- "I am hysterically funny. I should do improv!"
- "I watch Whose Line religiously! I should do improv!"
- "I don't conform to the need for theater rehearsal! I should do improv!"
In order to help develop the habits and skills you want your students to have, you need to develop an educational program. Think of it as a lesson plan - or, more accurately, a series of lesson plans - designed to guide your students towards the foundations you want them to have. It's just like any other subject in high school - teach them the basics, make sure they know them, and then give them additional "problems" to "solve" to help them expand their knowledge base and skill set.
I'm currently working with my high school troupe's officers to develop a much more cohesive educational plan. In the past, we've varied who runs the weekly rehearsals: me (the troupe sponsor), a very knowledgeable troupe officer, the occasional workshop professional. What we haven't had was a common reference for what skills we wanted to make sure students were developing and at what pace. As a result, I feel like our troupe still remains at varying levels of ability - instead of everybody having a basic skill set at a certain level, on which we can continue to build. Our educational program is designed to combat that.
We're working on it over the summer, and hope to have the beginnings of it formed and ready to go by August. In the next post, I'll share with you how we're laying out the basics of what we want our troupe to know and learn.