What is World Theatre Day?
World Theatre Day will take place on Saturday 27th March 2021, so you may decide to celebrate on Friday or Monday with the children. Aside from all of the fun that it brings, World Theatre Day educates others on the importance of the field of drama and theatre. The entertainment and storytelling that comes from theatre can be described as a ‘vehicle’ transporting children to a magical reality. The escapism that drama, performing arts and theatre offer are crucial for many children.
Some children may have never been to the theatre before, while others may be familiar with exactly what the theatre is. A good starting point would be to show the children images of theatres and explaining the theatre’s purpose. A puppet theatre is an age-appropriate and enjoyable hook to kick World Theatre Day off with. Children can then each have a turn using the puppets to re-tell a familiar story.
Scene 1 - Vocabulary:
World Theatre Day is also a day to focus on expanding the children’s vocabulary. There are many theatre-specific terms that the children will come into contact with on this day; you can assess the children’s knowledge of the words definitions. The best learning is multi-sensory so as well as explanations, have a prop to reinforce the definition and an action to go along with it. Some words for younger children could be: ‘script’ ‘cast’, ‘stage’, ‘costume’, ‘mask’,and ‘mime’. Some more complicated words for older children could be: ‘monologue’, ‘villain’, ‘understudy’, and ‘audition’.
Scene 2 - Shakespearean Mark-Making
Another word to add to the children’s vocabulary is: ‘quill’. The children will be amazed to know that writing tools were once made by feather and ink before pens were invented. All pencils, markers and chalk can be put away for World Theatre Day! Instead, children can mark-make with ‘child-friendly quills’ using feathers and some watered-down food colouring on white paper.
Scene 3 - Create Your Own Masks
Masks are a crucial part of the theatre! Theatre masks can be used as an educational tool to discuss feelings and emotions; this may be particularly useful for children with additional needs. The children will definitely enjoy decorating masks as a creative challenge. Perhaps a blank paper plate could be a good starting point?
To draw World Theatre Day to a close, older children can perform a short play in small groups. Provide props and costumes for the actors and actresses. Safely prepare an identifiable stage for the performance. Use large pieces of fabric as the drapes and if possible, the lighting can be altered too. Provide each child with a theatre ticket. With snacks provided, this will create an authentic atmosphere.