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The Madison Record

Bob Jones theater students learn lines … and a line of work

A scene from "The Perfect Ending" by Bob Jones Theatre Department (Photo contributed)

In a recent “Principal’s Corner” YouTube post, Principal Robby Parker shared the cross-curricular nature of technical theater and beginning theater classes at Bob Jones High School.

“In drama, we have technical theater where we build the set and, of course, we have the acting. But that’s not five percent of what students get out of this class,” Parker said.

Technical theater and other drama classes are real-world applications, Parker said. “As much as any class at Bob Jones, we have cross-curricular education in this class — math, physics, critical thinking, collaboration and ‘how to figure things out.'”

B. Dwayne Craft and Mary Davis teach drama at Bob Jones.

Craft stood near a group of ‘techies’ who were assigned their own building project for an upcoming play. “It look likes they’re just building a set, but they are actually using direct application of math and physics skills to understand how to construct these flats properly.” (A flat is a vertical panel, usually painted for a scene’s background.)

Earlier this semester, Craft talked to drama students about “stress skin platforming. This particular type of material on a flat’s base will create a great deal of strength and distributes the weight,” Craft said about the use of engineering concepts.

Craft used an example of two engineers applying for a job with equal skills but one has theatrical experience “in front of 1,000 people. Which one if going to have the competitive advantage when it comes to trying to sell an engineering process?”

Collaboration among student directors and the cast exemplifies student-centered learning, which is where the 21st-century school is going — student-led, student-centered and student-owned, Craft said.

Craft plans to work with math teachers at Bob Jones to develop a student technician handbook of math formulas and knowledge to perform their jobs as technicians.

“We’ll take curriculum with high interest and turn it into high impact,” Craft said. “These are universal skills.”

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