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Theatre Arts

The theatre arts program at ArtSpace Charter School uses an integrated approach to theatre, aligning the NC Essential Standards in Theatre Arts with the NC Common Core standards in Math, Literacy and Language Arts, and the Essential Standards in Science and Social Studies. Students attend theatre arts class a minimum of once per week. In addition to theatre arts classes, non-arts teachers utilize theatre in a variety of classroom settings – using drama games, informances (informal performances), and formal productions to teach non-arts curricula throughout the year.

Student learning in the theatre arts classroom evolves over the course of a student’s tenure at ArtSpace and is broken into three distinct phases:

Phase I: Primary (Grades K-2)
In the primary grades, the emphasis is on emerging literacy, elementary improvisation skills, and beginning to understand the variety of theatre roles such as actor, director, and playwright. Students improvise scenes that retell stories and from their own imaginations. Students also work with puppets, pantomime and follow teacher guidance to write and produce formal and informal productions appropriate to their skill level. Students also experience a variety of theatrical productions, stories, and media, learning to discern story elements such as plot, setting, and character. In grades K-2, teaching emphasizes accurate imitation in teacher-led activities.

Phase II: Elementary (Grades 3-5)
Student learning expands to include a greater understanding of the overall process of creating theatre. The study of theatre roles is expanded to include the role of the designer, technician, and producer. Productions are treated more formally with an expectation of greater use of technical elements as students mature. Students begin to concentrate on acting principles and techniques such as memorization, concentration, and objective. Student writing evolves as students write from personal experience and research. Students write monologues, simple scenes, and adapt stories into simple scripts. Collaboration is emphasized in these grades as well with a formal production of a guided, group-written, arts-integrated play produced at each of these grade levels. In grades 3-5, teaching emphasizes “presentation,” and students use performance to present research and original ideas.

Phase III: Intermediate (Grades 6-8)
Students learn the intricacies of performance and are expected to take on a variety of technical and on-stage roles. In grade 6, students take part in the annual “Shakespeare” productions (a collaboration with 6th grade teacher, John Hall). Through their experience with Shakespeare, student theatre arts literacy expands and students begin to practice techniques of performance such as shared focus, emotional memory, and communion between actors. In the 7th/8th grade courses, students are allowed to choose from a variety of electives. These electives include a fall and spring performance elective,a second quarter playwriting course and a third quarter directing elective. Past 7th/8th grade productions have included Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS, Durrenmatt’s THE PHYSICISTS, Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, and student written pieces. 

For more information contact Drama Specialist Ms. Beth Lexa

Beth holds a B.S. in Theatre Arts from Towson University and an M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is also licensed in Theatre Arts, Middle Grades Language Arts, and Special Education.


Ms. Beth began her career as an intern at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the education department. She then served as a Teach for America corps member teaching in South Louisiana for two years.  Beth then worked as a teaching artist in Chicago Public Schools with the non-for-profit, Reading in Motion. After moving to western North Carolina, Beth taught theatre arts at East McDowell Junior High. Beth joined the ArtSpace Faculty in 2008.  She enjoys books, movies, yoga, and chocolate!