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!!!  We connected via Zoom for three separate 1-hour meetings.

  • Day 1 was to meet and run through our lines.
  • Day 2 was our dress rehearsal.
  • Day 3 was showtime! 

On the day of the show, we prepped our “stages”, and that may have been our bedroom, living room, closet, or in my case, my pink guest trailer! We had our costume changes laid out, scripts up and highlighted, and props on the prop table. Then, SHOWTIME!

We recorded it straight through in one shot. We did this purposely to give us the feel of being on stage.

Please enjoy our show and we hope this inspires you to do this with your kids. The best part, is kids still get many of the great benefits of the education of Drama:

  • Teamwork
  • Language skills
  • Empathy
  • Character Analysis
  • Working with props
  • Behind the scenes work (post-editing is an option!)

Regarding sharing your video, there are a few ways you can do this. We recorded it to do post-production work afterward. (learn more about that on this post) But, this is an option and not a requirement. We used Zoom, and Zoom has a feature for recording. The file it gives you after the recording session is done is an .mp4 this is exactly what you can upload to YouTube. OR you can drop it into iMovie (or other software, but that’s what I had free on my Mac and it worked great!). It’s easy and simple to add some great effects and learn post-production skills for your kids.

We detailed many of the lessons learned in another post. But, until then, we hope you enjoy the show!

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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.

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