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  • 1.  24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 03-31-2014 13:49
    We are trying a 24 hour theatre project this year for the first time where students will write and perform short plays with in a 24 hour period. I would love to know what has worked for you if you have done this before, and if there are any particular tips you have learned that you would be willing to share. Thank you! ------------------------------------------- Cathy Swain-Abrams -------------------------------------------

  • 2.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 03-31-2014 21:57
    I same across that idea at a workshop in Nebraska this year. We are having an interest meeting tomorrow. So excited!!!! I just read all my notes from the workshop and plan to execute it in a similar way. Fingers crossed!

    Carolyn Little
    High School English Teacher
    Toms River Board of Education


    Sent via Higher Logic Mobile

  • 3.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-01-2014 07:23
    I would love to hear more about this as well! I am considering this for next year as I currently have 17 students enrolled in my directing class. I typically have had 7 or so and have done a festival of one acts. I am not sure how I will do that with 17 in terms of number of performers available and the costs of performance rights for so many. I have considered pairing them up and doing their main directing project as a 24 hour play format in which they write and direct them in pairs.

    Victoria Kesling Councill
    Theatre Teacher
    New Kent County Public Schools


  • 4.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-01-2014 16:26

    I love that you want to bring this experience to your school, how fun! Similarly, I participated in the 48 Hour Film Project for a number of years and it was the highlight of many summers. Obviously, they are not exactly the same experience, but I can share a couple tips that I think will still help you.

    -Don't expect an amazing end result, the amazing part is the process. Most of our films were fairly awful (although one actually did end up winning an award), but every single year we had a blast putting it together and memories that will last a lifetime.

    -Create an hour-by-hour timeline and stick to it. This is a really tight deadline! Be sure the writers know when they must have a finished script, the actors know when they must be memorized, etc.

    -Have the entire group together for the entire time. Don't tell actors to report later or dismiss writers once the script is written. Actors can help writers with dialogue or throw out ideas when they get stuck, writers might need to do rewrites at the last minute.

    -Be sure the individuals involved are truly committed to the project and won't flake out on you. Trying to track someone down when you're on such tight deadline is stressful.

    -Know your strengths and use them. We made the mistake of trying to do a drama one year when we were clearly a comedy team. It was, without a doubt, the worst 48 hour film in the history of mankind.

    -Collect everyone's cell phone numbers and make sure they are all charged and turned on before the event begins. There will undoubtedly be food runs, costume foraging, and the occasional nap so have an easy way to keep in touch to avoid delays and extra trips.

    -Have a couple volunteer "runners" who will take the above mentioned food runs, costume foraging and naps (back-up alarm clock) seriously. Parent volunteers would be great for this task. They can also be the ones who document the event by camera or video to tell the story of how your play came together.

    -Have fun! This is one of those events that you will learn so much from the first time around and will hardly be able to wait to try it again.

    Keep us posted on what you learn in the process!

    Ginny Butsch
    Community Manager
    Educational Theatre Association


  • 5.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-02-2014 07:23
    I have done a 24 Hr. play fest for the last eight years, and it is my favorite event of the year.  Running it is simple. We meet at 7PM on a Friiday, students have signed up to be directors, writers, or actors (sometimes they double up on jobs, but not directing and acting).  The writers pick the name of their director out of a hat, then the directors pick actors out of the hat until they are all gone.  I give them one sentence that they must all use somewhere in their play  - last year was "And that's how I learned to Rumba", they meet for awhile, then go home writers write, etc.  The next morning at 9 we all meet again, they rehearse all day, at 7PM our audience comes in and we do the show.  Some years we also produce a behind the scenes video - but not always.  It is awesome, everything on the stage is their creativity, I just help trouble shoot through the day.

    Jeffrey Davis


  • 6.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-02-2014 18:55
    I would like to learn more too, especially get someone else's format and calendar.  We signed up last year for the one near Palo Alto, but only 2 schools signed up so they cancelled it.  My kids were disappointed so this year we did a student-directed one-act festival this year that went pretty darn well.
    Thank you.

    Valerie O'Riordan


  • 7.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-02-2014 22:41
    I apologize for the length of post, but we have learned a lot over the years on this...

    We have been doing a 24 hour Theatre project for about 7 years.  It's called X-treme Theatre and we do it in May as the final production to our season.  It started out as a way for the Theatre Department to participate in our Fine/Performing  Arts Week. We have between 50-80 students participate each year and usually create 3 original works (about 10-15 minutes in length) complete with costumes, scenery, lighting, sound, and most lines memorized. In addition, we workshop a Improv session during the day for anyone that wants to try it on Saturday (given by a professional improv guy). The evening is opened with a 20 minute Improv show. After the show, we do a Q&A session and then use everyone to strike.

    Here's how it works for us....

    1 month before:  Myself and Joe, the other theatre teacher,  dream up what requirements we will have for the plays (usually about 10).  We have found that it is more interesting, challenging, and produces a more complete product if we do this.  Requirements may apply to acting (specific characters required, words/lines spoken, etc.), or tech/design (props to be included, scenery specifics, sound effects required, etc.) We try to make requirements based on the group of students we have.  Some years, tech has been strong and we will put some real challenges in (actor must float across stage with no visible means of support) and some years, we have had strong musical kids (there must be at least 5 original songs supported by dialogue and plot).  In the past we have had themes such as "Dr. Seuss All Grown Up" - Teenagers life lessons told in Dr. Seuss fashion, "8-4-2-1" - 8 scenes, combined into 4, combined into 2, combined into 1, etc.   

    2 weeks before:
    Sign-ups for students: They can select from the following jobs: Production Manager, Head Writer, Writer, Director,  Actor, Designer (Scenic, Costume, Lighting), Technician.  The day before the event (it starts on Friday night), we send them a notice if they will be spending the night or not.  With the exception of actors and technicians, everyone spends the night.  Actors and tech can also be writers, and some do just so they can be a part of the "entire" experience.  
    Sign-ups for adults:  I have one adult be responsible for coordinating all meals.  We supply all snacks, breakfast/lunch/dinner on Saturday.  Each students' parent is required to help with meals/snacks. Students do not leave the school. 

    Friday night, 7:30pm: EVERYONE gathers and we reveal the Theme and Requirements, and what each students job will be.  Writers, directors, and designers stay, actors and techs dismissed until 7:30am.
    Friday night, 8:00pm: Writing begins, Head Writer in charge of each writing team. Writers are given their cast make-up (male/female).  Designers begin to determine what is available to use, current inventory, etc.  Nothing can be built or pulled before 8am. Production Manager publishes a schedule with meetings with all writers/directors usually every 2-4 hours, what the rehearsal schedule will be, etc. This person is ultimately responsible for the entire production. 
    Midnight - I go home and sleep....
    Saturday Morning, 6am: Directors and Joe meet to cast shows. Copies of scripts run.
    Saturday, 7:30am Breakfast for all
    Saturday 8am - Rehearsals begin, Costume/Scenic/Lighting/Sound/Prop work starts
    Saturday 12pm - Lunch
    Saturday 3pm- Tech for shows begin, sets/lighting/sound/props complete
    Saturday 5pm - Dinner for all
    Saturday 5:30-7pm - Final Dress for shows
    Saturday 7:30pm Show time

    If you want more info or planning materials, contact me at  I'd be glad to help as I feel this is an extremely valuable production that forces students to produce under extreme pressure, allows students to try their hand in different roles (actors being techs and vice versa), and enforces how important the creative process is to theatre.

    Hope this helps.


    Michael Cordonnier


  • 8.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-01-2014 19:51
    My school has completed a 24-Hour Theatre play for the past 3 years.

    I usually have my Thespian Officers and Seniors take on the task of writing the show. We start at 7pm Friday night. It is treated like a lock-in. They brainstorm all sorts of ideas. At 7am Saturday morning, the "cast" shows up for rehearsal. These are students who have previously signed up stating that they wanted to participate. This also ensures that we have written parts for everyone who wants to perform. We use our UIL unit set pieces as the core of our set designs. There is no budget. The students must pull props and costumes from what the theatre already has or from what they may have at home. We do have a basic light plot that has been set up before hand, but the actual design and cues are written during the rehearsal period. At 7pm Saturday night, the curtain opens on our world-premier show.

    Generally, we have written a single show that includes all performers. I do think it may be easier for small groups to write different scenes depending on the number of writers you have. This worked out best for our latest show: "Channel Surfing." It was about a woman who stayed home sick from work and flipped through different tv channels. We had an infomercial, a Russian workout video, a Spanish soap opera (using only Spanish learned in the 5th grade), a family game show, and a ghost hunting show. It worked out great! Other 24 Hour shows included CSI: Fairy Tale Unit (Snow White turned up dead) and The Real World: Exiled from Mt. Olympus (a weird mix of Greek Mythology and the Seven Deadly Sins).

    I'm considered the director for the show, but the students take so much ownership over the individual scenes because they wrote them.

    This is something that my students look forward to all year.

    Break a leg!

    Christopher Rogers
    Director of Theatre
    Bryan High School
    Bryan, Texas

  • 9.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-02-2014 08:53
    I have been directing a 24-hour theatre project with my high school students for the past 8 years. I have between 50 and 60 students overnight in the theatre from Friday to Saturday night when we perform the show. I always do it over a three day weekend (I choose MLK weekend) so we all have an extra day to recover. I usually have about 30 theatre students and invite 10 music and 10 visual art students to participate. I divide them randomly into 10 teams of 5 with each "team" having three theatre students one musician and one visual artist to collaborate on design, sound/music, and script. We start at 7 PM Friday. I announce the theme which I keep secret until then. We share thoughts as a large groups then break into teams. By Midnight, each team must present an outline for their scene including any teach, set, props, music, costumes, lighting they are considering. The entire group critiques each. Some are sent back to the drawing board. At 6:30 AM we begin blocking out each scene. Each team gets 15 Minutes of stage time. After lunch we tech. At 4 PM we do a dress tech. At 6:30 we open doors for audience. 7 PM show time. Each scene is usually 5 - 8 minutes long and we average about an hour show each year. It is truly amazing the variety and quality we get from the kids. They look forward to it every year!

    William Eyerly


  • 10.  RE:24 Hour Theatre Project

    Posted 04-02-2014 10:51
    Just like Ginny, I too have taken part in a few 48-Hour Film festivals - some amongst just my classmates in school and other times among all of Cincinnati.

    The way we would traditionally do it would be that all groups had to use certain elements in their movie to qualify. A character name, a prop, and a line of dialogue would be pulled from a hat and each group would take note. Then the groups would all get different genre's.

    My favorite part was coming together to watch the final products. It was always interesting to me to see how the different groups would use the required elements within their genre. It seems to me that all of this could carry over to theatre as well. It would be particularly interesting to see how groups would use the props on stage.

    Kevin George
    Educational Theatre Association