Bettyann Henderson, a veteran drama teacher, shares her expertise after years of running a successful theater program in a small, private school environment. This is a K–12 plan for developing a theater program that simultaneously cultivates the rhetorical skills of a classical school and the homeschool environment. The author describes how to develop rhetorical skills early on and how to practically provide students with training and venues that create not only theater productions but also curricular and cocurricular activities in the context of relationship and community.
You will find this text incredibly helpful for starting a program, developing an existing program, organizing a single event, or working with your students on their rhetorical skills in the classroom or homeschool environment. Each chapter deals with specific aspects of working from page to stage. Included are parent-student forms and photographs, calendars, character worksheets, scheduling suggestions, and instructions for compiling the production script. The blend of brass tacks, curricular goals, and high-minded fun will delight you and your students.
The style of theater described in these pages is best applied to the intimacy of a small theater space. All of the advice applies to larger groups as well; however, our experience has proven the benefits of the smaller theater space.
Essential Theater, a wealth of resources, is organized in the following manner:
- An overview of a theater and rhetoric curriculum for each stage of the classical trivium
- Chapters about the practical needs of a theatrical production
- Handouts, illustrations, and examples of forms and charts
- Recommended scripts and additional resources
Bettyann Henderson serves with Bookend Consultancy helping classical schools to establish co-curricular programs in music and theater. From a childhood filled with piano recitals, marching band, and amateur plays, it seemed natural for her to direct a children’s choir and teach K–6 music while still in her teens. Throughout four decades of teaching K–12 classroom and extracurricular programs, she has produced and directed over 130 plays and musical programs. Writing curriculum materials—which range from “Kodaly for Kindergartners” to University of Colorado teacher training courses “Shakespeare at 14” and “Film Adaptations of Great Novels”—has been a favorite pursuit.
Her position as a staff member with Musik-Brücken, a voluntary educational outreach group, often takes her into alpine village schools in Austria. Bettyann received her second master’s degree when she spent a year in England studying Shakespeare—and other English literature—with British tutors at Wroxton College in Oxfordshire; her first was an MEd from the Graduate School of Education, Reformed Theological Seminary. She also has a BA in liberal arts from Colorado Christian University and a BA in biblical literature from Highland College in California.