director's chair

Theater Careers and Elements of Drama – Lesson Plan

Students explore jobs in the theater and how those jobs are interconnected in preparing for and presenting a dramatic production.

  • Length: 1 55-minute class session
  • Grades: 6-8


  • Students add to their understanding of the performance and technical elements of drama by observing these elements in a live context.
  • Students are introduced to the variety of careers associated with the theater.

Resource Used:

Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre
Found On: About Drama

Vocabulary, Materials, and Handouts

actor, costume, director, elements of production, lighting, makeup, props, scenery, set designer, sound, staging

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


  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Answer Key

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Instructional Strategies and Activities

Classroom arrangement:

Place students in groups of three or four. All students will take notes; collaboration in the discussion phase will help fill in gaps.

View the video:

Show only the first 15 minutes of the Electronic Field Trip to Horse Cave Theatre. As they watch, students should note the following:

  • jobs/positions mentioned or shown as part of the preparation and performance of the drama
  • reflections or insights given by the various members of the theatrical troupe regarding their preparation and responsibilities in their area of work
  • dramatic artists who assume more than one responsibility in the theater

Small-group discussion (15-20 minutes):

Each student refines the list of jobs mentioned through group consultation and writes down a brief phrase describing the responsibilities of each job.

Large-group discussion (15-20 minutes):

On a class-sized chart, record the students’ suggestions for how the jobs listed are interconnected, webbing the jobs in purpose and function.

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Applications Across the Curriculum

Vocational Studies

  • Select one of the theater occupations depicted in the program and research it further. Study job descriptions in the advertising section of the newspaper. Prepare a job description and a “help wanted” ad for the selected occupation.


  • Invite a variety of theater professionals to your class to discuss their roles in producing a play and how they work together. If your community does not have a professional or community theater group, consider a student group and students who have had experience as, for example, the director, makeup artist, costumer, set designer, and stage director.

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Open Response Assessment

There are many jobs necessary to the production and performance of live theater. You are chosen to produce a drama.


  1. Identify three jobs associated with the theater that you will have to hire people to do.
  2. Describe the responsibilities associated with two of those jobs.
  3. Describe in detail the collaboration you expect between the two jobs listed in part B or between one of these jobs and any other theater job.

Open Response Scoring Guide

4 3 2 1 0
The student demonstrates extensive knowledge of careers in theater. The student applies this knowledge by completing all tasks correctly. The student’s analysis of collaboration in part (C) of the response is well developed, is supported by clear examples and supporting details, and suggests an overall understanding of the process of performing and producing live theater. The student demonstrates broad knowledge of careers in theater. The student applies this knowledge by completing all tasks correctly. The student’s analysis of collaboration in part (C) of the response makes clear connections. The student demonstrates basic knowledge of careers in theater. The student applies this knowledge by correctly identifying at least two theater careers and correctly describing the responsibilities of one of these careers. The student attempts to analyze the collaboration between jobs, but makes unclear or inaccurate connections. The student demonstrates minimal knowledge of careers in theater or the need for collaboration. The student correctly identifies at least one theater career but does not describe its responsibilities or gives an incorrect description. The student makes no attempt to analyze the collaboration or makes an inaccurate connection. Blank, no answer, or irrelevant response.

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K-12The Arts