Homeschoolers love to act! There are many opportunities for acting in non-professional theater. For the purposes of this article, I am including theater groups designed especially for homeschoolers with theater groups in the larger community. At each step of the way there is a lot to learn.
After seeing several audition notices, you have to decide which one(s) you want to audition for. In order o choose a play, you need to look ahead, make some choices, and do some planning. Some groups have competitive auditions in which only some of the auditioners get in the show. Other groups accept everyone and the participants only audition for parts. Look at the time commitment required before you sign up. Which show would be fun to do? Is the show appropriate? . There are groups in which all the actors are children, and groups that have adult and child performers. You also have to look at your calendar to see if you are available for auditions, most rehearsals, and the show itself.
Preparing for an audition involves choosing a song and/or monologue. Children will learn that this has to be done enough in advance so they have time to practice. They will be able to see their improvement over time. The audition itself can be a scary experience, but children will learn how to present themselves. Theater auditions provide experience that will help them with job interviews in the future.
Rehearsals are a great way to learn about and practice teamwork. When one person isn’t there it is harder for everyone else. If someone doesn’t get on stage at the right time it makes everyone feel embarrassed. One person missing a line means the next person doesn’t have his cue. Participants’ individual skills also improve as they memorize their lines and their blocking (where to be on the stage).
Theater productions work well as unit studies. You can study the history which is depicted in the play, and the history of theater that shapes the play. Study topics can include vocabulary, psychology, character development, and more. If there is a movie of the theater production, watch it and compare the two. You can also use the opportunity to learn about choreography and dance, directing, singing, and songwriting.
Community theater also provides opportunities for homeschoolers who want to work behind the scenes. There may be some age limitations, but groups are always looking for people to help with sets, costumes, props, and backstage work. Groups also need ushers and people to sell tickets and/or refreshments.
My daughters have been involved in many productions over the years. They have performed in homeschool Shakespeare productions and in community theater, musicals and dramas, children’s groups and adult groups. We have found theater productions to be great experiences for all of us.