Projects give students an opportunity to study specific aspects of drama in depth. Ideally, these projects also should give students room to flex their creative muscles and explore new interests. Drama programs present solid opportunities for interactive projects, as students can combine academic studies with practical theater exercises in a single assignment.
Costumes play a major role in establishing characters, so costume design is a fundamental part of stagecraft. Have your students pick plays from different historical eras. Then, assign them to research costuming techniques that were used when the play was first staged. Using that information, have the students create historically accurate designs of their own creation. Along with illustrations of their costumes, students can either turn in a paper explaining their costuming choices or make an oral presentation.
Drama stems from oral tradition, and practicing storytelling can help students develop stage presence. Have your students choose a traditional folktale or a family story to develop. Work with your students to explain the principles of oral tradition and how to handle a workshop of their chosen stories. After the students are confident with their pieces, let them present their stories to the class.
Create a Playbill
Have students create a playbill to help them understand all the components that go into a production, as well as get a taste for marketing. Make sure students include costume descriptions, set descriptions, plot summary, fake cast and crew lists and an evocative cover design. Students can use an existing play or base their bill on an imaginary text. Have them write a paper detailing their choices and the impact they hope it would make on their audience.
In class, discuss theatrical masks from around the world. Let students choose a type of mask to work with. Have them research the theatrical styles associated such a mask and how it is used in performance. Then let the students create masks with papier-mâché in class. Have the students use their masks while they present a sample of it's tradition's theatrical style.