Curriculum Based Theatre -
Theatre In Education

Curriculum Based Theatre is the process of transferring topics covered in the academic curriculum, into dramatic pieces of text or theatre in education scripts.  These scripts are based around the facts and information pertinent to the particular topic and are put together in an interesting engaging way, meaning that the information is transferred into scenarios which are more accessible to students. 

curriculum based theatre

As with any script, curriculum based theatre needs to be rehearsed.  Rehearsal involves a lot of repetition and with repetition comes retention.  If the script covers all of the important information corresponding to a part of the academic syllabus, it stands to reason that, with rehearsal of a theatre in education script, comes an imbedded memory of the subject.  Scrips for children help them to learn without feeling that it is as much of an effort to do so – indeed, using theatre in education can make it become fun!Careers Play

Reflect Productions can write scripts for children to order, to cover the particulars of any topic. We can also meet requirements for number of children to be involved and period of time available for rehearsal.

shakespeareinschoolsWhat is Curriculum Based Theatre?
Curriculum based theatre is different from other forms of theatre in that the scripts for children/topics come directly from the classroom curriculum content, not from published scripts or stories. 

They are written to address prescribed standards of learning and can focus on a wide range of topics from History to Literature, Maths to Biology. The written emphasis is on INFORMING and ENTERTAINING through dialogue.

why is it useful ?

Why is it Useful?
Rehearsals and performances increase students’ abilities in reading text fluently.  Fluent readers read aloud smoothly and with expression.  They simultaneously recognise and understand words, improving vocabulary and pronunciation as well as developing confidence to apply learnt information.

Movement aids memory:  students will be encouraged to couple the expression in their voices with an appropriate gesture or movement. Any relevant gestures contribute to not only a more dynamic performance but also to increased retention of material.

Rehearsal equals repetition:  Rehearsing any script means repeating and reviewing lines, sound effects and gestures in preparation for performance.  In this sense, the term ‘rehearsal’ is not only a theatrical practice but also a learning strategy; as students recite material it increases their exposure to the subject in question.

Reading+ Reciting+ Repetition = Retention

In this sense, rehearsal is the preparation and the performance is the test.

Dramatising the curriculum by creating scripts for children and using theatre in education is one effective way of rehearsing for improved test results.  All school systems require students to retain information that requires SEMANTIC MEMORY.  That is the type of memory that involves the recollection of words – names, facts, figures and textbook information and is the weakest of our retrieval systems. 

Rehearsal and review strengthen semantic memory.
It is difficult to get students to read the same content material in any subject 10-15 times. Instead, by having topics transferred into scripts for childern, the rehearsals that follow act as a more inspiring and exciting form of repetition. The repeated content eventually becomes reflexive or automatic. Ideally it enters the long-term memory – retained for performance
and assessment.


the process

1: We need to know the topic to be covered, what standards the students are required to meet and what facts/information needs to be included in the theatre in education script

2: Who is to be involved?

How many children would you like to take part in the piece? How long would you like it to last and how much time do you have available for rehearsals?

3: Creating a Context For Presenting the Facts

We will come up with a context for presenting the required information and ensure that every student has individual involvement in the piece. The finished scripts for children will contain the necessary information, but will also be more than a dull recitation of facts. We will create theatre in education with interesting characters, plots and dramatic styles to ensure that the plays are interesting and engaging pieces of curriculum based theatre.

4: From Process to Product:

After creating the curriulum based theatre script for children, we will run a full rehearsal process with the students – culminating in a fully-staged piece of theatre. This can then be presented to selected audiences. This may be for fellow classmates, the class next door, a school assembly or parents. With performance as a goal, students are motivated to read, repeat and practice even the least compelling curriculum content because it is scripted in new, different and sometimes humorous ways and they want to do well in front of their peers. As this process was introduced in schools, teachers obviously had concerns about its efficacy and whether it detracted from or added to their pupils’ learning. However, the results from using theatre in education and drama in classroom situations have been overwhelmingly positive, as expressed by a teacher using the system in a school in the U.S.A: ‘I was a little worried in the beginning that the practice sessions we took to create and rehearse the script would take away from the time my students would need to learn curriculum objectives required by our school system. But, when I saw how enthusiastic the children were and how even my reluctant readers spoke their lines, I felt strongly that learning was taking place. During our class discussion, students said that they liked curriculum-based theatre because it helped them learn information, it was lots more fun than learning from the book, it made them think about what was important to know and they liked performing in front of the class.