[From Debra: Jill is an award-winning director in our regional theater community and widely-respected. She successfully moved her local acting classes online during the pandemic, so I asked her to recreate them here at Aim Academy. If you are interested in acting or even have experience, you will learn a lot about portraying compelling characters on stage from Jill!]
This live online acting class is for high school students 9th–12th. During this seven-week course, students will learn beginning acting and character development techniques using games and exercises that work well in an online environment. The course will help students learn the skills required to bring a character to life on stage. Additionally, students will learn to analyze character development by viewing assigned scenes from theatrical production and film and then discussing them together as a class. Students will develop self-confidence and poise, while increasing their appreciation for the dramatic arts.
The class is aligned with the National Standards of the Theatre Arts.
The class includes weekly one-hour meetings on Zoom with a small class size. Class attendance is required, and participation is necessary. Students will present individually and, at times, with a partner or in small groups. Class time is essential for students to participate in discussion and exercises, leading them to awareness and understanding of character development. Each class builds on the next, making it necessary for students to come to class prepared and ready for challenge and fun! Even through a virtual experience, students will still come away with an understanding of what stage performance requires.
This mini course can be used as a partial credit for language arts, public speaking, or fine arts elective.
Goals for the class include:
- Students become familiar with all elements of the theatre.
- They understand acting tools and techniques.
- They understand the rules and reasons for improvisational exercises.
- They become comfortable with theatre games and exercises.
- They learn the many aspects of a stage character.
- They understand the development of characters through games and exercises.
- They learn how to develop a character from the imagination.
- They create and use developed characters in improvisational exercises.
Assignments may include:
- Observe and record movements and mannerisms of people in a public setting.
- Observe and record movements and mannerisms of people in your household.
- Read assigned articles and prepare for group discussion.
- Create a bio of an imagined character.
- Video record an improvised monologue.
- Participate in an interview with your developed character.
- Attend a play and choose one character to observe and create a report.
- One test will be given to measure comprehension.
There are no mandatory texts to purchase. Articles and partial scripts will be provided. Attendance to one local play is necessary, which may require an admittance fee.
As a teacher, I am very enthusiastic about developing the creativity and talents of young people through theatre. Taking an acting class does not require one to major in musical theatre in college or become a stage actor in community theatre. I believe acting helps to create life-long skills including public speaking, being believable and honest, using the imagination, understanding motivation and tactics, and more. I challenge my students in their work, offer feedback, and generously encourage them.
Who should enroll?
Students in 9th—12th grade should enroll in this class. This class will be the foundational class for all further and more advanced Aim Academy acting courses.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and working microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Digital camera (can be phone with camera), or other means to record individual acting exercises
Evaluation and Feedback:
- All homework will be submitted and formally critiqued through Canvas.
- The National Standards for the Theatre Arts will provide a rubric for some exercises.
- Individual assessment and encouragement will be provided weekly.
- Students will learn to critique others in positive and helpful ways to help them be good actors and good audience members.