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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Lesson Plan



Lesson Plan:

Theater Jobs and Drama Elements

Students electronically visit a Kentucky theater company and explore jobs and drama elements.
  • Length: 1 or 2 45-minute class sessions


Students learn about various elements of drama production and performance.

Resource Used:

Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre
Found On: About Drama
Video Length: 00:27:42


character, costumes, lighting, makeup, movement, performance elements, props, scenery, sound, technical elements, vocal expression

TV/VCR or DVD player, large chart pad, markers

Instructional Strategies and Activities


Listening activity (about 15 minutes): Show the first 15 minutes of the videotape Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre. (Stop when the program begins to explore the theater company’s history.) As they watch, have students individually list the jobs within the theater that are mentioned in each segment. Tell them to note one or two responsibilities of each job.

Discussion activity (about 10 minutes): Discuss the segment, recording the jobs and job responsibilities on a class chart.

Small-group activity: Divide students into groups of three or four. Using a T-chart, have each group categorize each job responsibility under Drama Production or Drama Performance. One student in each group should record the group’s decisions.

Have each group write a sentence or phrase defending each category placement, using correct terminology. (If time is limited, this last activity can be completed as homework. In this event, each student will need to make a copy of the categories the group has formed.)

Session 1 can be used as a stand-alone lesson.


Discussion (10-15 minutes): As a class, discuss the reasons students placed job responsibilities from Session 1 where they did. Develop a class composite T-chart or web.

Concluding video (about 20 minutes): Beginning at approximately 12-13 minutes into the video, view the second half of the KET video Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre. This segment will include the excerpt of a rehearsal performance from Liz’s Circus Story.

Tell students to note the performances of the actors, particularly Bussey and White. Tell them to take notes on speaking style, movement, and expression. Also have them note the use of scenery, costumes, and props in the two performance excerpts.

Group discussion (remaining time): As a class, discuss the performances in terms of how effective they are in creating mood, engaging the audience, and conveying the emotions of characters through performance and production elements. Make a class chart if you wish.

If time limits the discussion, this analysis can be assigned as a written summary.


Support • Connections • Resources

  • The program web site for the Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre ( has background information about the program and about elements of drama.
  • Horse Cave Theatre, now known as Kentucky Repertory Theatre at Horse Cave (
  • Liz Fentress and KET adapted Lizís Circus Story for television in 2003. See the program web site ( for extensive background resources and information on the stage and TV writing and production processes.


Applications Across the Curriculum

Language Arts

  • Create a drama terminology word wall.
  • Keep a list of literature students read that could be adapted into drama format.
  • Provide opportunities to create and then perform dialogue adapted from segments of short stories.
  • Include the oral reading of plays in the literacy block.


  • Explore different types of vocal expression as they relate to the distance sound waves may travel.
  • Examine the timbres (the uniqueness of a particular sound) of varying vocal expressions.


  • Draw a scale rendering of a backdrop using graph paper.
  • Design a costume to scale using graph paper.
  • Visit the Kentucky Repertory Theatre at Horse Cave web site at to obtain copies of the current year’s subscription order form. Use the information on the form to create math problems regarding ticket prices (e.g., multiplication, percentage discount).

Social Studies

  • Explore the role of storyteller (a form of drama) in Native American, West African, and early American cultures.
  • Prepare monologues from the points of view of figures from United States history.
  • Using illustrations of historic moments from texts or literature, bring a scene to life using dialogue fitting the topic of the illustration.
  • Write and perform a script drawn from the current topic of study. Be as elaborate or minimalist with scenery and costumes as time and circumstances allow.

Practical Living

  • Dramatize impromptu vignettes from the average school day, including various forms of conflict and its resolution as well as decision making.

Vocational Studies

Open Response Assessment

Prompt: The elements of a theatrical performance can be placed into two categories: technical elements and performance elements.

Directions: Identify one performance element and two technical elements of a theatrical performance. Explain how each of the elements identified contributes to the audience’s understanding of a drama.

Open Response Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
The student demonstrates extensive knowledge of the technical and performance elements of drama and their effects on the audience’s understanding of the drama. The student communicates this knowledge by completing both parts of the task correctly. The student applies the knowledge given to the audience’s view of drama using connections that show an understanding beyond simple definitions. The student demonstrates broad knowledge of the technical and performance elements of drama and their effects on the audience’s understanding of the drama. The student demonstrates this knowledge by identifying the performance and production elements correctly and by explaining them using details and examples. The student demonstrates basic knowledge of the technical and performance elements of drama and/or their effects on the audience’s understanding of the drama. The student demonstrates this knowledge by correctly listing one performance element and one production element, or two production elements and no performance elements, without explaining them. If the student attempts to explain the effects of the elements, the examples or details given are not clearly explained or are incorrect. The student demonstrates minimal knowledge of the technical and performance elements of drama and/or their effects on the audience’s understanding of the drama. The student’s response correctly identifies only one element. Explanation is vague or incorrect. Blank, no answer, or irrelevant answer.


Academic Content

Academic Expectations:

  • 1.12: Students communicate ideas and information to a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes in a variety of modes through drama.
  • 2.23: Students analyze their own and others’ artistic products and performances.
  • 2.24: Students appreciate creativity and the value of the arts and humanities.

Program of Studies:

  • Students analyze elements of drama and acting in a variety of dramatic works.

Core Content for Assessment:

  • AH-05-1.3.1: Students will analyze or explain the use of elements of drama in dramatic works (literary, technical, performance).


Debra Althus


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