Page to Stage












The overall objective of Page to Stage is to take the first draft of a play or play concept, bring it to life as a completed work, and produce it on stage in front of a small audience. The major focus of the program is to teach play development to students by taking their ideas and leading them through the major steps to a finished script.

The transformation of a play idea to a finished stage product is a very exciting and creative experience. Each idea is different and the process to get to a final performance is unique for each play. It is my intention to reveal that process to students and give them some insight into the play-making experience. This will involve students directly and will utilize their creative talents to transform raw material into a finished piece. Using drama and literary skills students will be encouraged to take a hands-on approach in the creation of a new work .

The following outline, which includes: Components, Objectives, & Method provides a framework for the program. With the exception of Preparation & Pre-residency, each component is four hours long and includes a homework assignment.

This outline gives only a conceptual framework for the residency. Each part has purposely been designed to be unspecified in detail. This allows for a dynamic and fluid approach to idea and gives the creative vision a chance to flourish. Specific exercises will be used when they become necessary to the development of the script; for example, we may use a spontaneity exercise to warm up the actors before we video an improvisation of a scene.

It has taken me twelve years working with other professionals in theater to perfect my method of producing a play. Sharing it with students and teachers will give them a first-hand demonstration of the creating a finished product from just a thought. Page to Stage will inspire students and give them invaluable exposure to play-writing and the arts in general.


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• Preparation & Pre-residency Before the Artist arrives, the teacher will encourage selected students to bring forth ideas for a one-act play, skit, or scene. First drafts of plays or play ideas of any kind will be welcome at this early stage. The artist will meet with selected students before the workshop begins.

• Concept Development The artist arrives, and after a brief introduction the ideas brought forward in the pre-residency stage will be discussed and the merits and potential pitfalls of each idea will be examined thoroughly. Some of the ideas chosen by the students will go on to the next stage. (4 hrs.)

• Improvisation Using different types of improvisation exercises, theater games, and writing sweatshops, material will be produced until a fairly concrete idea emerges. All the students will be asked to contribute and originate material toward one or several ideas. A homework assignment will be assigned on this day requiring students to write a scene on their own. (4 hrs.)

• Workshop The scenes created the night before will undergo a careful scrutiny, with the students asked to provide a critical voice toward a successful finished product. The script will be acted out and the dialogue analyzed for weaknesses. (4 hrs.)

• Editing This is the rewrite stage, and all the students will be asked to provide re-worked material. Changes will be discussed and implemented when there is a consensus from all the students concerning the ideas. (4 hrs.)

• Production A small and limited production will be made of the work to showcase it to other students, teachers, or the community. (3 hrs. Rehearsal/1 hr. performance)


• Preparation & Pre-residency The objective of this part of the process is stimulate interest in the students and teachers. They are asked to come up with things to work on through brainstorming, suggestions, or work that may already have been created by the students (i.e. a closet playwright or poet). The Pre-residency will also select the students who will take part in the immersion part of the residency.

• Concept Development The purpose of this component is to introduce the artist to the students, discuss the methodology to be used in this collective process, and discuss the students’ ideas openly. The key word here is encouragement, with little critical evaluation. Problems that may occur with certain concepts will be pointed out by the artist. Showing students quality of idea as opposed to just idea will be the major objective of this exercise.

• Improvisation In this stage new material is created. The emphasis will be on creativity and the no-holds-barred approach to invention. No playwright works in a vacuum, and this section will serve to demonstrate to students how to turn idea into working material.

• Workshop It is the objective of the workshop stage to test the material created in the preceding section. By putting the material up to scrutiny the students will learn to be more objective about what they have created, and see it in a new light. The emphasis in this section will be the testing of material and the selecting of product.

• Editing This will train students to be critical of their own work. It is not always what you put into a work that makes it successful, but rather, what you leave out. It is hoped that this exercise will train students to become aware of what works and what doesn’t, what should be left in and what shouldn’t.

• Production The objective in this section is to produce the work on a limited basis. The intention of this part of the process is not to create a full-blown production of all the pieces created, but rather to choose the best or easiest to produce and create a small show. The emphasis of this section is to show the students the rewards of their labours. The production will endeavour to use as many students as possible in an innovative manner.


• Preparation & Pre-residency An application form is given out to all prospective students in language arts and drama. The application should ask for their skills and why they want to be in the program. A large space should be left in the application form for the students to put down their ideas.

• Concept Development Ideas will be written down on flip-charts or the blackboard and notes made about each one. The flip-charts will be kept for further reference. An atmosphere of brainstorming will help the students to loosen-up and make them comfortable with presenting their ideas.

• Improvisation Games, character development exercises, improvisation of scenarios, write-arounds, and role reversal will be just some of the methods used to create material. Everything will be video taped for reviewing the same day.

• Workshop With script in hand, transcribed from the videos, students will be asked to perform their pieces. These workshops of the script will in turn be videoed for the next part of the process.

• Editing Students will view their work and will be asked to make cuts to pare down the script and get rid of material that either does not work or does not add to the theme.

• Production Using all the students and props and costumes already available, the play will be presented to other students, teachers, and invited community members.


Language Arts Classes & Drama Classes As the residency is flexible in scheduling, Language Arts classes and Drama classes can also be accommodated within the program. It is recommended that each class be given two different visits by the artist, on two different days. All scheduling is done in consultation with the School and the Artist, and must be approved by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

Workshops I offer workshops in clown, acting, and juggling. Although these are not the focus of the residency they are a way to get more students involved. Workshops can be scheduled after school or during lunch, or they can be used in a classroom situation. They should be open to students excluded from the immersion

Workshops are a great place to exchange techniques. An in-service workshop can be offered for teachers who wish to discuss ideas in theater games and improvisation work. Topics could include: clown scenario, sensitivity/trust exercises, and ensemble building.


Preparation & Pre-residency

Meet with teachers two months before Residency.
Meet with select students two weeks before Residency.

TIME                  MONDAY               TUESDAY               WEDNESDAY             THURSDAY           FRIDAY

8:00 am - Noon Concept Development   Improvisation        Workshop                 Editing                 Production


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

                Language Arts #1            Language Arts #3      Language Arts #1     Language Art #3     Rehearsal

2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

                Language Arts #2            Language Arts #4       Language Arts #2    Language Arts #4   Performance

After School (or Lunch)

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

                Clown workshop              Juggling workshop       Teachers In-service     Drama Club


(Based on a one or two week residency 400 km outside Calgary)

                                                             One Week            Two Week

Artist Fee                                                   $1,300                    $2,400

Video Materials                                                 25                          25

Production Costs                                             125                        125

Per diem (Including Accommodation)                200                        400

Travel                                                            100                        100

GST                                                                n/a                         n/a

Totals                                                        $1,750                   $ 3,050


1. Video materials include blank tapes not supplied by the school.

2. This amount also includes misc. costs.

3. Per diems and travel costs apply only to schools outside of Calgary and may be more, depending on distance and costs.



• A large working space, usually reserved for drama classes.

• Video equipment including monitor, camera, and instant play-back.

• Students will need pen and paper.

• A computer and a printer with word processing capabilities for creating clean copy of scripts and to facilitate changes.

• Use of any properties or costumes that have been stored from a previous production.

• A typist for the fourth day of the workshop. (4 hrs.)

Click here to read reviews of Hamlet in the schools.