Theatre For Children

Overview

David Wood has been called by the London Times “the national children’s dramatist.” Presenting theatre for children as a separate art form, Mr. Wood here draws upon his experience as a magician, actor, director, producer, composer, and playwright, and analyzes the skills involved in entertaining and involving audiences of children everywhere. He reveals his special techniques for catching and holding a child’s attention, provides a practical handbook illustrated with excerpts from his plays, and offers a ...
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Theatre for Children: A Guide to Writing, Adapting, Directing, and Acting

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Overview

David Wood has been called by the London Times “the national children’s dramatist.” Presenting theatre for children as a separate art form, Mr. Wood here draws upon his experience as a magician, actor, director, producer, composer, and playwright, and analyzes the skills involved in entertaining and involving audiences of children everywhere. He reveals his special techniques for catching and holding a child’s attention, provides a practical handbook illustrated with excerpts from his plays, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into them. He also examines the business side of children’s theatre, showing exactly how a good synopsis will help to sell an idea. “The challenge,” he writes, “is to give a unique theatrical experience to an audience, many of whom will be first-time theatergoers, to involve them emotionally, to sustain their interest in a story, to inspire and excite them using theatricality, to make them laugh, to make them think, to move them, to entertain and educate them by triggering their imaginations.” This comprehensive guide written with Janet Grant is essential reading for professionals and amateurs alike and for anyone wishing to be involved in the theatre for children.
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Editorial Reviews

Financial Times
Wood's great quality as a playwright is his confidence in his audience's ability to make giant imaginative leaps, coupled with a refusal to shortchange them artistically.
Stage Of The Art
An important resource...basic, highly readable, and extremely practical.
London Times
The national children's dramatist.
Stage of The Art
An important resource...basic, highly readable, and extremely practical.
Robyn Flatt
A marvelous contribution to the world of Youth Theater...A must.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh
For over thirty years David has had the ability to captivate children's minds.... He has often been called the National Playwright for Children and he deserves it.
Library Journal
This is a practical how-to guide to the fundamentals of theatrical productions geared for children and performed by adults. Wood's experience is in the English theater--he writes and directs children's productions for his touring company, Whirligig Theatre, and has been dubbed the "National Playwright for Children"--but many of his insights are universal. He covers the gamut of what children in audiences react to, how to write suitable original plays, how to adapt existing children's literature, and production, acting, and business details. This book has no information for child actors or for adults working with child actors. For a specialized audience, but a good addition to the field.--J. Sara Paulk, Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, GA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566632331
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 2/25/1999
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 558,231
  • Product dimensions: 5.35 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

David Wood has been writing, adapting, directing, and acting in plays for children for more than twenty-five years. His best-known work has enjoyed international success and has entered the repertory of amateur companies and school dramatic societies. “Wood’s great quality as a playwright is his confidence in his audience’s ability to make giant imaginative leaps, coupled with a refusal to shortchange them artistically.”—Financial Times.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Acknowledgements x Part 2 Foreword xii Part 3 Introduction xiv Part 4 PART 1, THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: A UNIQUE ART FORM 1 Chapter 5 What an audience! Why do children need their own theatre? The quest for quality. Pioneers and practitioners. Raising our standards. Part 6 PART 2, THE NATURE OF THE BEASTS: WHAT CHILDREN EN MASSE RESPOND TO 13 Part 7 THE DYNAMICS OF A CHILDREN'S AUDIENCE 15 Chapter 8 How Children Differ. A Children's Audience—Common Characteristics. Part 9 STORIES AND THEMES THAT CHILDREN LOVE: IDEAS THAT WORK ON THE STAGE 30 Chapter 10 Fantasy within Reality. Myths and Legends. Old Wine in New Bottles. Tales of the Anthropomorphic. The Quest. Toys and Inanimate Objects. Real Life. Contemporary Themes. Fairy Tales. Part 11 SUDDENLIES AND OTHER INGREDIENTS OF GOOD THEATRE FOR CHILDREN 38 Chapter 12 Suddenlies. Humour. Characters. Life or Death Situations. Language. Silence. Audience Participation. Scale. Puppetry. Magic within the Plot. Colourful Look on Stage. Lighting. Sound. Music. Mime and Movement. Climaxes and Cliffhangers. Justice and Fairnes Part 13 PART 3, WRITING ORIGINAL PLAYS 63 Part 14 THE CRAFT OF WRITING AN ORIGINAL PLAY 65 Chapter 15 Writing a Synopsis. Nine Steps towards a Synopsis. Steps towards a Synopsis for The Gingerbread Man. Synopsis for The Gingerbread Man. Subsequent Changes to the Synopsis. Steps towards a Synopsis for The See-Saw Tree. Synopsis for The Part 16 PART 4, ADAPTATION 123 Part 17 FROM PAGE TO STAGE: ADAPTING A CHILDREN'S BOOK 125 Chapter 18 Writing a Synopsis. Four Steps towards a Synopsis. Steps towards a Synopsis for The BFG. Synopsis for The BFG. Subsequent Changes to the Synopsis. Part 19 PART 5, DIRECTING AND THE PRODUCTION TEAM 153 Part 20 THE CHALLENGE 155 Part 21 Section 1: Pre-Production 155 Chapter 22 Sets and Costumes—Designer. Choreographer/Movement Person. Composer/Musical Supervisor. Sound Designer. Lighting Designer. Production Manager/Stage Management. Casting. Director's Homework. Part 23 Section 2: Rehearsals 172 Chapter 24 Blocking and Focus. Pace. Respect for the Play and the Audience. The Script: Interpretation and Clarity. Sincerity. Characterization. Directing Suddenlies. Directing Climaxes. Positive Negative. Humour. Audience Participation. The Technical Rehearsal. The Part 25 Section 3: The Opening Performance and Beyond 200 Chapter 26 Different Types of Audience. After the Opening Performance. Interpreting Audience Reaction. Part 27 PART 6, ACTING IN CHILDREN'S THEATRE 219 Part 28 TWICE AS DIFFICULT, TWICE AS REWARDING 221 Chapter 29 Skills. Attitude. Cynicism. Actors' Pitfalls. Characterization. Audience Participation. The First Performance. Part 30 PART 7, THE BUSINESS SIDE 237 Part 31 THE MARKET 239 Chapter 32 Sources of Information. Professional Children's Theatre Companies. Amateur Theatre companies. Acquiring the Rights to Adapt a Book in Copyright. Getting the Play Published. Part 33 Afterword 249
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