“Behind the Scenes” of Primary Drama

A Primary class performs a play based on “A Picnic at Mudsock Meadow” by Patricia Polacco.

Children are natural performers. They are uninhibited, a little wacky and can cry on cue! All you need to do is watch a few minutes of recess and you will see a variety of plays happening: family, princesses, good versus evil, etc. Primary Drama is, in part, about harnessing this natural “dramatic play” and channelling it onto the stage.

What are the plays about?

This year each Primary Classroom will perform a play based on a Patricia Polacco book as part of an author study. Most of her stories are true (which the kids love) and are based on events from her childhood.

What happens behind the scenes?

During the month leading up to a performance, the second and third year Primary students have drama class once a week. We play theatre games, working on improvisation and creating characters. This foundation allows the children to have more confidence as we move to the stage. Once we move to the stage, we bring the first years in, first as observers and then as participants. Here we learn the parts of the stage (Downstage Left, Center Stage, Upstage Right, etc) so stage directions and blocking can be given. The students are taught how to stand properly on stage, project their voices, handle props and set pieces, and work with a scene partner. The culminating event is of course the performance for an audience of peers and families.

What is the outcome for students?

The excitement and pride the students feel by accomplishing this goal are palpable. Many children begin this process feeling nervous or unsure, and without fail they always meet or surpass my expectations! My goal in Primary Drama is for children to build confidence as speakers and performers, while developing appreciation for traditions of the theater—and most importantly, to have fun while doing so!


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