Drama teachers rarely have enough time in the classroom to adequately focus on improving literacy in the Dramatic Arts. When so many theatre classes are group exercises that are project-driven, teachers struggle to ensure that kids learn about plays and playwrights. Further, how can theatre teachers truly measure a student’s learning progress? Luckily, computers in the classroom and constant online access have bred kids who are quick to use the internet. New programs like StageAgent for Schools have been launched to help fill these teaching gaps in the typical drama classroom. StageAgent for Schools has now been adopted by the drama programs at 24 Dallas ISD high schools. In this post, Lisa Cotie, a theatre teacher at the award-winning Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, discusses the genesis of the StageAgent for Schools program and why drama teachers need to bring StageAgent for Schools into their classrooms.
Every actor’s (or stage manager’s) journey is unique and joining the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) is a personal decision that only you can make. I suppose it’s appropriate that I weigh in on this topic as it’s a decision I am in the middle of making myself. My life and career have presented an opportunity which begs the question, are you ready? Your path will be different, or perhaps similar! In either case, here I am, an actor teetering on the edge of Equity. What about you?
Fitness truly comes in all shapes and sizes. The word fit means “able to do a task.” That’s it. Nothing more. But when you get a theatre job, it can actually be a great time to “get in shape,” whatever that means to you. If you’re already strong and fit, maybe your goal is to be stronger. Or maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds. Or maybe you’ve never seriously exercised and want to start. This is a great time for two reasons: the first, you are likely away from home and away from the distractions of your day-to-day life (like friends, a day job, your favorite TV show on the DVR); the second, once your show is running, you have an insane amount of free time. What else are you going to do with all that time?
Performers of any kind rely on their bodies. Whether they are dancing, singing, or acting the most dramatic roles, a performer needs access to their abilities and their emotional life. As performing artists, we’ve chosen a difficult path, one often laden with long hours, little rest, constant practice and training, for what at times can be little reward. To survive in this environment, and hopefully thrive, you must have your health, and be able to maintain your health when you’re away from home.
As a singer or performer, your voice is not only your business, but your business partner—it gets you jobs, it keeps you in communication with the world, and of course, lets you perform. It’s important to keep your instrument healthy to support not only your performance goals, but also your everyday life.