School of Theatre > For educators > In your classroom > Performance Lab
Bring your curriculum to life! Performance Lab is a program in which middle and high school students create plays that are rooted in a particular topic or theme as identified by the classroom teacher, such as a required novel, a historical period or a theme inspired by one of Berkeley Rep’s productions. Through interactive exercises, students are taught practical theatre skills such as acting, script analysis and character development. This program also incorporates creative writing and critical thinking assignments to challenge students and spark their engagement, giving them a deeper experience with the subjects that they study and a richer understanding of the world of theatre. Berkeley Rep Teaching Artists will modify curriculum based on students’ grade, level of experience and teacher feedback. Performance Lab is offered as a ten-hour workshop and concludes with a culminating event.
- Develops theatrical skills and knowledge in middle and high school students.
- Students develop the skills necessary to create short plays through writing exercises, improvisation, individual and group work.
- Strengthens creative writing skills, and brings the students’ words to life.
- Connects classroom curriculum to the performing arts.
- By exploring characters through writing and hands-on exercises, students develop an increased understanding of others’ points of view.
- Provides an avenue for creative expression and increased self-confidence.
- Offers flexibility of curriculum for students in all degrees of learning, ELL, students from different cultural backgrounds and students with learning and physical disabilities.
To bring Performance Lab into your classroom, please complete the registration form. We will contact you to confirm your scheduling once we have received all necessary registration information.
September 2012–May 2013
maximum class size
30 students / 1 teaching artist
- First one-hour workshop—FREE * (one hour per public school)
- 10-hour session—$55/hour
- Non-public schools—$75/hour
* Limited to one free teaching hour per public school in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties. Based on availability of Berkeley Rep School of Theatre staff. Limited to 30 students per classroom. Must sign and agree to Berkeley Rep School of Theatre booking agreement.
** Due to high fuel costs, schools located over 50 miles away from Berkeley Repertory Theatre may be charged an additional transportation fee.
new concepts and vocabulary introduced
- Character development
- Dramatic structure
- Giving and taking focus
- Non-narrative structure
- Non-verbal communication
- Point of view
- Time / Mood
- Use of language
All of the subjects below are integrated into the Performance Lab curriculum. Depending on grade level and the chosen curriculum, some subjects are explored further than others.
all standards covered
English Language Arts: Writing: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4; Listening & Speaking: 1.1, 1.2, 1.7, 1.11, 1.12, 2.1, 2.2
Visual and Performing Arts, Theatre: 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3
English Language Arts
- Demonstrate an understanding of the elements of discourse (e.g., purpose, speaker, audience, form) when completing narrative, expository, persuasive or descriptive writing assignments.
- Use point of view, characterization, style (e.g., use of irony) and related elements for specific rhetorical and aesthetic purposes.
- Write fictional or autobiographical narratives, including developing a standard plot line (having a beginning, conflict, rising action, climax and denouement) and point of view.
- Develop complex major and minor characters and a definite setting.
- Use a range of appropriate strategies (e.g., dialogue; suspense; naming of specific narrative action, including movement, gestures and expressions).
- Relate a clear, coherent incident, event or situation by using well-chosen details.
- Reveal the significance of, or the writer’s attitude about, the subject.
- Employ narrative and descriptive strategies (e.g., relevant dialogue, specific action, physical description, background description, comparison or contrast of characters).
- Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures and feelings of the characters; use interior monologue to depict the characters’ feelings.
- Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate changes in time and mood.
- Listening and Speaking
- Assess how language and delivery affect the mood and tone of the oral communication and make an impact on the audience.
- Explore the significance of personal experiences, events, conditions or concerns, using appropriate rhetorical strategies (e.g., narration, description, exposition, persuasion).
- Draw comparisons between the specific incidents and broader themes that illustrate the speaker’s beliefs or generalizations about life.
- Maintain a balance between describing the incident and relating it to more general, abstract ideas.
Visual and Performing Arts, Theatre
- Artistic Perception
- Observe and describe the traits of a character and identify the differences between real people and imaginary characters.
- Identify a character’s objectives and motivations to explain that character’s behavior.
- Identify dramatic elements within a script, such as foreshadowing, crisis, rising action, catharsis and denouement, using the vocabulary of theatre.
- Creative Expression
- Write and perform scenes or one-act plays that include monologue, dialogue, action, setting together with a range of character types.
- Use effective vocal and facial expression, gesture and timing to create character.
- Write and perform scenes that include monologue, dialogue, action, setting together with a range of character types.
- Create characters, environments and actions that exhibit tension and suspense.
- Improvise or write dialogues and scenes, applying basic dramatic structure (exposition, complication, crises, climax and resolution) and including complex characters with unique dialogue that motivates the action.
- Historical and Cultural Context
- Create scripts that reflect particular historical periods or cultures.
- Aesthetic Valuing
- Report on how a specific actor used drama to convey meaning in his or her performances.
- Connections, Relationships, Applications
- Demonstrate projection, vocal variety, diction, gesture and confidence in an oral presentation.
- Use theatrical skills to communicate concepts or ideas from other curriculum areas, such as a demonstration in history or social science of how persuasion and propaganda are used in advertising.
- Describe how skills acquired in theatre may be applied to other content areas and careers.
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