Type: Theatre Basics
Purpose: To understand the directional terms for staging
1. Briefly discuss with the students stage history and layout: Hundreds of years ago, stages were raked, which means the back of the stage was higher than the front. Since the audiences’ seats were usually on a flat level, the stage was raked so that everyone could see the actors more easily.
2. Draw a stage on the board.
3. With the previous information in mind…have students guess what each area of the stage was called (i.e. Upstage, Downstage, Center Stage, Stage Right, and Stage Left).
4. Explain that the directions are always from the ACTOR’S point of view.
5. Label each area as the students name them correctly.
6. Ask a volunteer to come to the front of the classroom.
7. Have the volunteer face the other students (call them the audience).
8. Now, ask the student to take one step to Stage Left. If correct, ask student to step back to Center Stage and repeat this process with all of the directions. Consider asking more volunteers, making the directions come quicker and quicker.
9. Invite the whole class to the “stage”. Give them the same exercise.
10. Consider making it more interesting by adding an emotion or activity to the process. (i.e. Saunter downstage left as if your goldfish just died. Skip upstage as if you just received straight A’s. etc.)
Below is a chart we include as part of the “Introduction to Musical Theatre” that comes with every Production Kit to our musicals.