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.

TEAM BUILDING – PART 6 – Why Drama is so Important in School

Part 6 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – TEAM BUILDING

Working together is so important in life, yet we don’t teach this skill anywhere in school. Sure, many kids get some of this piece from sports, but not every kid plays sports. Hence the reason we need more team building activities throughout our schools.

theater team

One of the beautiful … Continue reading

The Tempest Thunder Sound

I have directed Shakespeare’s Tempest for Kids at least 6 different times, and the costumes and kids always change. But, one thing is consistent, the THUNDER TUBE! I use this great drum thunder tube by REMO to make all the thunder sounds during the play.

The kids LOVE it… so much that they want to keep playing with it, again and again…. just … Continue reading

Treasure Island: Rum or Gum?

I recently had the privilege to watch a video of a school group in New Jersey perform my Treasure Island for Kids, and of course, it was AWESOME! That being said, one thing I kept noticing…. they were saying “Rum” incorrectly… but wait! No, they weren’t, they were saying “Gum”!

When re-writing classics tales like I do, I do my best to stick to the original plotline as much as possible.  However, there are several times where that’s not possible. Sometimes with the length of the story or around specific content covered in the stories.  And Treasure Island is … Continue reading

Shakespeare in Mime

A theater group in India has put together a performance of The Tempest, done completely in mime.  Designed specifically for grade school kids, in the fear that Shakespeare is leaving schools, this performance relies entirely on actions. No words, which makes the story telling that much more challenging.  Read more about this impressive performance here in the New Indian Express.

As a classroom exercise, have your kids mime a short part of one of Shakespeare’s plays. You really need to be expressive and understand the language in order to deliver a mimed performance effectively.  This will be great fun!

Let me know … Continue reading

Analyzing Shakespeare via Online NY Times Photos

This is a great article about a teacher using a very ingenious way to get her kids to learn how to analyze and read into something using context clues, even when they don’t know what they are looking at.  It’s a very clever and creative way to approach this skill set for use when analyzing Shakespeare’s text, but more importantly, a great life skill she is teaching them as well.  Big props to this wonderful high school educator.

By using the NY Times weekly WGOITP post (What’s Going On In This Picture), she was able to get her kids engaged in critical … Continue reading

TOP 10 SHAKESPEAREAN VILLAINS: NUMBER 1

REVEALING THE LOWEST OF THE LOW – THE MOST DEVIOUS SHAKESPEAREAN VILLAIN.

The following posts are by a guest author, Andy McLean, and for Bell Shakespeare in Australia.  But, they are so good, that I have to post and share their great work!

1. IAGO (Othello)
When we asked our global panel of experts to name the Shakespeare villain they most love to hate, there was one character who kept turning up like a bad penny: Iago.

This is a character who is single-mindedly evil. From the opening scene of Othello to the last, Iago does nothing … Continue reading

TOP 10 SHAKESPEAREAN VILLAINS: NUMBERS 4, 3 AND 2

OUR COUNTDOWN OF THE MOST DESPICABLE VILLAINS IN SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS IS GETTING TO THE SHARP, POINTY END.

HERE, WE REVEAL NUMBERS FOUR, THREE AND TWO.

The following posts are by a guest author, Andy McLean, and for Bell Shakespeare in Australia.  But, they are so good, that I have to post and share their great work!

4. TYBALT (Romeo And Juliet)
Compared to some of the other villains on our list, Tybalt might not be considered the worst of the worst. He’s certainly a hateful little punk but he only leaves one dead body in his wake. So why does … Continue reading

TOP 10 SHAKESPEAREAN VILLAINS: NUMBERS 7, 6 AND 5

macbeth for kids

WE’RE ON A QUEST TO DISCOVER THE ULTIMATE SHAKESPEAREAN VILLAINS. THE MOST DOWNRIGHT DEVIOUS, NEFARIOUS NASTIES IN ALL OF SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS.

HERE, WE REVEAL NUMBERS SEVEN, SIX AND FIVE.

The following posts are by a guest author, Andy McLean, and for Bell Shakespeare in Australia.  But, they are so good, that I have to post and share their great work!

7. PRINCE HAL aka HENRY V (Henry IV, Henry V)
Yes, yes we know. Prince Hal is a hero. One of Shakespeare’s most inspiring, in fact. A gallant fighter, and a brilliant orator. A man who conquers every battlefield he … Continue reading

Top 10 Shakespeare Villians

The following posts are by a guest author, Andy McLean, and for Bell Shakespeare in Australia.  But, they are so good, that I have to post and share their great work!

TOP 10 SHAKESPEAREAN VILLAINS

10. REGAN (King Lear)
9. GONERIL (King Lear)
Author Jane Caro picked King Lear’s elder daughters for our gallery of rogues, though she does have some sympathy for their plight: “They are two unloved daughters, sidelined for the youngest, who grow up and escape from their tyrannical, narcissistic father only to have him drag them back when he decides he needs a bit of … Continue reading

Why Drama is so Important in School – PART 5 – EDUCATION

why drama?

Part 5 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – EDUCATION

One of the best byproducts of drama is in-depth education into a specific subject matter.  There are two sides to this:

  • On Stage
  • Backstage

ON STAGE

Whatever you are performing, there is always a place and setting for it. Many times there’s a musical genre as well. This doesn’t even include new vocabulary or famous quotes and speeches.

If you perform one of these plays, you’re also learning history: