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What Is Classroom Theater?
by Bruce Lansky

Introduction

By Classroom Theater we mean a special, scripted version of a story that is easy for a group of students to read dramatically. In creating these Classroom Theater scripts, our main objectives have been to pick entertaining stories and to convey those stories in a form that is enjoyable both for the readers-who need no costumes, props, or staging-and for the audience.

The Scripts

Our scripts are based on stories from Girls to the Rescue, a popular series of books featuring clever, courageous girls; Newfangled Fairy Tales, a popular series of books featuring fairy tales with humorous twists; Troop 13 Mysteries: The Mystery of the Haunted Caves, a novel about mystery-solving scouts; and Long Shot, a novel about a girls' basketball team. The scripts run about ten to twenty minutes and contain every word in the stories.

In the book, dialogue looks like this:

"Off with their heads!" shouted the angry king.
"You may cut my toenails if you like, but keep your royal hands off my delicate neck," retorted the brave prisoner.

In the Classroom Theater script, dialogue would be presented like this:

King: Off with their heads!
Narrator: shouted the angry king.
Prisoner: You may cut my toenails if you like, but keep your royal hands off my delicate neck.
Narrator: retorted the brave prisoner.

As you can see, the Classroom Theater version is a lot easier to perform than the book version is. Not only is it easy to read, the audience will also find it very easy to understand. Everyone will know which character is speaking because the narrator explains the story and reminds the audience of who is speaking.

Students who can read at a third-grade level should be able to handle most of the parts with little practice or preparation. You may want to choose your best reader(s) to be narrator or you may want to take the role yourself.

Classroom Theater is a reading rather than a theatrical performance. We've left out staging, costume, setting, and prop suggestions. You can make the experience more elaborate if your class is up to the challenge. If your students decide to rehearse to the point where they are highly convincing, you might want to eliminate some or all of the narrator's lines. If your students want to make it a big production, have them brainstorm ideas for props, costumes, staging, and sets.

Permission

No special permission is needed to stage these plays in your classroom. If you want to stage one of these plays outside an individual classroom (such as for a schoolwide production), please contact us so special permission can be granted.

Lesson Plans

In addition to the Classroom Theater scripts, we've also created lesson plans for these stories. Feel free to use these scripts in conjunction with the lesson plans.

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Click on a book cover for more information or to buy the book.
  The Best of Girls To The Rescue

Newfangled Fairy Tales

Young Marian's Adventures in Sherwood Forest  
  Girls To The Rescue Book #2 Girls To The Rescue Book #3 Long Shot  
    Playing For Pride