Theatre History Library Project



You, and your team, have been hired by an emerging new theatre production company to produce a series of new plays.  The plays that you will be producing are not set in the modern era; they are period pieces that will require a lot of research and attention to detail.  It is important that everything you produce on stage look as authentic as possible.  To help you with this endeavor, the president of the company puts into your hand a small key.  The key is smooth and cool to the touch and glitters in the sunlight.  This key, when put into a door lock, transforms the doorway into a portal.  This portal will send anyone who enters it to any time in history.  As you and your team prepare to step through, the president gives you a warning: you will only have three days to complete all of your research.  Once those three days are up, the magic of the key will dissolve and you will be instantly transported back to this time.

The Task

Your group will be venturing back in time to research one of the following major theatre movements:

Ø      Greek and Roman Theatre (500 B.C. to 500 A.D.)

Ø      The Italian Renaissance and Elizabethan Theatre (1440 – 1600)

Ø      The Restoration and 17th Century French Theatre (1600 – 1750)

Ø      Realism and the Moscow Art Theatre (1880 – 1920’s)

Ø      20th Century American Theatre (1920 – 1990’s)

Each member of your team will be responsible for researching one of the following areas over the course of the next three days:

Ø      State of the World – What is happening in the world during your time?  Were there any major battles fought?  Who was the ruler during this time? 

Ø      Daily Life – What was the culture like?  What did the people eat and drink?  What did the people wear?  What did they do for fun and entertainment?  What was the social break-down, i.e. class system?

Ø      Theatrical Changes and Developments – What inventions were created that had some effect of stage production?  How were plays performed during the time?  What changes were made to the way plays were performed?

Ø      Plays and Playwrights – What type of plays were performed?  Who were the major playwrights?  What are some of the famous plays from the time?

After you have completed your research and stepped back through the portal, your group will need to sit down, look at everything that was found, and decide how you want to use this information to teach the rest of your crew and cast members.  You have two options for this project, a movie or a pamphlet.  Whichever option your team decides to complete, you will need to have various artifacts from the time period that shows your research.  Artifacts could include video, interviews, photographs, articles, journals, letters, and so forth.

You have three weeks to prepare for your presentation and that includes production and composition and editing of your movie or pamphlet. 

The Process

1.        Before you step through the portal, you must decide who is going to be responsible for each part of the project.  Once that is complete, then you can step through the portal to begin your research.

2.      You have three days to conduct your research.  You will use books within the library (these are not to be taken from the room) and various links from the web.  Take notes over what you find.  If you want to print something off from the web, be sure to highlight only what you need and copy it into Word or print only that selection.  Be sure that you mark where you got this information for later reference.

3.       At the end of the three days of research, you will be transported back to the library where you will do the project production.

4.      You will have one week to complete all production for your project.  This includes filming any video, taking photographs, writing any articles, and anything else needed for your project design.

5.       The final week will consist of project composition and editing.  At this time you will sit down at a computer with your group and create your pamphlet or movie.

Websites For research

The following is a list of websites that you will want to use for your research.  Any information that you find should come from texts as well as the web.  Most of these websites are general sites with links to existing resources on the web. 

History of Theatre  

Theatre History Sites on the WWW

Theatre History on the Web

Theatre History Resources from Artslynx  

Theatre History      

Actors – Theatre History   

Theatre History Directory  

Brockett’s History of the Theatre              

Food Timeline – Culinary History               

Other places to search would be using the INFOhio Electronic Resources for grades 9-12, accessed from the Sheridan High School Library website, and using Britannica Online and Oxford Reference Online.  You can also search for key terms using Google and Yahoo, but this can be very tricky and turn up results that you don’t need.  Don’t hesitate to ask either myself or Ms. Christensen for help searching.


·        Make sure each group member is “pulling their weight”

·        Communicate with your group members in and out of school

·        Use your time wisely.  You are one a very strict schedule with little room for delay.

·        If you have questions, ask.  I am here to help as you research and design your project.

·        Make sure to follow all directions carefully.

·        Most importantly, have fun!