Tween Play Reading to Tween Playwriting
Theatre is a unique form of artistic expression requiring various skills to pull off a complete, successful theatre experience. The varied skills necessary to stage a play range from writing, editing, acting, singing, dancing, lighting, stage managing, costume making to carpentry and painting. Daunting for most of us, but simplify the experience for tweens and you’ll produce lifelong lovers of theatre.
All you’ll need are plays suitable for tweens and, of course, children. Plays may be found in your library, your book store or online. There are many free royalty-free sources to draw from online.
Discuss a play’s format before the children begin reading noting dialogue as opposed to stage directions. Explain that the group will not concern itself with anything but dialogue. There will be no costumes, sets, or lights. Even the shyest tween will have no problem play reading when it is just them and their script. Then let the play unravel, and soon you will find the tweens ravenous for more. You’ll note over time that the tweens begin to read with more expression, their voices taking on the voice of the character. Their body gestures will also show more expression. Their discussion of the play afterwards, also becomes richer. It becomes deeper regardless if the play is a comedy, folktale or mystery.
At some point, suggest that they write a play of their own. You’ll hear a resounding yeah!
Set some guidelines like how long it will be, how many characters and get some notion of where it is set and what will happen in the play they are about to write. Have each of your tweens be a character in the play. In light of what they know of the play (setting, plot and characters), have them talk their way through the play by interacting with each other. Transcribe the dialogue they create, as well as stage directions, onto paper, computer or recording device.
Another way to encourage tweens to write a play is to give each of them a puppet. This puppet will be their character in the play. You might suggest that they put this on at the library, or school or at a daycare center. I guarantee, that before you know it, you will have a full length tween masterpiece.
Below is a list of royalty free play online sites for tweens:
One Act Plays by Jimmy Brunelle
- Nancy D.