The most theatrical of our kids may be tiring of the simple one-person plays and puppet shows they’ve been performing in the living room. Maybe they had a role in the school’s spring musical before everything—including their would-be rehearsals and performances—shut down. Or maybe they’re just bored and are looking for something new and interesting to tackle. If they’ve got some extra time on their hands (ha) and an affinity for The Lion King or performance arts in general, they might enjoy the free virtual theatre courses being offered by Disney.
The lessons introduce students to a variety of aspects of theatre production through the lens of The Lion King, and they are hosted Syndee Winters and Jelani Remy, who starred as Nala and Simba in the Broadway production. The curriculum was originally created for teachers to use in a classroom setting but has been adapted for individual use at home during the pandemic.
There are two programs to choose from—a “Kids Experience” edition for ages 8 to 11 and a “JR. Experience” edition for ages 12 to 15. Each lesson within the program (there are 11 “kids” lessons and 18 “JR.” lessons) covers a different topic or skill, such as plot, movement, character, transition, space and sound.
Kids are encourage to watch a short video that accompanies each lesson, complete a related activity or journal entry and then share what they’ve learned or created with their family. For example, kids might learn how to block off their dining room as though it were a stage, write their own dialogue for a new scene or design a mask.
Each lesson includes “level-up challenges” for kids who want to take the activities a little further, and the program culminates with a mini-performance for family members. And at the end, they can even print a completion certificate to make the whole thing feel extra official.