Playwriting with Young People

 

Learn to create your own play and make finger puppets along the way!

K-6 students will meet Core Standards in drama (create, perform/present/produce, respond, and connect). This one-of-a-kind tool strengthens students' writing skills and helps them create and perform their own work. The curriculum is easily adaptable to support any other subject or class project.


STUDENT PLAYWRITING FESTIVAL

During the 2020/21 school year, K-6 teachers across five school districts used our Playwriting With Young People curriculum to strengthen students' writing skills and help them create their own work.

We received 21 original plays, 1-5 pages long, created by 47 student playwrights at six different schools.

Conservatory students at Youth Theatre at the U rehearsed them weekly from April through July and then filmed readings of each them. Click the art below to watch!


A MESSAGE FROM AUTHOR JULIE JENSEN

"I tried to involve K-6 students the process of thinking like a playwright, improvising scenes with others, and then finally writing them down. What is unique about this program is that it helps students see that events and people from their own lives can be made into plays.

In the course of this curriculum, students understand the components make up a play, how to include conflict, how characters think and act, how stories work. In addition, students get a chance to play many parts, because in the course of the work, they improvise many characters. That means they have a chance to participate in several aspects of theatre, as an actor, as a creator, and as a writer.

Because the writing process is sometimes difficult for students, I tried in this curriculum to minimize the fear of the blank page. Improvisation takes the preciousness from the writing process and makes it merely play. That way students can work from several ideas and possibilities, rather than having to come up with everything on their own."

Julie Jensen is Utah's most produced playwright and a long-time member of The Lab, Plan-B's monthly gathering of local playwrights. Julie holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from Wayne State University and has seen more than 100 productions of her more than 30 plays, including two commissioned and premiered by the Kennedy Center Theatre For Young Audiences Program. She boasts an extensive 35-year teaching resume, including leading the MFA playwriting program at UNLV. Julie's book Playwriting: Brief and Brilliant (Smith and Kraus) is a clear, concise and accessible introduction to the craft of playwriting. Her K-6 playwriting curriculum, Playwriting With Young People (illustrated by Andrew Livingston and translated into Spanish by Isabella Reeder) is those same things for K-6 educators and their students.


THE CURRICULUM

Please click here to download a PDF with clickable links to the curriculum as well as all support materials (lesson plans, videos, audio files, worksheets) in English & Spanish! Also includes our Feedback Survey, K-6 Pacing Guides, and Utah Core Standards for Drama in English.

Special thanks to Penny Caywood and Youth Theatre at the U.