Creative Drama Classes at Illinois State University
Written by Camberyn Kelley on February 3, 2021
Photo courtesy to ISU
NORMAL, Ill.- Online learning can be challenging when completing certain goals or tasks virtually, but that has not stopped Illinois State University’s theatre program. The department is now offering Saturday Creative Drama classes.
The class is available to students in the grade levels of kindergarten through 6th grade in the Bloomington-Normal community and surrounding areas. Associate professor in the School of Theatre and Dance Michael Vetere says that students get to experience the world of theatre through the lens of creative drama.
“Creative drama is basically the idea of experiencing dramatic elements and dramatic ideas and through the idea of dramatic play, so that kids can experience the world of theater and developmentally appropriate ways,” said Vetere.
The course helps students to get connected with the campus and feel what it is like from a virtual perspective. In exchange, Illinois State University practice teacher candidates who are elementary education or theatre education majors are granted the opportunity to practice the art skills and working with kids.
Due to the pandemic the creative classes went online while still giving students the space to grow in the arts through their computer screens at home.
“It’s a great opportunity because kids get to be able to be creative use their imagination, use their bodies in ways in which they can socialize with one another in the group. But also, with teachers,” said Vetere. “The teacher has a scenario where they’re leading the kids through a journey and stopping and asking kids their own ideas and their own impressions so that they can help join and shape the story as it evolves.”
Vetere says that parents like the opportunity because their kids aren’t just reading and writing and responding but actually using creative skills that they don’t often get into zoom classes.
“From the smiles on their faces I think that they are definitely excited. Does it have the same tone of being there in person? No. But it’s not bad, it’s not worse, but it’s just different. It’s not better it’s just different. It’s a different approach, a different avenue,” said Vetere.
Teachers help students to feel as if they are on this journey using their creativity, imagination and exploration through digital backgrounds and music.
Vetere says that meeting on Zoom during times like these is beneficial for students. They are able to use their creative thoughts and connect with each other to share stories and experiences even if it is just online.
Each day has a set of activities that will be accomplished including warm-ups and talking about each student’s week. Another part of the day consists of students collaborating with each other to find a solution to a story they have created.
The class started last week—it is $30 to sign-up for the class which meets until Feb. 27. The funds received for this class will be repurposed and used for supplies, costumes, and advertising for the class.
ISU has been offering this class since 1979 in the beginning of every fall and spring semester. In the fall the theatre program teams up with the art department.