A wide range of reviews of recommended books on primary and secondary drama, directing, Shakespeare and more. View each category by clicking on the tabs below.

100 Great Plays for Women

An introduction to 100 varied plays for (entirely or predominantly) female casts with synopsis, cast breakdown and a short essay
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101 Drama Games and Activities

A collection of highly effective games and exercises suitable for children, young people and adults.
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101 More Drama Games and Activities

Inspirational games and exercises suitable for drama lessons and workshops as well as during rehearsal and devising periods.
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A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Globe Education

Another brilliant volume from Globe Education which is perfect for students at Key Stage 3 and 4.
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A Practical Guide to Ensemble Devising

A thorough and practical guide to the making of ensemble collaborative performance.
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A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School

A highly practical and original approach to exploring Shakespeare with primary-aged children.
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Creating Drama with 7-11 Year Olds

A highly practical book providing a wide range of ideas for using drama across the curriculum.
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Creative Shakespeare – The Globe Education Guide to Practical Shakespeare

Highly enjoyable approaches used in Globe Theatre workshops including dozens of activities aimed at children aged from 11 up to
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Developing Drama Skills 11-14

An excellent framework for Key Stage 3 drama, including 16 practical and imaginative units of work.
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Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops

It can easily be picked up and a suitable activity found for any group within a matter of moments.
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Drama Games for Devising

A brilliant collection of starting points and structures that will get your company having fun, working together and finding ways
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Drama Games for Those who Like to Say No

The majority of activities are aimed at those working with young people and adults in so-called "difficult" groups.
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Drama Lessons for the Primary School Year

25 drama schemes to take the teacher through the academic year using a range of accessible drama techniques.
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Drama Menu

The perfect book for planning drama sessions for secondary students and older, with plenty of games and longer activities to
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Drama Play: Bringing Books to Life Through Drama for 4 to 7 Year Olds

A series of ready-planned drama lessons based on 12 readily-available books for 4-7 year olds.
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Drama Schemes

Drama schemes for key stages 3-4 with themes ranging from substance abuse to survival in a post-apocalyptic world.
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Drama Sessions for Primary Schools and Drama Clubs

Aimed squarely at teachers and freelance practitioners wishing to run after school or private drama clubs.
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Early Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This CD-ROM presents an abridged animated version of A Midsummer Night's Dream told using the first 100 high frequency words
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Ensemble Theatre Making: A Practical Guide

An analysis of the ensemble approach to devising theatre.
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Jumpstart! Drama

A dip-into book, containing over 40 approaches to using drama with well-known texts
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Laban for All

Rudolf Laban's down to earth approach can be used to beneficially develop character movement for young children through to adults.
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Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years

“A must-have for those serious about the teaching of drama in primary school settings.”
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Macbeth – Globe Education Shakespeare

An attractive resource from Shakespeare's Globe Education including director's notes, actors' exercises and views by the actors.
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Making Theatre, The Frazzled Drama Teacher’s Guide to Devising

This book is particularly aimed at secondary drama teachers who help young people to make devised theatre for examinations.
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National Theatre: All About Theatre

A beautifully designed, colourful scrapbook providing a brilliant introduction to live theatre, focussing on family productions at the National Theatre.
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Our Country’s Good: A Study Guide

A practical guide to the performance of the play, including valuable insights into the directing process.
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Playful Plays Volume 1

A lively collection of eight short plays for children and young people supported by inspirational drama games.
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Plays for Youth Theatres and Large Casts

A volume of four popular scripts ideal for larger youth theatre casts by award-winning playwright Neil Duffield.
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Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories: Storytelling and story acting in the early years

A fascinating guide to an accessible storytelling approach to drama and learning, suitable for use with children as young as
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Romeo and Juliet – Globe Education Shakespeare

An inspiring resource which will provide a host of ideas and approaches to help teachers engage the teenagers it is
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Shakespeare Primary Classics

Potted adaptations of five of Shakespeare's plays with amusing and ingenious staging devices.
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Shakespeare’s Heartbeat – Drama Games for Children with Autism

A fascinating book which outlines a unique approach to teaching Shakespeare to children on the autistic spectrum.
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Teach Drama: How to Make a Living as a Freelance Drama Teacher

Down-to-earth practical advice for those who would like to work as a freelance drama teacher.
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Teaching Primary Drama

Any teacher wishing to use drama to support creativity and learning across the curriculum would benefit from using this book.
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The Active Text: Unlocking Plays Through Physical Theatre

How physical theatre exercises, games and rehearsal techniques can be applied to scripted plays.
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The Excellent Audition Guide

A clear guide full of helpful tips for anyone applying to drama school.
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The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre

Highly recommended book giving an insight into the work of a leading UK physical theatre company and a must for
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The Improv Book

Highly recommended for anyone exploring improvisation, wanting to spice up their rehearsals of existing material or wishing to devise their
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The Primary Drama Handbook

A practical manual of drama lesson approaches for working across a range of curriculum subjects.
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The RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers

A thorough resource from the Royal Shakespeare Company including practical sessions and worksheets for three of Shakespeare's most popular plays.
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The Whoosh Book

Summaries of 42 stories, plays, myths and novels for 7-14 year-olds designed to be used with the extremely enjoyable Whoosh
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Why Is That So Funny?

If you’ve ever wondered why you laugh in everyday situations, this entertaining book will tell you – and show you
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Teach Drama: How to Make a Living as a Freelance Drama Teacher

Down-to-earth practical advice for those who would like to work as a freelance drama teacher.

Teach Drama: How to Make a Living as a Freelance Drama Teacher Book Cover Teach Drama: How to Make a Living as a Freelance Drama Teacher
Sam Marsden
Education
Drama Fountain
160
http://www.dramafountain.com/

 

If you enjoy drama and working with children and young people, then working as a freelance drama teacher may be a natural career move. This book offers a great deal of down-to-earth practical advice to those starting out in the profession from someone who has proved her worth in many different areas of the field – by teaching in and running academies, schools and clubs and by managing a very successful youth theatre.

The author takes the reader right through the process from deciding which avenues to pursue, who to contact, how much to charge and where to find work. The book is full of solid-gold tips and advice covering interview tips and techniques, lesson-planning, relationships with clients and students, tips for maintaining discipline and legal requirements. There is advice on choosing a show to perform, how to schedule rehearsals and, last but not least, a list of organisations to contact for training needs and work opportunities. The interviews with freelancers and professionals add an extra dimension and invaluable advice from those in the know.

Reading this book will give anyone with the right motivation a head-start by offering advice about becoming a highly-organised and effective freelance drama teacher from someone who has clearly demonstrated their knowledge and success in the field.

Available as ebook or paperback from www.dramafountain.com

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National Theatre: All About Theatre

A beautifully designed, colourful scrapbook providing a brilliant introduction to live theatre, focussing on family productions at the National Theatre.

National Theatre: All About Theatre Book Cover National Theatre: All About Theatre
National Theatre
2015
128

 

A brilliant introduction to live theatre, focussing on successful productions for family audiences at the National Theatre. Aimed at young people, the large-format book is beautifully designed in the form of a scrapbook containing colour photographs, posters and explanatory text including tips from actors, artistic and technical staff.

Topics covered include the history of theatre, the play, casting, rehearsals, set, costume, wigs and make-up, sound and music and a handy glossary.

The book will appeal to children from key stage 2 and upwards as well as teenagers including theatre arts students. This would make a great gift as well as a handy addition to any drama studio or school library.

 

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Ensemble Theatre Making: A Practical Guide

An analysis of the ensemble approach to devising theatre.

Ensemble Theatre Making: A Practical Guide Book Cover Ensemble Theatre Making: A Practical Guide
Rose Burnett Bonczek, David Storck,
Performing Arts
2013
226

 

This book examines the nuts and bolts of creating an effective theatrical ensemble and the politics of maintaining the company through thick and thin. The American co-authors evidently have a wide range of academic experience between them, giving them a clear understanding of the workings of the ensemble.

They begin by defining the ensemble approach, what it means to be a member of one and the importance of trust. They discuss the ancient origins of ensemble as a key part of human development and a reaction to fear, as people gathered together for the sake of survival and developed the ritual of storytelling around the campfire.

The qualities necessary for leading ensembles are discussed, with examples of leadership types ranging from Winnie The Pooh (with a light touch) through to the dangers of being a strict authority figure - the HAL 9000. It seems the ideal is karate-master Mr Miyagi.

The book looks at how a successful ensemble is created, beginning with a clear purpose, looking for the right people and being wary of such character types as the Wounded Puppy, the Scapegoat and the Orphan… There are essential ensemble members to find, such as the Glue, the Nurturer, the Rock and the Sparkplug. Anyone who has been involved in the ensemble process is sure to recognise some of these types. Further characters include the Black Hole, the Complainer, the Skeptic, the Controller, the Cheerleader and the Class Clown. You could have a lot of fun working out which one fits each member of your company, or indeed, your own family.

The co-authors contextualise the theory throughout with personal experiences and anecdotes. In the appendix they gather together a limited range of games and exercises from Keith Johnstone, Clive Barker, Augusto Boal and other sources.

If you are keen on an analytical or academic approach to forming a company and developing an ensemble production, then this book will be of great interest.

 

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A Practical Guide to Ensemble Devising

A thorough and practical guide to the making of ensemble collaborative performance.

A Practical Guide to Ensemble Devising Book Cover A Practical Guide to Ensemble Devising
Davis Robinson
Performing Arts
Palgrave Macmillan
June 15, 2015
192

New England-based Davis Robinson has condensed over thirty years’ of knowledge and expertise into this thorough examination of ensemble theatre, to lead the reader through the process of making collaborative performance. The book explores the whole process from warm-ups and generating ideas to editing and polishing a performance.

The theory is supplemented by practical exercises including examples from the rehearsal room of Robinson’s own company, Beau Jest, as well as from the processes of notable international companies and practitioners. There are references to dozens of companies and productions throughout.

The book begins by looking at the origins and definitions of ensemble theatre before moving on to the practical work, including the fundamentals of rhythm and movement. It examines short prompts to inspire and stimulate the company, such as lists of actions, paintings, props and choreographic structures. Large prompts which can be used as springboards for devised work include inspiration from novels, stories, epic tales and mash-ups.

A chapter on organisational structures looks at working methods and models for students and professionals as well as the thorny issue of leadership in an ensemble setting. A section on the practical considerations of developing and framing full-length works provides a detailed approach with many practical examples to guide ensembles through potential pitfalls and the polishing of the final work.

If you are serious about devising ensemble-based physical theatre as a student or practitioner, then this well-informed book will provide valuable guidance and inspiration to steer you through the process.

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Teaching Primary Drama

Any teacher wishing to use drama to support creativity and learning across the curriculum would benefit from using this book.

Teaching Primary Drama Book Cover Teaching Primary Drama
Brian Woolland
Education
Routledge
2013
228

 

This superb guide to teaching drama in primary schools is clearly laid out and packed with useful ideas.

The first section, 'Drama in Practice' looks at starting points, working methods and drama techniques. It gives very helpful guidelines for organising drama, including advice on control and discipline, questioning techniques and working with children in the early years. This section would be very useful for teachers beginning to use drama, as well as those with more experience.

Further sections of the book look at the use of drama in an integrated curriculum as well as planning and assessment. Perhaps the most useful section looks at extended examples of drama lessons and units for different age-ranges with links to the National Curriculum and the Primary Framework for Literacy. Despite the updating of the National Curriculum, the material remains relevant, including developing drama from art and narrative poetry, using drama to investigate history and to explore traditional and contemporary stories.

Any teacher wishing to use drama to support creativity and learning across the curriculum would benefit from using this clearly written and highly practical book.

 

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The Improv Book

Highly recommended for anyone exploring improvisation, wanting to spice up their rehearsals of existing material or wishing to devise their own work.

The Improv Book Book Cover The Improv Book
Alison Goldie
Performing Arts
Oberon Books
2015
300

 

Subtitled 'Improvisation for Theatre, Comedy, Education and Life", this lively and very readable book introduces dozens and dozens of improv games along with tips on how and why to play them. The book is divided into sections such as Silly Games, Physical, Releasing Imagination, Storytelling, Power, Characters, Verbal, Devising and Performance. The solid knowledge and experience of the actor, director, writer and broadcaster Alison Goldie is apparent throughout, as is her infectious enthusiasm. Many of the games come with example scenarios so that the teacher is clear about what to expect. These examples are varied, original and often very funny.

As well as the games, there are instructions and advice on developing scenarios as part of a devising process or for live improvised performance. The book stands on a level with 'Impro' by Keith Johnstone as it not only teaches us how to teach the approaches, but draws parallels with everyday life situations in a personal, honest and inspiring fashion. Highly recommended for anyone exploring improvisation, wanting to spice up their rehearsals of existing material or wishing to devise their own work.

 

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Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories: Storytelling and story acting in the early years

A fascinating guide to an accessible storytelling approach to drama and learning, suitable for use with children as young as 18 months to seven years old.

Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories Book Cover Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories
Trisha Lee
Storytelling
Routledge
August 17, 2015
128

 

South-East London-based MakeBelieve Arts have pioneered and successfully developed the "Helicopter Stories" work for many years now. This accessible approach is based on the premise that stories and fantasy play engage all young children and help them to draw connections and make sense of the world. It is developed from the ground-breaking work by Vivian Gussin Paley in the USA.

A few years ago I was privileged to observe Helicopter Story sessions facilitated by Artistic Director Trisha Lee and was impressed by how quickly children can become enthralled by the approach. In her book, Lee describes how to introduce Helicopter Stories to children, scribe their tales verbatim and bring their ideas to life by allowing the children to act them out. Research has proven this approach to have a significant impact on children's literacy and communication skills, their confidence and social and emotional development, particularly for kinaesthetic learners - those in Ken Robinson's words, who "need to move to think".

Paley writes in her foreword to this book, "even the shyest three-year-old is eager to dictate a story... the words come from the children, and every expression grows in meaning and richness when reimagined inside a script and acted out with classmates... We humans are born knowing how to place our thoughts and images into stories."

The book is a fascinating and easy to read guide to an accessible storytelling approach to drama and learning, suitable for use with children as young as 18 months to seven years old.

MakeBelieve Arts also run courses: www.makebelievearts.co.uk/helicopter-training

 

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Plays for Youth Theatres and Large Casts

A volume of four popular scripts ideal for larger youth theatre casts by award-winning playwright Neil Duffield.

Plays for Youth Theatres and Large Casts Book Cover Plays for Youth Theatres and Large Casts
Neil Duffield
Plays
Aurora Metro Publications
2009
232

 

Neil Duffield is a highly successful writer of plays for children and young people, with over fifty productions under his belt, many of these commissioned by leading UK theatres and touring companies. In this volume he brings together four popular scripts ideal for larger youth theatre casts. Having worked closely with Neil during my career as a theatre director, I can vouch for his understanding of young audiences by the spellbound silences (and roars of laughter) that greet his productions.

These four scripts have been tried and tested and continue to be performed regularly in youth theatres and schools since their publication in 2009. All are dramatic adventure stories and are aimed principally at the 12-16 age-range although Small Fry has been performed by 10-11 year olds. Production can be adapted with simple or elaborate props, scenery and costume and music can be recorded or live.

Twice Upon A Time explores the blurred lines between reality, fantasy and virtual reality in the form of a fantasy adventure set in the future as a love story twists its way through parallel worlds of reality, dreams and online-gaming. The script was based on a devising process with a youth theatre and Duffield has successfully pulled together the themes they came up with by producing a play which should have great resonance with young people. Interestingly, the original production had two completely different casts of 24 each for the first and second act, and while this is not a requirement, it may provide a useful solution for particularly large groups.

Small Fry was shortlisted for The Writers Guild Award for Best Children's Play - a play in which the small fry take on the mighty dragon, win the jackpot and outwit the scavengers and predators that usually prevail. It is suitable for performance by a whole class. The Minotaur is a spell-binding version of the famous Greek myth and Talking With Angels is an original and highly imaginative retelling of the complex story of Joan of Arc.

All these plays reflect the research, hard work and expertise of the author in coming up with texts which are rich in their use of language, framed by strong stories which are accessible and relevant to the young actors and audiences who will no doubt enjoy them.

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The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre

Highly recommended book giving an insight into the work of a leading UK physical theatre company and a must for anyone who is keen to devise physical work.

The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre Book Cover The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre
Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett,
Performing Arts
2014
224

 

Anyone who has ever seen the physical theatre company Frantic Assembly cannot fail to have been knocked out by their dynamic and groundbreaking performances. Their use of loud dance music and inspirational choreography by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett has made them a hit with young audiences across the UK.

This book attempts to capture the company's work through a round-up of practical exercises, essays on devising, writing and choreography, an anthology of productions with photographs from many of the shows, as well as suggestions for film, music and physical theatre inspiration for devising. Frantic Assembly run workshops on their style and approach and many of the exercises from those sessions can be found in this book.

This book is a must for anyone devising work with professional actors, dancers or young people. It gives a thorough insight into Frantic's approach and clearly explains not only the exercises but also how these can be used during the devising and directing of scenes. Highly recommended.

 

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The Whoosh Book

Summaries of 42 stories, plays, myths and novels for 7-14 year-olds designed to be used with the extremely enjoyable Whoosh storytelling technique.

Literacy Activities for Classic and Contemporary Texts 7-14: The Whoosh Book Book Cover Literacy Activities for Classic and Contemporary Texts 7-14: The Whoosh Book
Gill Robins, Laura-Jane Evans-Jones,
Education
2013
157

 

Those of you who already know about 'Whoosh Storytelling' will know what a brilliant and accessible method it is for introducing any text to pupils of virtually any age. The Royal Shakespeare Company use it regularly in their education sessions but it really can be used with any story. If you don't yet know what it is, have a look at these instructions and explanatory video: Whoosh! Bringing Stories Alive through Drama. The technique is a thoroughly enjoyable approach which enables pupils to become active participants in the story, rather than just passive recipients of it.

Authors Robins and Evan-Jones have done some hard work here writing versions of folk tales, myths, Shakespeare, Bronte, Dickens, Louis Stevenson as well as contemporary texts. There are 42 Whooshes in all, aimed at students from 7-14 years. The book is aimed at English teachers, but anybody should be able to use it. There is a description of how to do a Whoosh at the start and ideas for follow-up work after each narrative with supporting resources. If you want to experience a Whoosh for yourself, do come on one of our primary drama courses!

 

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Laban for All

Rudolf Laban’s down to earth approach can be used to beneficially develop character movement for young children through to adults.

Laban for All Book Cover Laban for All
Jean Newlove, John Dalby
Theatre Studies
Nick Hern Books
2004
255

 

Although he is known as a dance theorist, Rudolf Laban's approach is often used by theatre choreographers and directors. Even without training his ideas can be used to beneficially develop character movement for young children through to adults.

Jean Newlove was Laban's assistant after he came to England as a refugee in 1938. She was movement teacher at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop for 15 years. This accessible book, co-written with actor, musician and teacher John Dalby provides all you need to try Laban's ideas in the studio.

The book presents a simplified version of Laban's system for analysing the way a human being moves. The language and approach is clearly explained with numerous helpful illustrations by Dalby. Those wishing to find the juicy bits may like to jump straight to the section on the Eight Basic Efforts. Each effort, such as thrusting or floating is define by a combination of "motion factors" - space, time and weight. Once these are understood it is very easy to explore different combinations ( for example, direct, sustained and light give us gliding; and flexible, sudden and strong give us slashing).

Once experienced, Laban's approach makes perfect sense as a down to earth way of developing an expressive body. The eight efforts can help the performer to discover characters through movement and to challenge physical habits, opening up the body to new possibilities.

The book is definitely worth considering for use with young or inexperienced performers as the approach is designed to help anybody develop their physicality through their own personal interpretation.

 

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Shakespeare’s Heartbeat – Drama Games for Children with Autism

A fascinating book which outlines a unique approach to teaching Shakespeare to children on the autistic spectrum.

Shakespeare's Heartbeat - Drama Games for Children with Autism Book Cover Shakespeare's Heartbeat - Drama Games for Children with Autism
Kelly Hunter
Performing Arts
Routledge
2015
250

 

This book outlines a unique approach to teaching Shakespeare to children on the autistic spectrum. The activities are clearly described and could be used by any teacher, regardless of drama expertise. Kelly Hunter has spent over ten years working with children on all points of the spectrum and has developed a series of simple games aiming to override the disassociation of mind and body and other challenges that such children face.

The book describes each activity in detail, giving advice on how to demonstrate and play these sensory games. Characters and moments from two plays provide the focus: A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest.

Hunter aims to use Shakespeare as a means to "wake the children up to their own lives" and to develop eye contact, facial expression, spatial awareness and language skills through imaginative play. Each session begins and ends with the "Heartbeat Circle", where the children beat out the rhythm of their heartbeat whilst saying 'hello' and practising facial expression.

This leads onto playing the games within a circle marked out on the floor. No scripts or props are used, just bodies and voices. Short extracts from Shakespeare are taught to children through prompting (these are learnt off by heart by the teacher in advance). The games are first demonstrated, then the children play them in pairs or small groups and finally share them within the circle. Ideally a number of adults pair up with the children, although guidance is also given for a teacher leading the session on her own.

I don't often work with groups of children on the autistic spectrum but even so, I found the book fascinating. It is clearly written and thoroughly inspiring. There is no reason why many of these games could not be used with children from an early age, both on and off the autistic spectrum.

 

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Drama Menu

The perfect book for planning drama sessions for secondary students and older, with plenty of games and longer activities to choose from.

Drama Menu Book Cover Drama Menu
Glyn Trefor-Jones
Performing Arts
Nick Hern Books
2015-04-23
224

 

As the title suggests, the 150 games and activities in Drama Menu are organised as courses from which the drama teacher can select to create a complete drama session. It is ideal for use by teachers in drama schools, drama clubs or other situations where the emphasis is on performance.

The Appetisers are 5-10 minute lively games to warm up and focus the group. There are several well-known games such as "What Are You Doing" amongst a variety of original and lesser-known activities.

The Starters are longer and slightly more challenging activities, aiming to fire players' imaginations and to develop performance skills. The Main Courses are long (20-30 minutes) activities, leading towards performance. One of these can easily form the main body of a workshop.

There are also a small selection of Desserts which are designed as time-fillers, should there be some time left at the end.

The author is the director of a performing arts academy and has previously worked as an actor, director and writer. His knowledge and experience are apparent in his writing and this book will provide a great deal of varied and inspiring material for sessions with secondary-aged or older students, although many activities could be used with or adapted for younger age-groups.

 

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Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years

“A must-have for those serious about the teaching of drama in primary school settings.”

Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years Book Cover Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years
David Farmer
Primary Drama
Drama Resource
2011
161

 

This practical handbook explores how to use the greatest resource that teachers have available to them – children’s imagination. Play is a natural part of children’s lives before they start school, helping them to make sense of their place in the world. Such creativity can be harnessed through drama to enable active and interactive learning experiences throughout the primary years and across the curriculum. The book includes 36 drama strategies along with over 250 cross-curricular activities and three extended lesson plans.

The book provides guidance to teachers who have never taught drama before but are considering using it in a subject area such as science or history and offers new approaches to those familiar with common drama techniques (such as hot-seating and teacher in role). It includes 36 drama strategies and over 250 cross-curricular activities, including practical ideas for inspiring speaking, listening and writing.

“A must-have for those serious about the teaching of drama in primary school settings.”
- Teaching Drama magazine, October 2011 *****

“Full of easily accessible advice... clear explanations and inventive suggestions.”
- National Drama Magazine, January 2012

 

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Playful Plays Volume 1

A lively collection of eight short plays for children and young people supported by inspirational drama games.

Playful Plays Volume 1 Book Cover Playful Plays Volume 1
David Farmer
Plays
CreateSpace
2014
128

 

“David Farmer has hit gold with 'Playful Plays: Volume One', and if volumes two to ten were available I would be ordering them immediately... The selling point of the book is its simplicity. It offers teachers an off-the-shelf, ready-to-go, high-quality rehearsal process ideal for primary-aged students... The book is very well laid out and user-friendly, and is the perfect go-to for short presentation pieces that pack a punch.” - Teaching Drama Magazine.

This lively collection of eight short plays for children and young people is supported by inspirational drama games designed to bring creativity and fun to the rehearsal room. The stories are based on traditional folk-tales from countries including China, Ghana, Greece, Japan, Turkey and Scandinavia. The book is written in such a way that young people can easily pick it up and use it themselves.

The plays can be performed by groups of children on their own, or under the direction of an adult. They feature performance techniques such as mime, mask, freeze frames, audience participation, live music and song. The author draws on his experience in the professional theatre world to provide helpful advice for the young director and actor including warm-ups, tips on line-learning and ideas for character development, as well as games to develop acting skills such as concentration, focus and working as an ensemble.

The Playful Plays Resource Page includes colouring sheets and suggestions for music to use in your productions.

 

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Creative Shakespeare – The Globe Education Guide to Practical Shakespeare

Highly enjoyable approaches used in Globe Theatre workshops including dozens of activities aimed at children aged from 11 up to adults.

Creative Shakespeare - The Globe Education Guide to Practical Shakespeare Book Cover Creative Shakespeare - The Globe Education Guide to Practical Shakespeare
Fiona Banks
Shakespeare
Arden Shakespeare
2014
256

 

Globe Education have been delivering practical workshops on Shakespeare’s plays since 1989 - well before the Globe itself opened in 1997. Hi

The first couple of chapters outline the theory behind the approach to Practical Shakespeare and the effect that the Globe Theatre’s architecture and style of performance has had on the developing work. The following section describes core approaches, such as when and how to cut text for workshops (with clear examples of how one scene can be edited in a number of ways for different purposes). Other techniques include the exploration of characters and relationships through archetypes, games and status exercises as well as approaches to text and storytelling. These draw on approaches by contemporary teachers and directors and could just as well be applied to any play - not just Shakespeare's.

Further chapters focus on language, staging and performance, with activities accompanied by appropriate edited extracts from the plays. The final chapter looks briefly at the value of using a practical approach to Shakespeare in educational settings to provide a framework for personal and social development.

While the book is written by Fiona Banks, dotted throughout are useful tips and comments from other members of the Globe Education team, highlighting how approaches can be adapted in different ways to suit the style of the teacher and the needs of the students. Some activities have been invented by team members and others are variations of games and exercises which have become more widely known in recent years through work by the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, the Shakespeare Schools Festival and books by authors such as James Stredder (The North Face of Shakespeare) and Rex Gibson (Teaching Shakespeare).

This particular book is an excellent and thorough resource which provides teachers and directors with a battery of exercises to help students and actors discover Shakespeare's work through what must surely be highly enjoyable active learning and exploration.

 

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Shakespeare Primary Classics

Potted adaptations of five of Shakespeare’s plays with amusing and ingenious staging devices.

Shakespeare Primary Classics Book Cover Shakespeare Primary Classics
National Theatre Discover
Carl Heap
Shakespeare
Oberon Books
2012
Paperback
54

The works of Shakespeare are becoming more familiar to pupils of primary age but finding a suitable version of the Bard's texts for young people to read and perform is not always easy. Any production of Shakespeare will usually require some judicious editing of the script. In this series, writer and director Carl Heap has slimmed down five titles to a running time of 70 minutes each.

In 2005 the National Theatre approached Heap to produce the first of several Shakespeare plays suitable for touring to 8-11 year-olds in London primary schools. These were to be performed by six actors which meant that a lot of doubling had to take place. Of course it is not necessary to stick to six actors - each of the plays can be performed by much larger casts. The author has kept much of Shakespeare's original language and made some subtle changes to vocabulary - for example 'nuptial hour' becomes 'wedding day', 'shrift' becomes 'confession' and 'niggard' becomes 'miser'.

Due to the original small cast-sizes some dramatic changes have been made - Puck becomes a puppet, his speeches are cut and the character of Paris is represented by a portrait. Carl Heap is a seasoned theatre producer and each of the scripts have been adapted for performance, producing some amusing perspectives, such as picnicking bird-watchers putting on their own performance of Macbeth. These are amusing and ingenious solutions but there is no why reason why they should be adhered to.

These adaptations provide useful texts for teachers to draw on - or for anyone who may be looking for 'potted' versions of:

Romeo and Juliet
Pericles
Macbeth
A Midummer Night's Dream
Twelfth Night

 

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Globe Education

Another brilliant volume from Globe Education which is perfect for students at Key Stage 3 and 4.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Globe Education Book Cover A Midsummer Night's Dream - Globe Education
Shakespeare
Hodder Education
2012
120

Another brilliant volume from Globe Education which is perfect for students at Key Stage 3 and 4. Alongside the entire script of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' can be found a range of exercises from the rehearsal room, actors' comments and full colour photos from three productions at the Globe. A glossary appears on each page alongside the script as well as information about the play's context and questions for students to think about. The volume brings the play to life for the reader while providing the teacher plenty of ideas for exploration through action, discussion and rehearsal.

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Romeo and Juliet – Globe Education Shakespeare

An inspiring resource which will provide a host of ideas and approaches to help teachers engage the teenagers it is aimed at.

Romeo and Juliet - Globe Education Shakespeare Book Cover Romeo and Juliet - Globe Education Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Hodder Education
2011
144

This book from the series of new editions for 11-16 year olds from Shakespeare's Globe Education tackles Romeo and Juliet. The book is packed with high-quality colour photographs of productions at the Globe alongside engaging interviews with actors, practical exercises and considerable background information. These run alongside the full text of the play with a glossary placed handily on every page.

The photographs, director's notes, rehearsal exercises and actors' views are taken from three productions of Romeo and Juliet (Tim Carroll 2004, Bill Buckhurst 2009 and Dominic Dromgoole 2009). There are thorough Examiner's Notes interspersed throughout, offering well-thought-out questions and comments. The book is supported by an online Dynamic Learning resource providing access to video clips from Globe productions and other resources. An inspiring resource which will provide a host of ideas and approaches to help teachers engage the teenagers it is aimed at.

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Early Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This CD-ROM presents an abridged animated version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream told using the first 100 high frequency words and with games covering characters, sequencing and comprehension.

Early Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream Book Cover Early Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare
Early Shakespeare
CD-ROM for PC only

This CD-ROM presents an abridged animated version of A Midsummer Night's Dream broken down into forty simple scenes. Children click on the 'Next' button once they have finished listening to and watching a scene. Each scene has a one sentence summary for children to read and listen to and they can click on a character to hear an extract of a speech from that scene. The scene summaries use the first 100 high-frequency words, while the speeches are in Shakespeare's original language. The text is illustrated with associated symbols aimed at visual learners.

Three activities are offered in the form of games: characters, sequencing and comprehension. Teachers can switch between four levels to allow differentiation. The CD-ROM also offers resources including varied worksheets such as masks, colouring sheets and matching activities and a copy of the abridged script.

The scenes are presented simply using colourful backgrounds, attractive cartoon characters and lively audio recordings. SEN Assist products are designed to include all children aged 3-11 years, but younger children may find it difficult to sustain their interest throughout the forty scenes. However the CD-ROM does offer other activities and it would be a useful resource to supplement a literacy scheme presented by the teacher - perhaps with some drama activities. I noticed that in the Comprehension section, speeches sometimes get repeated.

The CD-ROM is available from www.earlyshakespeare.com (where a demonstration can be seen). A version of Romeo and Juliet is also available.

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Macbeth – Globe Education Shakespeare

An attractive resource from Shakespeare’s Globe Education including director’s notes, actors’ exercises and views by the actors.

Macbeth - Globe Education Shakespeare Book Cover Macbeth - Globe Education Shakespeare
William Shakespeare, Fiona Banks, Paul Shuter,
Shakespeare
Hodder Education
2011
127

 

Macbeth is the first in a series of new editions from Shakespeare's Globe Education. Aimed at 11-16 year olds, the book brings the text alive through dozens of full-colour photos and a plethora of additional information and ideas laid out in an attractive format. These include director's notes, actors' exercises, contextual information about Shakespeare's world, views by the actors and an exhaustive glossary running alongside the complete text.

The inspiring and dramatic photographs - along with the exercises and tips - are taken from three productions of Macbeth at the Globe Theatre (Tim Carroll 2001, Bill Buckhurst 2010, Lucy Bailey 2010). There are also copious Examiner's Notes exploring character and plot development, themes and ideas, performance and contexts through well-thought-out questions and comments. The book is supported by an online Dynamic Learning resource providing access to video clips from Globe productions and other resources. The book supports an active-learning approach to Shakespeare and would be a valuable asset for both English and Drama teachers.

 

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The RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers

A thorough resource from the Royal Shakespeare Company including practical sessions and worksheets for three of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.

The RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers Book Cover The RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers
Royal Shakespeare Company
Shakespeare
Methuen Drama
2011
304

This thorough and illuminating resource has been developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company to offer teachers practical sessions and worksheets for three of Shakespeare's most popular plays: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream. It incorporates approaches developed both in rehearsal rooms and by the Education Department of the RSC, covering a whole range of drama techniques such as Whoosh!, Voices in the Head, Living Newspaper, Ensemble Reading and Five Point Chase, with support from some of todays leading drama experts. The activities are all mapped to the KS3 Framework for English and KS2 Primary Framework for Literacy objectives, and offer suggestions for homework activities. The accompanying DVD provides printable versions of all worksheets.
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A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School

A highly practical and original approach to exploring Shakespeare with primary-aged children.

A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School Book Cover A Practical Guide to Shakespeare for the Primary School
John Doona
Education
Routledge
2011
178

 

This book outlines a highly practical and original approach to exploring Shakespeare with primary-aged children. The author focuses on four plays – The Tempest, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. His approaches focus on bringing the stories alive through active drama, exploring the characters through improvisation and enjoying the language. The book is packed with ideas, based on techniques that will be familiar to some teachers and most drama teachers, along with some novel approaches of the author’s, such as a Red Nose Day to introduce the concept of clowning in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There are cross-curricular links as well as writing and craft activities.

 

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101 Drama Games and Activities

A collection of highly effective games and exercises suitable for children, young people and adults.

101 Drama Games and Activities Book Cover 101 Drama Games and Activities
David Farmer
Education
Lulu.com
2007
81

 

101 Drama Games and Activities by David Farmer is a collection of highly effective games and exercises suitable for children, young people and adults - available in paperback or e-book format. Sections include improvisation, mime, ice-breakers, group dynamics, rehearsal, story-telling, voice and warm-ups so that you can quickly find an appropriate activity.

Acclaimed theatre director and drama consultant David Farmer has developed and refined these activities through thirty years of workshops with actors, teachers and children around the world. The pages are packed with tried and tested ideas for a whole range of activities useful for drama lessons, workshops or rehearsals.

'One of the handiest things to have around' - Teaching Drama magazine

'Belongs amongst the top 10 books any director or drama teacher should own.' - English Touring Opera

 

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101 More Drama Games and Activities

Inspirational games and exercises suitable for drama lessons and workshops as well as during rehearsal and devising periods.

101 More Drama Games and Activities Book Cover 101 More Drama Games and Activities
David Farmer
Education
CreateSpace
2012-09-18
138

 

This sequel to the best-selling 101 Drama Games and Activities contains inspirational and engaging games and exercises suitable for children, young people and adults. The activities can be used in drama lessons and workshops as well as during rehearsal and devising periods.

The book includes lively and fun warm-up games, vocal exercises and activities to develop concentration, focus and team building. The key drama strategies can be used as creative tools to explore themes and characters. There is a new section on developing skills which arms participants with tools for improvising characters and situations as well as dozens of ideas for developing improvisation (which can be extended over several sessions). There is also an expanded storytelling section with some very accessible games for making up and telling stories. The final section is on mimeand movement.

'...bubbles over with imaginative ideas which could be used to good effect by non-specialist as well as seasoned drama teachers. Excellent resource for primary, secondary and other drama teachers.' - Teaching Drama Magazine, Spring 2013.

'..this book cheered me up. Buy it and smile. There will be a lot of laughter in your classroom.'
- Drama Magazine, Spring 2013.

 

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Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops

It can easily be picked up and a suitable activity found for any group within a matter of moments.

Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops Book Cover Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops
Jessica Swale
Drama Games
Nick Hern Books
2009
182

 

This flick-through book of catchy drama games is packed with 101 activities which could be fun to play with a wide range of groups. They are divided into sections such as Imagination, Improvisation and Warm Up, and indexed according to skills, such as Spontaneity, Mime, Status and Storytelling. Each game is clearly identified with recommended age-group, number of players, anticipated running time and skills.

The activities could be used with children, young people and adults. They tend to be lively and fun, ranging from well-known favourites such as "Splat", "Energy Ball" and "Wink Murder" to newer games such as"Star Wars" and "Max's Motivations", based on an exercise used by Max Stafford Clark in rehearsals. A lot of thought has gone into this very attractive dip-into volume so that it can easily be picked up and a suitable activity found for any group within a matter of moments.

 

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Drama Games for Those who Like to Say No

The majority of activities are aimed at those working with young people and adults in so-called “difficult” groups.

Drama Games for Those who Like to Say No Book Cover Drama Games for Those who Like to Say No
Chris Johnston
Performing Arts
Nick Hern Books
2010
206

 

This wide-ranging and resourceful book by the author of House of Games and The Improvisation Game is particularly aimed at those working with young people and adults in so-called "difficult" groups. Young offenders, youth groups and recalcitrant students will benefit from activities for engagement, collaboration, spontaneity and negotiation.

There are detailed scenarios for longer improvisation and a training section aims to prepare workshop leaders for this kind of challenging work. The majority of activities will be of particular benefit for exploring social and emotional skills while others will be of interest to those looking to deepen creativity, imagination and enjoyment.

 

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Drama Games for Devising

A brilliant collection of starting points and structures that will get your company having fun, working together and finding ways to shape their work.

Drama Games for Devising Book Cover Drama Games for Devising
Jessica Swale
Drama Games
Nick Hern Books
2012
122

Jessica Swale follows up her popular first collection of drama games with a second volume that will be of use to anybody embarking on devising their own performance piece. Drama Games for Devising contains over 50 practical games and exercises broken down into five sections: preparation, generation, exploration, distillation and presentation. These are games that will get your company having fun, working together and finding ways to shape their work.

I was pleased to find several games that have been mainstays of my own devised work with Tiebreak Theatre – and variations of these - as well as new ones. It just goes to show that many of the best games get passed around by actors and directors as they move from company to company. Swale adds into the mix many original activities as well as examples and influences from modern and contemporary directors. Her introduction shows how three different directors and companies devise their work (Max Stafford-Clark, Mike Leigh and Shunt) and further practical examples are given throughout.

This book is a brilliant collection of starting points and structures that can be used as they are (again and again), although inevitably they are bound to spark you off into new processes and directions of your own.

 

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100 Great Plays for Women

An introduction to 100 varied plays for (entirely or predominantly) female casts with synopsis, cast breakdown and a short essay about each play.

100 Great Plays for Women Book Cover 100 Great Plays for Women
Lucy Kerbel
Directing
Nick Hern Books
2014
224

This comprehensive guide from National Theatre Associate director Lucy Kerbel outlines 100 varied plays for (entirely or predominantly) female casts. Aiming to debunk the myth that "there just aren't any good plays for women", the guide aims to present plays where female characters drive the action and includes titles from ancient times to the present day. Each entry has a synopsis, cast breakdown and a short essay about the play.

Any director will find this of interest, covering as it does both familiar and less well-known plays. The book is the culmination of a project by Lucy's company Tonic Theatre and the National Theatre Studio to help achieve greater gender equality in companies and their repertoires. It is certainly a personal selection which means that each entry has been carefully thought-through and is well worth considering for production.

There are plays to whet your appetite from 400 years BC (Aristophanes and Euripides) through to 2013 - although most are from the twentieth century onwards, including Rachel Corrie, Moira Buffini, Maxim Gorky, Samuel Beckett, Anthony Minghella and Abi Morgan. Whether you are looking for a thought-provoking play to liven up the amateur repertoire, a play for a room above a pub or one to fill a provincial stage, this book will ensure that you are spoilt for choice.

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The Active Text: Unlocking Plays Through Physical Theatre

How physical theatre exercises, games and rehearsal techniques can be applied to scripted plays.

The Active Text: Unlocking Plays Through Physical Theatre Book Cover The Active Text: Unlocking Plays Through Physical Theatre
Dymphna Callery
Directing
Nick Hern Books
2015
224

Nick Hern books have released a new book by Dymphna Callery, author of the best-selling Through The Body. The author looks at how physical theatre exercises, games and rehearsal techniques can be applied to scripted plays.

She pulls together approaches from a wide range of practitioners including Jacques Lecoq, Joan Littlewood, Peter Brook and Simon McBurney. Using extracts from well-known texts ranging from Sophocles through Shakespeare to Brecht and Berkoff she introduces theatre games, improvisation exercises and rehearsal techniques which will appeal to performance directors, students and anybody else involved in presenting and exploring physical theatre.

The book begins by exploring how a range of play genres can respond to a physical approach. It looks at why and how we can ask performers to play, mapping a play, charting the journeys of characters, workshopping scenes, exploring the text and shaping the production.

Callery usefully pulls together a wide range of approaches, some of which will be familiar to actors and directors and others which may be new. The processes are explained clearly alongside captivating examples of their use. If you are inspired or intrigued by the work of companies such as Complicite, Kneehigh, Frantic Assembly and the approaches of theatre practitioners such as Annabelle Arden, John Wright, Declan Donellan, Sam Mendes, Berkoff and Brook then this book will have you dipping into it time and time again for its no-nonsense practical perspective.

Go here to download a PDF extract.

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Making Theatre, The Frazzled Drama Teacher’s Guide to Devising

This book is particularly aimed at secondary drama teachers who help young people to make devised theatre for examinations.

Making Theatre, The Frazzled Drama Teacher's Guide to Devising Book Cover Making Theatre, The Frazzled Drama Teacher's Guide to Devising
Joss Bennathan
Performing Arts
Nick Hern Books
2014-04-01
240

This book is particularly aimed at secondary drama teachers who help young people to make devised theatre for examinations.

The book is divided into three parts. Preparation looks at the nuts and bolts of managing a devised project with students, such as how to manage several groups at once, how to make sure that boys are engaged and how to avoid cliches as well as guidance on text, themes and costumes. There are clear instructions on practical arrangements and ways to organise sessions to allow for successful and productive work.

Part Two, Making, outlines ten devised projects with a range of stimuli incuding conceptual art, song lyrics, oral testimony, montage, mime, music and text. Each project is broken down into three helpful stages:Generating and Exploring, Selecting, Structuring and Developing and Rehearsing. These should provide several terms' worth of work for students.

The final part of the book is the part that many teachers will jump to straight away. Entitled Refining, Troubleshooting and Finishing, the section describes 45 stand-alone exercises covering such topics as voice and movement, characterisation, communication and the relationship between style, content and form.

Bennathan demonstrates a thorough working knowledge of theatre-making with young people, along with a clear understanding of the limitations of working towards an examination, the potential difficulties of managing the work with young people and the pitfalls that may be encountered by any teacher devising for an audience. His exercises and frameworks should go a long way towards guiding the less experienced teacher through these potential traps and will undoubtedly provide fresh inspiration for those with more experience.

Download a free 23-page extract (PDF) courtesy of Nick Hern Books.

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Our Country’s Good: A Study Guide

A practical guide to the performance of the play, including valuable insights into the directing process.

Our Country’s Good: A Study Guide Book Cover Our Country’s Good: A Study Guide
Max Stafford-Clark, Maeve McKeown,
Drama
2010
110

A pack of ordinary playing cards provided director Stafford-Clark with a range of games and activities which he used when rehearsing ‘Our Country’s Good’ written by Timberlake Wertenbaker back in 1988 - when neither of them had any idea that the play would become such a seminal text. Based on the novel ‘The Playmaker’ by Thomas Keneally - which in turn is based on real events - it follows the exploits of a group of convicts transported to Australia to serve their time and their attempts to stage a play with the help of their captors.

This volume serves as a practical guide to the performance of the play, providing the historical and political background, a scene by scene breakdown, guidelines for set and props and analysis of all the characters. While some of this can be found elsewhere the book provides valuable insights into the directing process including the imaginative games and activities used by Stafford-Clark. The book should provide any teacher or director with all they need to mount their own insightful production.

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Developing Drama Skills 11-14

An excellent framework for Key Stage 3 drama, including 16 practical and imaginative units of work.

Developing Drama Skills 11-14 Book Cover Developing Drama Skills 11-14
Joss Bennathan
Acting
Heinemann
2000-01
154

This book provides an excellent framework for Key Stage 3 drama, including 16 practical, varied and imaginative units of work with clear aims, backed up by resource sheets and a model curriculum for each year group. This material will keep you going for a long time!

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Drama Schemes

Drama schemes for key stages 3-4 with themes ranging from substance abuse to survival in a post-apocalyptic world.

Drama Schemes Book Cover Drama Schemes
Mark Wheeller
Secondary
Rhinegold Publishing Limited
2010
80

Mark Wheeller is long established as a young people's playwright with widely-produced scripts such as More Punch for Judy and Hard to Swallow, several based on real-life events. He continues to work as a secondary school drama teacher, and this book pulls together his "best of" drama schemes for key stages 3-4 with themes ranging from substance abuse to life in a young offenders' institution and survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Each unit is devoted to a theme and the lessons are laid out with clear learning objectives and a range of activities.

As well as suggestions for using drama strategies across the curriculum, it includes his own take on Dorothy Heathcote's Mantle of the Expert work and ideas for playwriting and developing school productions. The book presents a personalised view of drama, heavily sprinkled with anecdotes from the author's experience. There are enough original ideas for schemes to keep any drama teacher happy for a long while and if you are familiar with his work, you will hit the ground running.

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Drama Play: Bringing Books to Life Through Drama for 4 to 7 Year Olds

A series of ready-planned drama lessons based on 12 readily-available books for 4-7 year olds.

Drama Play Book Cover Drama Play
Kay Hiatt
Primary
David Fulton
2005
78

This book contains a series of ready-planned drama lessons based on 12 readily-available books for 4-7 year olds.  A range of drama techniques are used throughout.  The lessons are clearly explained and easy to follow, with links to other curriculum areas.

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Drama Sessions for Primary Schools and Drama Clubs

Aimed squarely at teachers and freelance practitioners wishing to run after school or private drama clubs.

Drama Sessions for Primary Schools and Drama Clubs Book Cover Drama Sessions for Primary Schools and Drama Clubs
Alison Day
Education
2011
104

After school drama clubs are a popular choice as part of extended schools programming and this book is aimed squarely at teachers and freelance practitioners wishing to run these. It sets out three terms of 11 weekly sessions culminating in a presentation of sample games and activities to parents at the end of each term. The activities focus on social skills linked to the National Literacy Strategy and SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning).

Each session begins with a warm-up followed by a game or two and a longer activity. Some games are repeated from session to session to encourage familiarity and group development. These are always printed in full which means that the teacher can work from one double page rather than having to flick through the book - the downside to this is that many of the 33 activities are printed in full several times.

There are a mixture of teacher-directed and more creative child-led activities. The book would be suitable for those who have little experience of leading drama and are looking for fun games and some extended activities. It is likely that more experienced practitioners will know many of the games. The book includes a sample risk assessment form.

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The Primary Drama Handbook

A practical manual of drama lesson approaches for working across a range of curriculum subjects.

The Primary Drama Handbook Book Cover The Primary Drama Handbook
Patrice Baldwin
Education
SAGE
2008
155

The Primary Drama Handbook helps professionals understand the importance and potential of drama for learning and offers step-by-step practical examples of how drama can work in schools across a range of curriculum subjects. The book presents information, advice, and a range of practical material that helps to explain drama skills and strategies at an introductory level. It also contains a sample drama unit for each year group.

A practical manual of drama lesson approaches for working across a range of curriculum subjects. It includes valuable advice about drama policies and evaluation as well as accessible hands-on sessions. The book is ideal for staff responsible for implementing drama in their school for the first time.

 

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Jumpstart! Drama

A dip-into book, containing over 40 approaches to using drama with well-known texts

Jumpstart! Drama Book Cover Jumpstart! Drama
Teresa Cremin
Primary
David Fulton Pub
2009
102

Designed to be used as a dip-into book, containing over 40 approaches to using drama with well-known texts already popular with children. The sections cover fiction, poetry, non-fiction and the development of role-play areas using a variety of drama strategies - ideal for busy teachers who are looking for shorter but effective activities linked to stories and drama.

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Drama Lessons for the Primary School Year

25 drama schemes to take the teacher through the academic year using a range of accessible drama techniques.

Drama Lessons for the Primary School Year Book Cover Drama Lessons for the Primary School Year
John Doona
Primary
Routledge
2012
217

John Doona has followed up his imaginative take on Shakespeare for the Primary School with this practical resource, chock-a-block with ideas. It includes 25 schemes to take the teacher through the academic year. A range of accessible drama techniques are used to explore meaty topics ranging from Hallowe’en: The Pendle Witches to World Refugee Day: Earthquakes as well as lighter subjects such as A Christmas Carol and World Space Week: Yuri and the Aliens.The material covers Key Stages 1 and 2, offering schemes suitable for 5-12 year olds.

In all there are over 100 drama lessons, each one of which reflects thorough research through a wealth of background information, practical ideas and curriculum links. The detailed explanation of each lesson coupled with the wide range of topics makes the book suitable for the novice as well as the most seasoned drama practitioner.

The ideas make a strong case for the use of drama within and across the curriculum, highly pertinent at a time when drama seems to have been erased from the UK primary syllabus. Luckily, with the help of books like this, drama is still available to the creative teacher as a tool to motivate learning and understanding.

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Creating Drama with 7-11 Year Olds

A highly practical book providing a wide range of ideas for using drama across the curriculum.

Creating Drama with 7-11 Year Olds Book Cover Creating Drama with 7-11 Year Olds
Miles Tandy, Jo Howell,
Primary
David Fulton
2010
153

A highly practical book providing a wide range of ideas for using drama across the curriculum, with themes ranging from Ancient Egypt and Greek Myths to Silent Film, Shakespeare and Dr Xargle’s Book of Earthlets. As well as providing essential cross-curricular suggestions and literacy links, the book covers the use of drama in relation to live and recorded media and ICT and suggests how drama activity may lead to children’s performances.

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Why Is That So Funny?

If you’ve ever wondered why you laugh in everyday situations, this entertaining book will tell you – and show you how to create comedic improvisation in rehearsal.

Why is that So Funny? Book Cover Why is that So Funny?
John Wright
Directing
Nick Hern Books
2006
334

If you’ve ever wondered why you laugh in everyday situations, this entertaining book will tell you – and show you how to create comedic improvisation in rehearsal. John Wright was the co-creator of Trestle Theatre and Told by an Idiot. He continues to work with leading companies including Complicite, the RSC, the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House as well as independent artists and companies.

The depth of the author’s experience is immediately apparent in these pages as he shares practical exercises, stories and observations of his life and work. Over a hundred exercises are clearly explained, taking the reader through techniques developed by LeCoq, Gaulier and the author, with relevant examples from contemporary theatre and literature. The book is jam-packed with highly readable accounts of shows, rehearsals and life experiences which have helped shape Wright’s approach.

You can dip into it easily to pick up ideas for creating one of the simplest yet often elusive moments in theatre – the laugh. Highly recommended for anyone working in physical theatre or comedy, it will leave you itching to get back into the rehearsal room.

Go here to download a PDF extract on ‘Complicity’ and two games taken from the  book.

 

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The Excellent Audition Guide

A clear guide full of helpful tips for anyone applying to drama school.

The Excellent Audition Guide Book Cover The Excellent Audition Guide
Andy Johnson
Acting
Nick Hern Books
Tue Aug 05 2014
186

A clear guide for anyone applying to drama school. Despite the title it's not just about auditioning but also advises the reader on how to choose the right school and how to write an effective application and CV.

The audition section gives advice on finding the right speeches - and exercises for working on them, such as practising while blind-folded or doing the washing up! There is also a lot of down-to-earth advice which should reassure many a nervous would-be actor.

The book is well laid out, easy to read and full of helpful tips from an author who has coached hundreds of successful young actors.

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101 Drama Games and Activities

101 Drama Games and Activities

‘Belongs amongst the top 10 books any director or drama teacher should own.’ – English Touring Opera

101 MORE Drama Games and Activities

101 MORE Drama Games and Activities

‘This book cheered me up. Buy it and smile. There will be a lot of laughter in your classroom.’
– National Drama Magazine.

Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years

Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years

Full of easily accessible advice… clear explanations and inventive suggestions.’
– National Drama Magazine.

Playful Plays Volume 1

Playful Plays Volume 1

‘An off-the-shelf, high-quality rehearsal process ideal for primary-aged students… the perfect go-to for short presentation pieces that pack a punch.’ – Teaching Drama Magazine.