NEW! Theater History: From the Beginning to the Bard

NEW! Theater History: From the Beginning to the Bard


About this course

Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for students ages 10-17. Younger academically gifted students will be accepted.

Start Date:  October 1. Class runs for 4 weeks. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $50

Space Available: 

From live plays and musicals, to operas and puppet shows, even movies and television–theater
and the performing arts are thriving today with unprecedented forms of production,
technologies, and talents. Audiences have access to productions and entertainments from
countries and cultures world-wide. The study of theater’s history gives us a better understanding
of how it developed into its present state, and studying its past can not only remind us of former
greatness, but it can also inspire new work by teaching us the great range of possibilities that
await us in the theatrical realm. This class explores the various beginnings of theatrical
performance up to 1700–from ancient Greek theater to the Italian stage of the Renaissance, to
the unparalleled influence of Shakespeare, and the significance of so many other theatrical
traditions from various cultures around the world.

This is class is not recommended for most children under 10 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!). There will be only one level for this course.

LESSON PLANS: This is a 4 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION: There are weekly discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Week 1 – Greek Theater
This week will be an introduction to the performing arts and the Greek stage. Theater is in origin
a Greek word. We will explore the major types of Greek drama: tragedy and comedy.

Week 2 – The Italian stage
This week we will explore the styles of Italian theater, from Roman revivals to commedia dell-
arte, whose troupes performed lively improvisational playlets across Europe for centuries. We
will also explore the history of the Opera, the Baroque aspiration of integrating all the arts.

Week 3 – London Theater
Arguably the most influential artist to the world of theater, this week will explore the life and work
of William Shakespeare, as well as Elizabethan Tragedian Christopher Marlowe. This week will
focus on the substantial significance of Elizabethan theater and the London stage.

Week 4 – World Theater
The final week of the class will explore various world theaters, including traditional African
performance rituals and theatrical traditions, such as the masquerade of the Egungun and the
Alaarinjo tradition. We will also explore South and East Asian Theater, including Japanese Noh
and Kabuki, Indian Sanskrit theater, and traditional Chinese theater, such as puppetry and Yuan


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

Total numbers of students in course