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Theater Resources

Take a peek behind the red curtain and discover the artistry and history behind the world of theater. Explore the playwriting process first-hand, learn about the cultural impact of performance, and read and perform some of the most influential works of the 20th century.

Grade 5 Lesson
Create a historical timeline and personal event timeline based on the historical fiction book and play A Light in the Storm and its main character, Amelia Martin.
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Students will explore the nature of comedy by informally staging the opening scenes in Shakespeare's As You Like It
Grades 9-12 Lesson
In this lesson, the students practice some melodramatic movement
Grades 9-12 Lesson
This lesson explores the implications of developing a musical from a literary text or an historical event
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Students will be reading the play, The Guys, and use it as a mentor text for their own playwriting
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Examine the consequences of conscience vs. perceptions of what is "right" as articulated in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Grades 9-12 Lesson
A comparative analysis between Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire
Grades 9-12 Lesson
In this lesson, students explore various methods authors use to create effective characters
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Explore "Puritanism" as an influence on the development of modern American drama
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Students study setting, plot, and character development in Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire
Grades 6-8 Lesson
Stage-fighting, and especially sword-fighting, is important to the plot of many Shakespearean plays
Grade 5 Lesson
Use a traditional tale, “The Frog Prince” to create improvised scenes and then a book for a mini-musical
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Long Day's Journey into Night, explore the heartbreak within fractured families
Grades 3-4 Lesson
In this lesson students will explore the concepts behind the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle slogan through theater
Grades 9-12 Lesson
This lesson explores structural and technical devices of the "memory" play by focusing on The Glass Menagerie
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Students learn about the history, theatrical elements, music, dance and costuming of Noh Plays
Grades 9-12 Lesson
By investigating Shakespeare through both an analytical and theatrical lens, students achieve a much deeper understanding of his work
Grades 6-8 Lesson
Students will analyze and compare the puns and word play in selected scenes
Grades 9-12 Lesson
This lesson continues the exploration of "Puritanism" as an influence on the development of modern American drama in works by Tennessee Williams.
Grades 9-12 Lesson
Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape presents a disheartening assessment of living in an industrialized society
Article
Staging controversial shows in school theaters presents rewards and risks
Tipsheet
Learn 10 ways a drama teacher can respond responsibly to a student’s work
Article
A tool for teachers and students to explore issues and solve problems
Article
How playing with 'intentions' changes the a scene
Article
Tips to minimize the fuss and maximize the fun of your theater experience
Article
Family-friendly tips for acting out amazing stories
Article
These expert tips will help ease nerves and prepare your child for a pitch-perfect performance
Article
Help your child let go of performance fears
Article
How to enjoy a family night out with William Shakespeare - the greatest playwright ever
Article
Some tips to guiding your child to a life in musical theater
Article
Background about the musical Little Dancer and its more sensitive themes
Slideshow
Bringing poetry to life through performance
Field Guide
Everything you need to know before you go to an arts event in a theater
Field Guide
Everything you need to know before you go to a play or musical theater performance
Master + Work
Learn about Arthur Miller's voice of social conscience and his revolutionary Death of a Salesman
Gear
One of the jobs of a lighting designer is to be an illusionist; to convince the audience they’re somewhere special
Article
Find out why William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is such an enduring love story
Article
Shakespeare made the pursuit of love just as difficult as leading men to war, or solving your father's murder
Interactive
Learn how ancient ideas influence contemporary theater
Flash Interactive
Learn about Shadow Puppetry and stage your own shadow plays!
Video Series
Follow the path of Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist of Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked
Video Series
Delve into how Mo Willems’s beloved Elephant & Piggie books became a funny, playful stage musical
Video Series
This video series explores a dramatic interpretation of the Greek myth Jason and the Argonauts
Video Series
A Kennedy Center production about family, best friends, baby steps, and memories that last a lifetime
Video Series
Meet Matt, and actor who has been cast in a role as a chihuahua. How does he prepare for that?
Video Series
Go backstage to learn about bringing charcters to life, and what it's like to be a touring professional puppeteer
Video Series
Explore the creation of the production of the musical Nobody's Perfect
Video Series
What does theater "do"? Does it matter in a contemporary, screen-driven society? Drawn from the Kennedy Center Education Department archives, this series examines the way theater impacts modern society and culture.
Video Series
Sogolon is the theatrical company created by Yaya Coulibaly in order to continue the Mali puppet tradition
Video
Irish puppeteer Miriam Lambert makes the storybook Goldilocks and the Three Bears come alive.
Video
This side by side video shows the story of the turtle and the crane as seen by the audience and behind the screen
Video
Indonesian actors visit with members of Chicago-based theater companies
Audio Series
Explore the history and legacy of musical theater in America
Audio Series
Follow playwrights, designers and directors at The Kennedy Center as they transform works of literature into theatrical productions
Audio Series
Conversations from a two-week playwriting intensive at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Multimedia Series
A poplar novel for young adults becomes a hit on stage thanks to innovative puppetry
This Day in the Arts
January 15, 1622: Molière is born in Paris, France
This Day in the Arts
January 29, 1595: Romeo and Juliet premieres on stage in London, England
This Day in the Arts
January 30, 1928: Harold Prince is born in New York City
This Day in the Arts
February 04, 1938: Our Town premieres on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
February 10, 1949: Death of a Salesman opens on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
February 28, 1883: The first vaudeville theater opens in Boston, Massachusetts
This Day in the Arts
March 05, 984 B.C.E.: Theater is celebrated in ancient Greece
This Day in the Arts
March 16, 1912: Jean Rosenthal, the first lighting designer, is born in New York City
This Day in the Arts
March 18, 1927: John Kander is born in Kansas City, Missouri
This Day in the Arts
March 22, 1930 and 1948: Stephen Sondheim is born in New York City; Andrew Lloyd Webber is born in London, England
This Day in the Arts
March 26, 1911: Tennessee Williams is born in Columbus, Mississippi
This Day in the Arts
March 29, 1951: The King and I premieres on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
April 13, 1906: Samuel Beckett is born in Dublin, Ireland
This Day in the Arts
April 17, 1897: Thornton Wilder is born in Madison, Wisconsin
This Day in the Arts
April 23, 1564: William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England
This Day in the Arts
May 12, 1907: Katharine Hepburn is born in Hartford, Connecticut
This Day in the Arts
May 19, 1930: Lorraine Hansberry is born in Chicago, Illinois
This Day in the Arts
May 23, 1921: Shuffle Along opens on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
June 07, 1972: Grease opens on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
June 09, 1891: Cole Porter is born in Peru, Indiana
This Day in the Arts
June 15, 1560: Court jester William Sommers dies
This Day in the Arts
June 16, 1940: The first Ice Capades show opens
This Day in the Arts
June 21, 1956: Arthur Miller refuses to name Communists
This Day in the Arts
June 23, 1927: Bob Fosse is born in Chicago, Illinois
This Day in the Arts
June 29, 1613: The Globe Theatre burns down
This Day in the Arts
June 30, 1960: Oliver! premieres in London’s West End
This Day in the Arts
July 03, 1878: George Cohan is born in Providence, Rhode Island
This Day in the Arts
July 04, 1927: Neil Simon is born in the Bronx, New York
This Day in the Arts
July 06, 1934: Playbill is trademarked
This Day in the Arts
July 14, 1918: Arthur Laurents is born in Brooklyn, New York
This Day in the Arts
July 26, 1856: George Bernard Shaw is born in Dublin, Ireland
This Day in the Arts
August 25, 1918: Leonard Bernstein is born in Lawrence, Massachusetts
This Day in the Arts
September 08, 1971: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opens its doors
This Day in the Arts
September 18, 1905: Agnes de Mille is born in New York City
This Day in the Arts
September 22, 1964: Fiddler on the Roof premieres on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
September 26, 1957: West Side Story premieres on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
September 27, 1983: A Chorus Line breaks Broadway’s record for longest-running show
This Day in the Arts
October 11, 1918: Jerome Robbins is born in New York City
This Day in the Arts
October 13, 1962: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? premieres on Broadway
This Day in the Arts
October 16, 1888: Eugene O’Neill is born in New York City
This Day in the Arts
October 17, 1915: Arthur Miller is born in New York City
This Day in the Arts
November 01, 1604 and 1611: Othello and The Tempest are performed for the first times
This Day in the Arts
November 07, 1906: Viola Spolin is born in Chicago, Illinois
This Day in the Arts
November 18, 1881: Le Chat Noir opens in Paris, France
This Day in the Arts
November 22, 1880: Lillian Russell makes her vaudeville debut
This Day in the Arts
December 03, 1947: A Streetcar Named Desire opens on Broadway
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