Database (see button above), but we’ve taken this opportunity to put a few together to get you started!
READERS THEATER | A perk of utilizing this style of script is minimal memorization and rehearsal time required, as actors can often hold a binder/folder with their script in it. These rehearsals can be held over Zoom until the day-of, where a few run-throughs should do the trick. No blocking required. Check out all the reader’s theater-style scripts we have available on our free National Script Database!
SA Script Database
SCRIPTURE MONOLOGUE | Challenge students to prepare a portion of scripture. Rehearsals can be conducted on Zoom; a great opportunity to really focus on one student. You can always find some great monologues on the National Script Database (see button above), but we’ve taken this opportunity to put a few together to get you started! MONOLOGUES
MICROPHONES | Headsets and handhelds cannot be shared until properly disinfected. If you are using amplification, each actor has to have their own microphone. Keep in mind that whoever is setting up the tech, should not speak into the mics to test. Actors need to do their entire soundcheck themselves.
Special thanks to Evelyn Stickland RN, Erin Morgan, Olivia Renkel, Brad Cain, Joe Caddy and Bethany Farrell for your expert advice!
COVID19 Guidelines By State