Photo Credit: charleshogan54
Writing is crucial in the theatre classroom. To learn theatre you have to take an active role in the classroom to really learn. This involves writing, writing plays, reviews of shows and yes, even papers. A common practice for theatre classes is to give extra credit for students seeing theatre outside the school, and write a review of their experience in live theatre. Even if a student never writes a story or a play, theatre requires writing in order to analyze plays. Analyzing a play is an important part of learning about a play. No matter what role you are playing or working in the production it requires you to analyze the play and do the corresponding paper work. With out writing there would be no theatre, no plays, no reviews or critiques. If you cannot critique and review of theatre then the art will never grow, neither will students. While students may come the theatre classroom full of talent and training they will be stuck where they are if they lack the ability to write about theater.
There have been multiple book in fact written to help students write solely about theatre. Such as “How to Write About Theatre” written by Mark Fisher, this book dedicated to teaching a range of different people how to writing in theatre in many different forms. “Today, more people than ever are writing about theatre, but whether you’re blogging, tweeting or writing an academic essay, your challenges as a critic remain the same: how to capture a performance in words, how to express your opinions and how to keep the reader entertained.”
There are so many platforms to write about theatre it is the responsibility of the teacher to bring these into the classroom. That is one thing that the flexible curriculum of theatre allows teachers to do; bring new and creative ways of teaching and learning to an other wise would be straight forward lesson. Giving student the opportunity to express writing in new and interesting ways can light a fire within them giving them a love of it for the rest of their lives. English classes are where students learn to write but given the opportunity and the tools theatre classes can be where they learn to love writing.
Here is Stephen Sondheim, one of the giants of musical theatre talking about his writing process.
 Fisher, Mark. How to Write about Theatre. New York: Bloomsbury, n.d. Print.