Whether your school has its own drama department and puts on plays throughout the year, there's no reason you can't start your own club for like-minded friends who enjoy theatre as much as you do. It's a great way to improve your communication skills, study the works of great playwrights from different time periods and maybe even try your hand at writing your own scripts.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Survey your friends from school to see how many of them might be interested in joining your new club. Four to six people is a good number for starting out. Word-of-mouth publicity always helps to spread the news. However, if you have a school newspaper, cafeteria or library notice board where students can post meetings and events, you'll want to use these channels, too.
Decide what kinds of activities the drama club will offer to its members. For instance, you may want to use the group as a forum for reading different kinds of plays aloud and then talking about them. Maybe there are several theatres in your community, and the purpose of your drama club will be to attend live performances and write reviews for your school's newspaper. Yet another type of drama club is one in which the members are writing original skits and scripts for the group to workshop.
Identify a place and a time for your drama club to meet. If it's a small group, you might want to rotate meeting at each other's houses after school or on weekends. Check with your school adviser to see if there is a classroom that you can use during the lunch hour. Your school librarian might have some meeting place ideas, too. If the weather is cooperative, you can even hold club meetings outdoors.
Determine how often your drama club is going to meet. As fun and exciting as any new club can be, keep in mind that the hours spent going to meetings shouldn't come at the expense of your homework, your extra-curricular sports or time spent with your family. Survey your fellow club members to see how often they'd like to meet. Once every week or two is a good schedule if you're getting together and reading scripts out loud. If you're planning to put on an actual production, you'll need to allow more time for rehearsals.
Decide how the plays will be chosen. If it's a small group, for instance, it would be fair to rotate among the members and have each one get to pick a script before the cycle repeats itself. Since the time you have available may be limited, it's usually a better idea to pick one-act plays that can easily be read and discussed within the time frame allocated. Generally, one-act plays also have more roles to be assigned than a longer play that might have just a few characters. The URLs at the end of this article provide you with good places to find scripts if your school library is light on drama.
Use a photocopy machine to make enough copies of the script for your group meetings. This is another good reason why one-act scripts are a better choice for you than longer works. Check with your school adviser to see if you can use a school copy machine. Otherwise, you'll need to take your scripts to the nearest Kinko's and have to pay to have your copies made.
Tips and warnings
- A fun exercise sometime might be to have each member of the drama club bring a monologue that has special meaning to her.
- To ensure that the same people don't keep getting the lead roles, put each character's name on a slip of paper and have everyone pick them out of a hat. (And yes, this can lead to boys getting girls' roles and vice versa!)
- In addition to anthologies of one-acts for young actors, "Plays: The Drama Magazine for Young People" also produces a monthly magazine of 8 to 10 new plays. Check with your school librarian to see if your school already has a subscription.
- Allow equal time for everyone in the group to participate. If the time starts being "hogged" by the same people over and over, it's not going to be as much fun for everyone else, and your attendance will drop off.
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