Typhani Harris | April 2016

Week 7: Understanding Theatre through Scripts & Structure

Welcome to The Art of Curriculum Design: Understanding Theatre through Scripts & Structure

In this six month series, we explore the fundamentals of curriculum design, via an Arts Appreciation course created through an arts collaboration.

– The first few weeks were devoted to the “how and why” of the curriculum design process.
The Art of Curriculum Design
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “Why”
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “How”

– Then, we looked at applying the Plan Like an Artist method of Curriculum Design to create a secondary level Arts Appreciation course.
Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist

– During the current portion of the series, we are looking at weekly objectives, outcomes, and assessments designed for the Arts Appreciation course (links to the entire series can be found below). The full curriculum, including daily lesson plans, handouts, and assessments, will be available at the completion of the series.


– When Planning Like an Artist, everything is designed with the end performance in mind. So, as the course was designed, we remained focused on the ultimate aim of the course and the final assessment/performance task; how the students are going to demonstrate that aim.
– Aim: After this course, it is our hope that students have the ability to articulate an appreciation of all art forms, while defending artistic preferences.
– Final Assessment/Performance Task: Students will design an arts company and create a performance season utilizing a common theme, based on their personal artistic preference. Then, they will present their performance season to a board, in the form of a proposal, for funding as a way to articulate an appreciation of all art forms.

Arts Appreciation Weeks 1-5

The first 5 weeks of the Arts Appreciation course provided the foundational information for students to participate in viewing and discussing art in preparation for building their own arts organization. For instance, Week one built a class definition of art, while the second week focused on applying the class definition to artistic work. Then, the third week helped students identify artist intent. Students should be able to identify the intent, defend the intent, and determine the effect of artist intent on the emotional landscape of the art as viewed by an audience, and as viewed through the lens of the class definition of art.

Through the viewing of controversial art, students continue to defend what they believe art “is” and “is not,” and acknowledge the emotion behind the art as well as identify the artist’s intent. By viewing a theme, students conclude the fourth week with the foundational information needed in order to actively view art. The ability to identify the theme behind the art will help students create their final project.

Finally, the goal of the fifth week was to start helping the students to profile their arts advocacy, by brainstorming the ways in which they want to showcase art for their final assessment. This involved composing an artist statement, determining the theme of their performance season, developing their artistic brand, and drafting the mission and vision for their arts organization.

The next portion of the Arts Appreciation course will take an in-depth look at Theatre, Dance, and Music. Through analyzing these three performance arts, students should begin to develop their final project, which is a theme-based performance season for their arts organization.

Week 7: Understanding Theatre through Scripts & Structure

At the completion of week 7, students will be able to:

  • Identify and compare the main eras of theatre
  • Identify all parts of a script
  • Apply their script knowledge to various scripts
  • Apply their knowledge of script reading
  • Identify and apply dramatic structure
  • Develop their artistic point of view via artistic statements

Week 7: Understanding Theatre through Scripts & Structure

At the completion of week 7, students will demonstrate:

  • Proper labeling of a script
  • How dramatic structure is utilized in stories and plays
  • The 5 elements of dramatic structure
  • The difference between a script and a play
  • How to perform a table read
  • Effective artistic statements

Week 7: Understanding Theatre through Scripts & Structure

At the completion of week 7, students will be evaluated on:

  • Script labeling and identification
  • Transferring script knowledge to various text
  • Transferring the understanding of dramatic structure to various text
  • Table reads
  • Artistic Statements

Series Links
The Art of Curriculum Design
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “Why”
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “How”
Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist
Week 1: What is Art?
Week 2: Talking Art
Week 3: Artist Intent
Week 4: What is Theme?
Week 5: Profiling Yourself as an Arts Advocate
Week 6: Introduction to Theatre Arts

Next Week: Week 8 Viewing and Discussing Theatre

Week 8 of the Arts Appreciation course, including lesson plan objectives, outcomes, and assessments.

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Chief Academics Officer, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.