About brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

Sofa Shakespeare for Kids

Online drama classes with your kids can come with some challenges. We did a Zoom of our Hamlet for Kids for teachers by teachers, and it was fantastic and a great way to engage your kids back into performances. However, time, access to technology, lack of bandwidth, and a variety of other reasons can hinder you and your kids for doing a Zoom type presentation. Well, Sofa Shakespeare for Kids is a great solution that can get you and your kids back to performing, without having to deal with these difficulties.

Continue reading

Awesome Online Macbeth Backgrounds

OK, this is really cool. For those of you doing Zoom online recordings of Macbeth for Kids. I had a teacher (thank you Gerald Murray!) find the correct tartans for each family. And, it is very simple to drop them into the backdrops in Zoom. Brilliant! And what a great learning opportunity!

You can see the backdrops below. Download, import into Zoom, and make it the backdrop! Awesome! Oh, and you can do this for a creepy forest for the witches as well! Check out the kids onscreen doing the Scottish Play below!

Continue reading

Online Readers Theatre Lessons Learned – Tips and Tricks

Update 5/7/2020

First of all, let’s be honest, was it perfect? Not even close! Was it a blast to do and did it give us a similar feel as performing? Absolutely! Most importantly, this was EASY. We did a Zoom recording of ‘Hamlet for Kids Reader’s Theatre – the Teachers Edition‘, based on the play: Hamlet for Kids. We knew it was going to be fun but didn’t realize how engaging it would be, nor how much we would really get to know each other. (most of us had never met before)

You can also watch our … Continue reading

How to do an Online Reader’s Theatre

Was it perfect… no way. Was it fun, oh yeah! A group of theatre educators, drama teachers, and I got together, via zoom, to perform our Hamlet for Kids.  We were from all over… Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Anaheim, and San Luis Obispo. We did this to inspire other teachers to do remote online performances. We wanted to see if it could be done and how it would feel. I can tell you this, it was fun, exciting, engaging, and a great learning experience! And I was even a bit nervous before showtime! (I LOVE that feeling!)

Was it easy, yes!!!  … Continue reading

Summer Drama Camp in 1-week – a Simple How-To Guide

summer drama camp fun

Recently I have been contacted multiple times on how to run a 1-week summer drama camp and questions around it. So, I figured I would write a post on how to do it and hopefully help any others who want to get kids excited about Shakespeare and drama!

First of all, YES, yes you can do it. It’s easier than you think. Secondly, YES, yes the kids CAN MEMORIZE all their lines by the end of the week. I’ve taught a summer drama camp over 20 times and haven’t found a kid who couldn’t be successful yet!

Continue reading

Switching Roles – Warm Up Game

I came across this great game and thought I would share. The original article is located here. By the website: theatrefolk.com, written by Kerry Hishon. I love how it allows the students the opportunity to look at their own character, especially when they may feel stuck in the forest on a developmental point of their character.

Here’s a warm-up game you can try at your next rehearsal: Switching Roles. Students will use an improv game to take on a different part in the play you’re currently working on. 

It’s a simple enough premise: using the framework … Continue reading

Theatre vs. Drama, what’s the difference?

I’ve been in the drama education world for quite some time now, and I just figured out the actual difference between drama and theatre. So, to help clarify for anyone else, I thought I’d share the difference between theatre vs. drama.

First of all, theatRE vs. theatER, what’s the difference? Well, truthfully, nothing. The ‘er’ version is preferred with American English whereas the ‘re’ version is the British version. However, you will constantly see people referred to a building or a structure, where the art is performed, as theatER and the art form as theatRE. But, there truly is no … Continue reading

Play’s the Thing, Where Education is King!

I’ve always been a firm believer that drama is critical to our educational process.  In this short video, I talk briefly about empathy, creativity, and the power of drama in education.