10 Spectacular Strategies to Grow Your Theater Program

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If you’re a high school theater teacher on a mission to grow or transform your program into an electrifying hub of artistic expression, you’ve landed in the right place. Picture this: a theatre program where students shine, creativity knows no bounds, and the sense of community is as strong as any Broadway ensemble. With this in mind, here are 10 Spectacular Strategies to Grow Your Theater Program.

  1. Dazzle with Diversity: Let’s break out of the theatrical mold! Select shows that resonate with the eclectic tastes of your students. Find plays and musicals that mirror their interests, cultures, and stories. When the stage reflects their world, you’ve got a captive audience and a growing program.
  2. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Set the stage for collaboration. Imagine a place where the spotlight is shared and every voice matters. Ice-breakers, trust-building games, and workshops can turn a group of students into a tight-knit ensemble, ready to tackle the world – or at least the next scene.
  3. Rising Stars Take the Lead: Pass the directorial baton to your students! Empower them to craft their own productions. You’ll see their talents sparkle like never before. It can be scary to give away creative control, but your students will feel empowered, and students who feel empowered will become leaders and champions for your Theatre program. Plus, they’ll be learning skills that extend far beyond the stage.
  4. Lights, Camera, Education: Call in the pros! Theatre Professionals – actors, directors, playwrights, producers, stage managers, and others– can ignite the passion of budding thespians through workshops and masterclasses in person or over Zoom. Real-world insights, techniques, and stories from the trenches will not only light up their passion for theatre but will also help them discover the many different career paths available for working in the performing arts.
  5. Mentorship Magic: Bridge the gap between seasoned performers and fresh-faced newcomers. Pairing mentors with mentees creates a support network as strong as the energy backstage before opening night. It’s a win-win – the mentors learn leadership, and the mentees find guidance from the pros. If you don’t have connections to outside theatre pros, don’t worry; have your upper-class students mentor your younger students.
  6. Social Media Spotlight: Say hello to the digital stage. Let your students capture and share behind-the-scenes snippets, rehearsal antics, and dazzling backstage moments. They’ll be the kings and queens of content creation in no time, and it might even encourage other students to consider getting involved. You have also now created a Marketing team; what else could this team do to promote your season and grow your program?
  7. Tech Talk: It is time to turn up the tech quotient. Merge classic theater with cutting-edge tech craft. Think projections, lighting effects, and even virtual reality surprises. Your students will be enthralled, and traditional theater will get a futuristic facelift.
  8. All Together Now: Don’t just collaborate with the music, art, and dance departments. Get creative with your outreach. Ask a history teacher to give background on your play’s time and place. Ask the library to pull books that can inspire research in your title. This fusion of talents will leave your students spellbound, and they’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the arts and how other subjects can inform and enhance the entire production.
  9. Theater Expedition: Ready to explore? Pack your bags and head out for theater escapades. Local theaters, festivals, and professional productions await. These experiences will spark inspiration and ignite a lifelong passion for the stage. Reach out early and ask about group discounts, or see if you can do a talkback with the cast after the show. If they do it on Broadway (and they do), most theatres can also make this happen for a school group; make sure to reach out early. Plus, if there is one thing I’ve learned, most actors never get tired of talking about themselves and their work.
  10. Applause for Achievements: Roll out the red carpet for your students. Celebrate their triumphs – big and small – with awards, certificates, and public recognition. Their dedication will shine even brighter when they feel the center of attention. This is also a great way to get parents involved. Parents will support activities they see their child is being successful at. Parent support turns into community support, which enhances your theatre program and how your school community and administration view you.

In the grand finale, remember this: the stage isn’t just a platform; it’s a world of endless possibilities. You’re crafting a legacy of creativity, camaraderie, and captivating performances by unleashing these ten strategies. Every line learned, every friendship forged, and every curtain call is a testament to the magic of theater – and you’re the maestro making it all happen. Break a Leg!

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