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  • 1.  Upper level Courses

    Posted 11-22-2022 08:44
    Hi All-

    I'm looking to find ways to boost enrollment in my upper level courses.   This year, we had nearly 40 students involved in our extra-curricular fall production (which is great for us) and enrollment in my beginner and intermediate classes is solid.  The issue is that, even when the kids have fun doing the extra-curricular shows, about 2/3 of them never sign up to take a theatre class....and the ones that do will do beginner and then do intermediate, but don't stick around for the upper-level production class.  

    We typically do 3 shows per year:   An extra-curricular Fall show, a student directed one-act festival, and a spring production class show.  

    My issue is that I'm trying to build skills and build up a stronger pool of actors....but it's hard to do when many of them only do one show per year. 

    Even though I tell them we do a show in the Spring production class, that doesn't seem to entice them....and so the production class has stayed fairly small.  


    Blake Wilson
    Theatre Arts Director
    Orange High School

  • 2.  RE: Upper level Courses

    Posted 11-30-2022 12:02
    Hi Blake,
    This does seem like a conundrum, but wanted to say your program seems really strong! Just a thought, but could it be a matter of a scheduling issue? Sometimes upper level students have to choose between being in music ensembles and the theatre courses, or perhaps an AP/IB elective? I wish it weren't so, but it seems that many schools have these kinds of limitations. 
    Amy Brown

    Amy Brown

  • 3.  RE: Upper level Courses

    Posted 12-01-2022 12:32

    You say you have a production class in the spring.  I did the same at Asheville High School, but our production class was students in Theatre III, Theatre IV, and Play Production, all Honors level classes.  On alternate years, a Musical Theatre class was offered that same class period, taught by the chorus teacher, which gave us a director (me) and musical director (the chorus teacher.)  We never had an afterschool rehearsal until tech week.  Students in spring sports were able to participate in the class.  As long as someone didn't mess with the master schedule and place us against one-shot AP courses, we filled the class.

    If the students in your production class are already earning honors credit, you might want to look at how you are choosing the spring shows.  Our Thespian troupe helped me generate a list of potential shows and then narrow them down to two or three.  As I always told them, you have to know there are people who will most likely be in the class who are capable of playing the major roles, then forget all of that for auditions.  There is no point in committing to a show requiring an actor with great skill at physical comedy if there isn't a likely prospect.  Hoping for a great high tenor when there are only baritones in the choir is a very risky way to plan a season.  I NEVER precast, but we were pretty certain we would be able to cast a show before we made a final decision to produce it, and the excitement of participating in that decision helped students make the decision to register for the production class. 

    If you don't already make use of a class library, you might order a bunch of scripts that you would consider for future shows and make them available for students to read. 

    Good luck!     

    CJ Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator