Theatre Sessions

The theatre component of the Academy combines practical and creative elements to expand the teacher's ability to interpret curriculum in exciting new ways. The K – 6 elementary/lower middle theatre sessions have been completely redesigned for 2017. The new sessions are titled Arts Integration, Creative Drama and Movement. Each day participants will take classes in three areas of study that are especially designed for classroom generalist teachers, librarians, special education, physical education and gifted teachers. Arts Integration will help facilitate the learning process in traditional subject areas. Creative drama will focus on improvisational and non-performance aspects of theatre. A final daily class in movement and dance (New for 2017!) will be offered. All elementary theatre participants will attend all three classes. The upper middle/secondary theatre sessions (7 – 12) include unique sessions each year in at least three of the following areas: acting, directing, improvisation, criticism, movement, playwriting and technical theatre. Instructors from around the country provide stimulating class sessions that reflect a mix of stage and performance techniques coupled with current trends and the latest research in arts education.  In addition to the theatre sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2017 Tennessee Arts Academy.

Elementary/Lower Middle Theatre

Arts Integration, Creative Drama and Movement

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.


Where the Wild Things Are: Journey through Books with Drama

Instructor: Julia Ashworth

Participants will travel through time and space by using drama techniques to bring books to life. In these sessions, participants will step into the shoes of new and familiar characters, learn to see things from different perspectives, and discover the power of stories in learning.


Ain’t Mist Behaving: Atmospheric Learning in Action

Instructor: Barbara Bashaw

In this workshop, Barbara Bashaw will show kindergarten and elementary school teachers how to combine science, movement, and classroom management tactics to cultivate an engaging learning atmosphere. The session will examine ways of using accessible, classroom-based movement activities to reinforce earth science learning goals. These exercises can be done in chairs and in the rug area of the classroom. Teachers of kindergarten to third grade: Get ready for take off in our imaginary meteorology jet! Teachers of fourth to sixth grade: Join our Nephology Moves Crew for some hip-hopping water cycle investigation, atmospheric tracking, and oceanic happenings. The forecast: all teachers will take away practical, well-managed approaches for including somatic learning in their classrooms!


Creative Learning Across the Curriculum: Powerful and Practical Arts Integration

Instructor: Lara Dossett

In this innovative session, educators will have the opportunity to explore drama-based strategies that are adaptable for teaching in all core content areas, including a unique focus on math education. By participating in and reflecting on these active strategies, educators from all contexts and backgrounds will leave with a practical set of instructional tools they can immediately use in their classrooms.



Upper Middle/Secondary Theatre

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.


Slap Happy: Unarmed Combat through the Ages

Instructor: Alexis Black

These sessions will explore the basics of stage combat for young performers, and how to apply these skills across a range of genres and styles. Participants will examine such things as comic book action heroes and brawls in classic texts while acquiring the vocabulary needed to bring physical storytelling skills to life in a way that is vibrant, yet safe. Participants should be ready to rumble and have fun.


A Play is a Theatrical Event: Meeting Shakespeare on His Own Terms

Instructor: Kevin Coleman

This workshop will help teachers and directors know how to engage their students on multiple levels in surprising and personally meaningful ways. Using a hands-on approach, participants will explore Shakespeare both dramatically and theatrically. Teachers will leave knowing how to collaborate with their students to script a theatrical event that brings Shakespeare to life on the stage and in the transformed classroom.


Visit to a Small Planet: World-building through Monologues

Instructor: Alejandro Rodriguez

Through discussion, demonstration, and practice, participants will examine the idea of dimensionality in solo performance. During the session, monologues will be transformed from necessary evils into true vessels of intergalactic exploration.