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.
Sofa Shakespeare, created by Julia Giolzetti, is a very simple concept. Perform a short 1-3 minute piece around dialog, and capture it on video. ANY VIDEO. Then, edit them all together for one big show. Pretty simple really. The best part, creativity! Make your scene ANY WHICH WAY YOU WANT! Puppets, sure! Cats and Dogs, yep! Eggs acting, egg-cellent! In your cellar, sure! With your entire family, sounds great! And the list goes on and on… it’s this constant wave of creativity which makes this concept so simple and effective. EVERYTHING is ok! (well, almost everything!)
Enter Chad Schuermeyer from North Carolina. A drama teacher who did a Sofa Shakespeare version of one of our plays, Midsummer for Kids. BY KIDS!!! Brillant! He had challenges with doing an online live version via Zoom, so he improvised and still created amazing art with his kids.
There were still challenges, but in the end, he had a wonderful Sofa Shakespeare for Kids project. AND his kids got to perform again! You can see all the details around his project here. You can see some screen shots of his kids’ performance below.
His basic plan and what he sent to his kids:
Week #1-3: Sofa Shakespeare
Week #1 Introducing Sofa Shakespeare. Due to not being in school we are not able to rehearse and perform. So, here is what we are going to do instead.
1. Read through your script for Midsummer Nights’ Dream.
2. Pick 3 scenes you would like to perform and fill out the Google Form
3. On Monday of next week I will assign your scene and you can begin performing!
Weeks #2 & 3
Once you have your assigned scene, begin brainstorming how you want to perform it.
Directions: Over the next 2 weeks of school record yourself performing your scene (Video is due on Friday, end of 3rd week)
- Perform EVERY character. I don’t care how! Use puppet, stuffed animals, siblings, shadow/hand puppets, drawings, whatever you want to do! Here is an example I put together.
- Be creative! Do voices, costumes, props, puppets, or anything you feel helps tell the story.
- The performance must be video recorded. Use your chromebook or phone to record. If using a phone, turn the phone horizontal. When you are finished upload the video. The students turned them in through email, Google Classroom or a Google Form – example form here: (https://forms.gle/i5moNHtRL14pnT5x8)
- Videos due by the end of the week, week #3. The earlier you can get the videos to me the better, then I can get them edited and start planning for our cast party….
Once everyone has submitted their scene I will edit them together into a strange, but hopefully entertaining, class version of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
** After editing the video I scheduled a watch party for all 6th Grade (even the students who didn’t turn in a video) and staff at each school. Not all students were able to attend, but it was open to all students and family.
As you can see, the results were awesome! Kids being kids, but engaging and enjoying Shakespeare!
We hope this helps you and your kids to get back on the stage, well, the virtual stage at least!