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The Green Room: Bring the theatre to the classroom

May 19, 2020 by s.nagele

The popularity of the TV show Glee or the film musicals like Les Misérables and La La Land shows us that the world of theatre and acting has become an exciting talking point for our students. Why not experiment with it in the classroom?

As Robert Campbell mentioned in this interview, we, teachers always use drama techniques in the classroom, and we know that using more role-plays and dramatization can help our students with speaking performance, general communication skills, and self-confidence.

Helbling Readers Blue Series Fiction The Green Room

The Green Room by Robert Campbell is an exciting story of four teenagers in a summer theatre school plus it offers great discussion points, vocabulary development exercises as well as theatre and art workshop opportunities. After reading the story and completing some of these exercises your class might feel inspired enough to put on a mini-play. The level of this reader is pre-intermediate to intermediate (CEFR A2/B1; Cambridge PET, Trinity 4, 5).

The reader was illustrated by Valentina Russello.

Discussion points

Reflection boxes in the reader

Point out the reflection boxes in the reader and encourage your students to stop and think about the questions. There are three ways to engage with these questions:

  • In groups, students can talk about their thoughts during an online or classroom discussion.
  • Set up a discussion thread online - it is important that you set up the topic to initiate interaction - and ask students to write their ideas when they have finished one or two chapters.
  • In a reading journal: you can ask students to write their thoughts in a reading journal. Here they can also collect interesting phrases from the reader.

Here are some more discussion points.

  • Friendship and trust
  • Lies and 'white' lies
  • How you portray yourself to others

Talk about literature

In the story there is a play within the play, discuss how the author uses this technique in the story. Ask your class if they know about any other film, play, or book where the author used this technique.

People behind the scenes

What do set designerscostume designers, and directors do? How do they enhance a play? What other jobs are connected to the theatre?

Vocabulary activity

The Before and After Reading activities offer you plenty of activities based on the reader. When you have finished reading the book, choose a chapter and ask your students to work in pairs or groups and find all the words related to the world of the theatre.


Talk about modern adaptations

Ask your students what modern adaptations they know (they may need some help here, you can suggest Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet or Amy Heckerling's Clueless). Do they think modern adaptations are important or do they prefer traditional versions? Then, read the extract from Act V, Scene 1.

Think about the possibility of adapting this scene in a modern or unusual context. Compare it with traditional performances. 

  • Where would they set a modern version? How would the characters be different? Would they change the language?

Role-plays and dramatization

Download The Green Room and Shakespeare Worksheets and have fun with Shakespeare. 'Translate Act V Scene I from Twelfth Night into modern English then perform it in class.

Traditional performance

  • Talk about the details of performing this scene in class.
  • On pages 49 and 50 of the reader, an acting technique is described where the actors get into their part by pretending to be their characters and introducing themselves in front of others. You can recreate this scene either in your classroom or online. Really creative students can design sketches and you can even ask your students to dress up for the scene.

Online performance

  • Ask students to think about an online adaptation. How can they perform the scene without being in the same room?
  • Once you have collected ideas, choose one, then over the next number of online sessions prepare a practise a short performance that you can edit.

Read this article about a special performance created during the lockdown.

More drama resources

For more ideas on using drama techniques in the classroom, check out Get on Stage!, our photocopiable resource book with 21 sketches and plays for young learners and teens.

  • Get on Stage! by Herbert Puchta, Günter Gerngross, Matthew Devitt

Language practice

Visit Helbling e-zone, our educational platform for more interactive activities based on the reader.

Download more worksheets to use with the reader: