It’s spring, and aside from being that glorious time of year when we can finally start replenishing our supply of Vitamin D, it’s a great time to consider alternative settings for classroom play performances. “All the world’s a stage,” writes Shakespeare in As You Like It, which sounds to me like a good excuse to ditch the school auditorium and head out of doors. Take a walk around your school campus. That grassy knoll, that bridge across the playground structures, and the steps in front of the dilapidated main building might all be excellent venues. Have the performers present their play at the top of the steps, or seat your audience on the steps themselves and stage the play down below. Keep props and costumes to a minimum, provide your kids with multiple opportunities to practice (which builds fluency), and be sure to invite other classes to come watch.
Excellent plays to perform out-of-doors include How Jackie Saved the World (see previous post), Fly Me to the Moon (about the Apollo moon landing), Bird Girl (about Sacagawea), and my personal favorite, Peter Rabbit (a great one for olders to perform for youngers). If you’re lucky enough to have access to back issues of Scholastic’s Storyworks magazine, try Aesop’s Fables, Tom Sawyer’s Saturday, or Babe, the Valiant Pig. Finally, plan to take your back-to-school plays outside as well. Consider using my play, Cyclops vs. Odysseus, which originally appeared in Scholastic’s Scope magazine in September 2012. It’ll be available through TpT this August.