ELIMINATE HASSLES: Directing Children's Drama

1. Plan ahead.

2. Plan ahead.

3. Plan ahead.

4. Determine what you want to accomplish through your program. Write down your goals and purpose.

5. Obtain ideas from other children's ministry directors. Be on the lookout for new material at Christian bookstores and in catalogs.

6. Select material with a clear, religious message.

7. Watch for limitations such as unavailable talent, elaborate production scenes or large cast.

8. Establish a tentative budget including scripts, wardrobe, properties, and advertising.

9. Discuss your ideas with the appropriate governing body of your church and secure approval.

10. Order books.

11. Request permission from the publisher to videotape at the performance and keep the letter in your file.

12. Highlight stage directions and study carefully. Know which entrance and exit each child will use.

13. Make notations for any props needed.

14. Develop a ground plan which is a skeleton sketch of essential staging props.

15. Chart large movements within each unit of action to form an effective stage picture.

16. Find volunteers to assist with wardrobe, lighting, sound, rehearsals, publicity and video taping the performance.

17. Make a rehearsal schedule and see that all parents receive a copy.

18. Record light cues, and warning cues, in a script for the lighting technician.

19. Develop a rehearsal schedule. Check the church calendar to avoid conflicts.

20. Starting with the lead character in your drama, assign roles. Involve all boys and girls either on stage or as a part of your crews.

21. At the first rehearsal, have the children read their parts. Let them know when you expect their lines to be memorized.

22. Plan well-balanced picture scenes to draw the audience's attention. Keep the middle of the stage from being center stage. Avoid getting children in a straight line. Provide an interesting variety of line and mass.

23. Create a believable presentation by effective pacing. The play does not stop while a child sits down, gets up or walks off stage.

24. Check projection. The audience must hear what the children are saying, as well as see the action.

25. Props should be simple and kept to a minimum. They are necessary only for establishment of time, creating action and reinforcing mood.

26. A children's play can be effective without lighting, but the following basic equipment is helpful to light faces: ellipsoidal spotlight which throws a sharp-edged beam, shaped by moving the shutters; resenel spotlights which provide softer light, controlled by the use of barn door shutter devices; and a dimmer board which is the central control for ten or more lighting instruments.

27. Normally, the center and upstage areas require lights from above the stage. The downstage and forestage areas are illuminated by front-of-house suspended lights. These can either be hung from light trees or wall brackets. Be sure to eliminate shadows.

28. Use colored lights in subtle quantities, diluted with white lights. An untrained eye may not even notice colors, but their presence helps set the mood for each scene. Color is added by the use of gels.

29. Be sure the electrical system is kept at a safe level so currents are not overloaded, thus blowing fuses.