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Fine ArtsDrama

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Drama is a medium for individual and group expression that fosters the pursuit of shared goals. Students learn to reflect and collaborate through creative interactions using the body and voice as expressive tools in the development of resiliency, empathy, and confidence. As students cultivate and refine dramatic skills and techniques, they develop both verbal and non-verbal communication through which they can create, present, appreciate, respond, and connect to the world around them. Dramatic processes allow students to develop perspectives through the exploration of characters, moods, and situations within historical, cultural, and contemporary contexts.
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Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Organizing Idea
Foundational Elements: Drama literacy is developed through knowledge and application of dramatic processes.
Guiding Question
How can an understanding of the body influence expression?
Guiding Question
How does the voice and the body contribute to an understanding of dramatic expression?
Guiding Question
What effect does the combination of voice and staging have on the development of a dramatization?
Learning Outcome
Students analyze how the body can portray character in a variety of dramatic contexts.
Learning Outcome
Students relate the voice and the body as a means to portray roles, characters, and situations.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate voice and staging as a means of expression in drama.
The body can represent the material world through drama, including animals, objects, and the environment.

Individuals express meaning with the body in various ways.

Mime is a dramatic form that uses specific movements to communicate non-verbally.

Physical theatre is a dramatic form that uses body movements to tell a story.
The body is dynamic and can be used to express meaning.
Skills & Procedures
Explore how different body movements can communicate meaning.

Demonstrate how various dramatic forms can support expression.

Discuss how various dramatic forms can be used to tell a story.
Empathy is the ability to share the feelings of another individual.

Role-playing skills support the ability to use the body to
  • take on the attitude of another individual
  • assume the physical attributes of another individual
  • empathize the situation of another individual
Imagination and prior knowledge can guide role play.

Group drama is a dramatic form used to collaboratively build a dramatization through the acceptance of ideas.

The body and mind connect thinking and feeling to make meaning.

What a person is thinking and how they are feeling can influence how they portray a character.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss how empathy and perspectives can guide character development.

Experiment with role play in the development of a character.

Make decisions as a group.

Experiment with various dramatic forms to support individual and group expression.
Tone of voice includes
  • volume
  • emphasis
  • accent
  • intonation
Production of the voice includes
  • vocal pitch
  • energy
  • tone
  • volume
  • projection
  • articulation
  • phrasing
  • pace
The voice and the body can reflect stereotypes and characters in drama.

Stereotypes in drama are collections of personality traits or generalizations of what a character sounds like or looks like.

An authentic character is an accurate and genuine representation of a person.

Articulators are vocal organs in the body that influence sound and can include the
  • lips
  • teeth
  • tongue
  • hard pallet
  • soft pallet
The articulators contribute to producing clear sounds and words and can be developed through vocal exercises, including tongue twisters.
The voice is an expressive instrument that is capable of producing and reproducing sound.

The voice has a natural and distinguishable tone that can represent the uniqueness of an individual.
Skills & Procedures
Experiment with how the voice can create a variety of sounds.

Differentiate between stereotypes and authentic character.

Explore the use of articulators in adjusting vocal sounds.
Body actions can convey character through facial expressions, gestures, and body movements.

The voice is part of the body and can be used to develop a character.

Role play can support the exploration of a character.

Character development can be supported by other characters.

Choral speech as a dramatic form can support group expression, including
  • speaking clearly
  • speaking with ease
  • learning to articulate
  • enjoyment of literature
  • exploring the flexibility of the voice
Warm-up activities for the body and voice can contribute to dramatic expression.
Character can be developed through the body.

A performer’s personal characteristics can be used as a starting point for character development.
Skills & Procedures
Consider how personal characteristics can contribute to character development.

Explore how changing body actions can communicate character, including feelings.

Evaluate the effectiveness of body actions in the representation of character.

Experiment with voice to convey a character.

Participate in drama activities that prepare the body and voice for expression.

Extend speaking skills to include appropriate volume, energy, and expressivity.
A character is developed through the body and in relation to the dramatic role and situation.

A situation in drama has structure that includes time and place.

Blocking involves body movement and positioning that contributes to the staging of presentations in drama.

Body expression has a relationship to
  • other characters
  • space
  • situations
  • props
  • voice
The body can be analyzed through movement, space, and relationships.

Expression can be enhanced when the body and voice are combined.
Skills & Procedures
Sustain body actions in the representation of character.

Analyze different ways of moving alone and with others.

Experiment with how characters react in different situations.

Explore how blocking can contribute to presentations in drama.

Explore how combining the body and voice can contribute to character development.
The voice is what is heard, felt, and imagined by an audience.

The voice can be used to represent
  • thoughts
  • feelings
  • experiences
  • imagination
  • personal attributes
The voice can represent the perspective of the character.

The amount of breath used in vocal production will vary according to the performance space.

Stage whispers require an excess release of breath to project the voice effectively.
The voice conveys a performer’s intention in the way that it is used.

The voice is released from the body with an appropriate amount of breath for the space, idea, and feeling.
Skills & Procedures
Experiment with how the voice can shape the development of a character or situation.

Explore how vocal release is dependent on body and breath.
Speaking skills can help develop vocal expression through exploration of tone, volume, and timing.

Radio play is an auditory dramatic form that features music, dialogue, and sound effects to highlight characters and story.

Readers’ theatre skills help develop the ability to communicate from a prepared script.

Words and meaning can change based on
  • tone
  • volume
  • timing
  • pace
  • rhythm
Soundscapes express environments, moods, and scenarios through the use of tone, breath, volume, and vocal sound effects.

The voice has many qualities that make it identifiable (timbre) and can include shouting, whispering, singing, and speaking.
The voice is expressive.

The voice can communicate intent in the way that it is used on its own or when paired with body movements.
Skills & Procedures
Explore how changes in vocal quality can influence words and meaning.

Use dramatic forms to support expressive use of the voice.

Demonstrate how the voice contributes to a variety of dramatic situations.
Physical warm-ups for drama can include
  • stretching
  • extensions
  • breath exercises
  • cardiovascular exercise
Vocal warm-ups for drama can include exercises for
  • breath control
  • pitch variation
  • projection
  • articulation
Tension in the body and breath affects how the voice expresses thought and feeling.
The voice functions optimally when warmed up, exercised, and relaxed.
Skills & Procedures
Participate in various ways to warm up the body and voice.

Discuss how proper body and vocal warm-ups can contribute to dramatic expression.

Explore how tension in the body and breath can influence vocal quality.
The diaphragm is a muscle that supports vocal health and production and projection of the voice.

Voice production relies on body positioning.

The body and the voice function optimally when warmed up and exercised.

Safe projection of the voice includes appropriate breath support, volume, and control.

The voice is the combination of breath and the vibration of vocal cords.

Voice can be communicated through sign language and gesture.
The voice is dependent on the body.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss how speech can be affected by how the body and voice are used.

Use techniques for the safe production and projection of the voice through a variety of drama activities.

Evaluate projection of the voice when speaking in a variety of spaces.

Participate in warm-up activities that prepare the body and voice for expression.
Staging includes the movement of actors and objects in a performance space.

Staging considerations include optimal audibility and visibility for an audience.

Blocking is a performer’s movement and positioning on stage that can influence expression.

Body positions on stage can include full front, profile, and full back.

Not all dramatic forms can be staged in the same way.

A dramatization may include the audience as a participant in the performance.

Audiences may engage in a performance in a variety of ways, including
  • singing
  • using props
  • verbally answering questions from the performer(s)
  • suggesting ideas
Any space can be transformed into a performance space.

Staging supports expression in dramatic performances.

Staging reflects the relationship between the audience and performer(s) within a performance space.
Skills & Procedures
Identify various ways an audience can participate in a drama.

Implement changes to a particular area to create a performance space.

Explore how blocking can contribute to presentations in drama.

Explore the effects that body positions can have on dramatic expression.
Staging can enhance a dramatization through the use of
  • movement or stillness
  • light or dark
  • sound or silence
Technical elements can be added to a performance to clarify ideas for an audience, and can include
  • costumes
  • props
  • sounds
  • sets
  • lighting
Technical elements can influence an audience’s experience of a dramatization.
Staging includes technical elements that can enhance a dramatization.
Skills & Procedures
Explore the effects that technical elements have in a dramatization.

Discuss the effectiveness of technical elements used in a dramatization.
Organizing Idea
Creating and Presenting: Ideas can be represented dramatically through artworks that draw upon foundational knowledge.
Guiding Question
How can a message in drama reflect what we value and understand?
Guiding Question
How can a narrative contribute to dramatic expression?
Guiding Question
How can a narrative in drama contribute to understanding diverse stories and experiences?
Learning Outcome
Students interpret how the communication of a message can be influenced by artistic choice in drama.
Learning Outcome
Students employ narrative as a structure for organizing, creating, and presenting dramatizations.
Learning Outcome
Students represent narratives based on a variety of inspirations and through the application of artistic choices.
Messages in drama can be created by imagination.

A message can be structured using dramatic forms.

A character’s message can be communicated through artistic choices related to the voice and the body.

Costumes and props can contribute to the creation of a message when used with intention.

Speaking clearly and with ease contributes to effectively sharing a message.
Artists intentionally choose specific ways to effectively share a message.

A single message can be expressed in numerous ways by applying artistic choices.
Skills & Procedures
Make informed artistic choices to share a message through drama.

Explain the reason for making specific artistic choices.

Experiment with various ways to use the voice to perform a message in and out of character.

Experiment with costumes and props as a way to enhance communication of a message.

Identify when costumes or props are helping or hindering dramatic expression.

Demonstrate how a single message can be expressed in many different ways.
A narrative in drama may or may not represent a sequence of events in the order in which they happened.

A narrative in drama can be structured in a variety of ways, including
  • a theme
  • a vignette – a short episode
  • a scene
  • an act
  • an entire play
Dramatic forms can give structure to a narrative.

Inspiration for a narrative may come from
  • stories
  • documentaries
  • different forms of media
  • conversations
  • imagination
  • people or characters
A narrative in drama can be illustrated as a partial or whole representation.

A narrative in drama can be factual or fictitious.
Skills & Procedures
Choose an inspiration for a narrative.

Explore various ways to structure a narrative.
The structure of a narrative can include a beginning, a problem, and a resolution.

Dramatic tension in a narrative can build suspense and can give the audience something to anticipate.

Parts of a narrative may be excluded, leaving the audience to assume what happened before and after the narrative was presented.

Staging considerations can influence representation of a narrative.

Technical elements applied to staging can enhance how a narrative is represented.

Narrative can be represented individually or collectively.

Dramatic forms can be used to structure how a narrative is told.

Narrative can be planned or improvised.
A narrative can be structured to describe the past, the present, or the future.
Skills & Procedures
Create a plan for structuring a narrative.

Experiment with improvisation as a way to structure a narrative.

Explore how the use of technical elements can enhance the structure of a narrative.
Messages can be created for an intended audience and may have topics or themes that can be sensitive to some viewers.

Messages can evoke different responses from an audience based on their beliefs, preferences, and feelings.

A message in drama can represent a variety of themes or subjects, including ideas, culture, and events.

A message in drama can be developed and clarified with the help of creative processes, including
  • generating ideas
  • problem solving
  • reflection
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • refinement
  • rehearsal
A performer’s message can be refined for future performances when feedback is considered.

Messages expressed through drama are clear when rehearsed and performed with energy, appropriate volume, and expressivity.

The circle is a symbol that can communicate messages in drama, including unity.

Circle formations are found in drama and storytelling across various cultures of the world.
A message is at the centre of communication in drama.

An audience receives and interprets messages communicated through dramatic expression.

Messages can represent what an artist means to communicate through dramatizations.
Skills & Procedures
Participate as an audience member and as a performer in drama.

Discuss how a message in drama can evoke a response from an audience.

Create a dramatization that communicates a message that is based on a theme or subject.

Consider feedback from an audience to refine a message.

Rehearse dramatizations before performing for an audience.
Points of view or perspectives can reflect feelings, experiences, and culture.

Empathy can influence how a narrative is communicated.

Communication of a narrative can feature a character’s intention, status, or feelings through role play.

Status communicates the relationships between two characters.
A narrative can communicate points of view or perspectives of an individual or group.

The way in which dramatic processes are applied can communicate perspectives, ideas, and feelings.
Skills & Procedures
Express a narrative from a point of view of another character or characters.

Perform a narrative from a personal point of view.
A narrative can be based on
  • stories, legends, myths, and poetry
  • fictional or non-fictional events
  • characters
  • individuals or communities
  • historical or cultural events
There are universal themes that can occur in narratives, including
  • redemption
  • survival
  • quest
A narrative is represented in diverse ways across cultures.

Narrative can be expressed in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit stories and can be witnessed through the spirit or life of the storyteller.

Narrative in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit storytelling can originate from the land and include the
  • wind
  • water
  • soil
  • animals
  • plants
A narrative can communicate knowledge and understandings about the world.

The exploration of a culture’s narrative through drama can help the viewer to build cultural understanding.
Skills & Procedures
Choose a topic to communicate through a narrative.

Perform invented or scripted dramas based on a narrative.

Explore narratives in First Nations, Métis, or Inuit storytelling.
A performer can make experimental or informed artistic choices to shape a narrative, including the choice of
  • costumes
  • props
  • sets
  • lights
  • voice
  • movement
Vocal expression can change the meaning of words expressed in a narrative.

A narrative can be communicated non-verbally through the use of movements, as seen in mime or tableau.

Blocking can help clarify positioning and movement of actors when performing a narrative.

Dramatic forms, including readers’ theatre and choral speech, are prepared scripts that can be used to tell a narrative.

Vocal production and body movement may need to be adjusted when performing for an audience.

A director can shape a narrative by giving verbal cues that guide the performer or ensemble.

Creative processes, including rehearsal, can help a performer refine expression of a narrative in drama.

Working with an ensemble can develop skills that can be transferred to other areas of learning.
A narrative in drama can be shaped by the performer(s), the director, and the audience.
Skills & Procedures
Experiment with various ways to use the voice to represent a character within a narrative.

Collaborate with others when creating and representing a narrative in drama.

Perform narratives from a script.

Represent a narrative non-verbally.

Respond to verbal cues given by a director when rehearsing a narrative.

Apply creative processes when creating a narrative.

Participate as a performer and as an audience member in drama.
Artistic choices can revise and re imagine how a narrative is expressed and can include the use of
  • voice
  • body
  • dramatic forms
  • technical elements
  • staging
A character’s status or feelings can be communicated and enhanced through narrative.

Status is the level of importance or power that a character holds in relation to other characters.

Status can change depending on how the body and voice is used.

Feedback from an audience can influence future performances.

Audience participation can enhance how a narrative is communicated in drama.
A narrative can take an audience on a journey by entertaining and persuading.

A narrative may be perceived by an audience in a way that differs from what the performer intended.
Skills & Procedures
Make artistic choices in the creation of a narrative.

Express a character’s status through role play.

Describe how feedback about the narrative was incorporated.

Experiment with the possibilities of the voice and the body in communication of a narrative.

Demonstrate how to follow staging cues when clarifying positions and movement of performers in a narrative.

Participate as an audience member and as a performer in drama.
Organizing Idea
Appreciation: Recognizing beauty, goodness, and truth in drama can be developed by understanding the complexity and richness of great dramatic works, the artists who create and perform them, and the historical and cultural contexts from which they originate.
Guiding Question
How can an understanding of culture contribute to learning about drama in ancient Rome and New France?
Guiding Question
What is the role of culture in shaping drama from medieval Europe, medieval Islam, and Alberta?
Guiding Question
How was societal change reflected in drama during colonial Canada, the Renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation?
Learning Outcome
Students relate how cultures of the past and present contribute to dramatic expression.
Learning Outcome
Students relate how culture is reflected in drama and storytelling across time and place.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate how changes in past societies have influenced the creation and sharing of drama.
From historical times to today, cultures may have valued drama for cultural expression, entertainment, and education.

Using vocabulary related to drama can contribute to discussions about drama.

Artistic protocols and etiquette may change based on the community, culture, presentation, and location of a performance.

The topics or themes expressed through drama may have a particular significance to the culture, time, and place in which they are expressed.

Dramatic forms that originated from various cultures in the past continue to be used and valued today.
Drama was valued differently across cultures throughout history.

An artistic community is a venue for artistic expression within various cultures.
Skills & Procedures
Express how drama is valued in one’s life and culture.

Examine how drama can be used to express topics or themes that are important to individuals or cultures.

Demonstrate how to follow artistic protocols and etiquette in various drama experiences.
Culture can be enhanced when members of a drama community participate, communicate, engage, and share responsibilities.

The culture of an artistic community can support the caring and respectful inclusion of all participants.
When communities unite through the arts, culture can be learned.

The culture of an artistic community is about shared ways of being together and reaching common goals.
Skills & Procedures
Participate in drama as members of an artistic community.

Demonstrate how artistic roles and responsibilities contribute to a sense of community.
European and French playwrights inspired the subject matter of theatre in colonial Canada.

Literary styles such as heroic epic were reflected in the drama and theatre of colonial Canada.

An epic is a long, narrative poem that reflects the heroic actions of a person or group of people in a certain time and place.

Heroic epics originated in ancient Greece and continue to be used in drama today.

Heroic epic was used to retell the story of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Professional actors began to arrive in colonial Canada from Europe and the Thirteen Colonies during the great migration (1815–1850).

As more people immigrated to Canada from various parts of the world, they brought with them the dramatic traditions and cultures of their homelands.

Non-professional (amateur) drama evolved into a professional theatrical art form in colonial Canada.

Non-professional theatre in colonial Canada influenced modern Francophone professional theatre companies, including
  • Cirque du Soleil (Quebec)
  • Théâtre à Pic (Alberta)
  • Théâtre-Acadie (Acadia)
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit storytelling and languages were banned by Canadian government policies in colonial Canada.

Stories told through drama in Canadian communities could be linked to a person’s place of origin.
Drama has changed over time as communities and cultures have evolved.

Drama in colonial Canada was reflective of the changes that occurred in Europe at the same time.
Skills & Procedures
Explore the narrative of a heroic epic as an inspiration for creating dramatizations.

Observe dramatic works from modern-day professional theatre companies.

Investigate traditions or stories from Canadian communities as an inspiration for creating dramatizations.
Theatre and drama in ancient Rome was valued for its ability to entertain.

Stories about gods and goddesses (mythology) in ancient Rome were commonly expressed through drama.

Nearly all Roman plays, including the costumes used, were imitations or similar representations of Greek comedies and tragedies.

Theatre in the round was a type of staging used in Greek and Roman theatre that provided enhanced sound and sightlines for an audience, as seen in the Colosseum.

Roman theatre was well known for using stock characters and comedy, which led to the later development of clowning.

A stock character represents a certain type of person or stereotype, such as a brave hero or a clumsy waiter.

In ancient Rome, tragedies became less popular as people enjoyed and preferred the entertainment value of a comedy.

Roman pantomime is a dramatic story told without words and characterized by the use of gestures, beautiful costumes, and masks.

Mime emerged during Roman theatre as a way to interact with the chorus using dance and gestures.
Drama in ancient Rome reflected cultural beliefs and history.

The cultures of ancient Rome had an influence on modern-day drama and theatre.
Skills & Procedures
Create dramatizations based on comedy and tragedy.

Explore pantomime and mime as dramatic forms.

Use stories as an inspiration for dramatic expression.
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge shared through storytelling can
  • share teachings and histories
  • communicate values and beliefs
  • show gratitude and reverence
  • demonstrate reciprocity
  • reflect spirituality
  • contribute to healing
  • guide and direct choices and actions
Communities in Alberta may share their cultural traditions through a variety of formal or informal dramatic practices, such as readings, recitations, and storytelling.

Cowboy poetry is a form of performance that grew out of the culture of cowboys telling stories.
Drama and storytelling in Alberta can reflect the culture of those who came before us and those who live here now.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate storytelling in a variety of Alberta cultures or contexts.

Discuss knowledge that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit can share through storytelling.

Explore cowboy poetry as a form of dramatic expression.
The Renaissance era was about all people bettering themselves through education, literature, science, and the arts.

Plays about morality during the European Renaissance evolved out of mystery plays from the Middle Ages.

Mystery plays were complex retellings of biblical stories or religious festivals.

Palladian theatres were designed by the architect Palladio, and were the first indoor theatres to exist during the Renaissance.

The construction of Palladian theatres allowed for more elaborate scenes and sets to be used and influenced modern-day theatres.

Before the construction of the Palladian theatre, dramatizations were performed on simple outdoor stages with only curtains for a backdrop.

The Teatro Olimpico is a Palladian theatre that still exists in Vincenza, Italy, today.

Commedia dell’arte was developed as a form of clowning in Italy during the Renaissance and used stock characters to develop improvisational and scripted scenes.

Commedia dell’arte influenced the development of modern-day musical theatre, opera, and improvisational comedy.

In 1517, the Protestant Reformation influenced traditional Renaissance views on arts and theatre, which included plays that gave actors more work with less emphasis on religion.

The term Elizabethan emerged from the English Renaissance to reflect the style of performance that was popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603).

Elizabethan theatre performances were less informed by classical Roman influence and more informed by what was popular with British audiences.

Elizabethan theatre took place primarily outdoors in theatres, including
  • the courtyards of inns
  • The Rose Theatre
  • The Curtain
  • The Globe Theatre
The thrust stage was developed during the Elizabethan period to bring the action closer to the common people, while the upper class sat in elevated boxes, as seen in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

During the Renaissance in England, theatres became public venues where all social classes could come together and enjoy performances.

Famous playwrights who emerged and influenced drama during the Renaissance include
  • Shakespeare (1564–1616), an English playwright, poet, and actor considered one of the greatest writers of the English language
  • Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622–1673), a French playwright, actor, and poet known by the stage name Moliere and considered one of the greatest writers of the French language
In 1642, many theatres and playhouses were shut down or burned down because some religious groups believed that drama was an inappropriate art form.
Drama went through a significant change during the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss how theatre evolved throughout the Renaissance in Europe and England.

Explore a variety of theatrical works that were performed during the Renaissance.

Research a famous playwright or dramatic work.
Storytelling and ceremony were significant aspects of First Nations culture for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Europeans.

First Nations storytelling in New France reflected traditions and beliefs that continue to be honoured and celebrated today by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.

Protocols related to how or with whom stories are shared were part of First Nations culture in New France and continue to hold significant importance today.

The Theatre of Neptune, by Marc Lescarbot in 1606, is considered one of Canada’s first formal European plays that incorporated music, including trumpets, cannons, and choral singing.

The performance of The Theatre of Neptune took place on barges and canoes in Port Royal, and depicted French exploration and expeditions to Acadia.

Theatre in New France was primarily performed by community members to provide entertainment and to celebrate the establishment of the French community.
Drama in New France reflected a combination of culture and traditions that served different purposes for the people who lived there.
Skills & Procedures
Experience storytelling from various cultures.
Performers throughout the Middle Ages often used their art to transfer and preserve their skills and traditions.

Performers may have been part of a membership called a guild and travelled and performed throughout various communities.

Drama in the Middle Ages used various dramatic forms, including
  • mime
  • acrobatics
  • juggling
  • singing (minstrels)
  • storytelling
  • shadow puppetry
  • narrative drama
Some performances in medieval Europe happened inside churches, while others were held outside, in towns and villages, for everyone to see.

Performances in medieval Europe included various kinds of drama, such as
  • stories based on the Bible
  • interludes, which are short comical plays
  • farces based on unlikely situations
Theatrical performances in medieval Islamic cultures included poetry recitations and storytelling that occurred outside.

Rumi (1207–1273) was an important Muslim poet who influenced many cultures and whose poetry is still recited today.

Culture was revealed through dramatic performances during the Middle Ages.
Skills & Procedures
Experiment with dramatic forms used in the Middle Ages.

Explore poetry as a form of dramatic expression.