Student Leadership & Drama Captains

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Busy, busy, busy. Right now, student corrections beckon, so I thought I’d throw up a quick post, instead 🙂

In my most recent post, I talked about developing and nurturing the right culture in the Drama classroom and now I wish to blog about leadership.

When I arrived at my current school seven years ago, I inherited a bunch of student Drama captains. This is how the structure works:

  • Year 7 Drama Captain (Semester 2 only)
  • Year 8 Drama Captain (who also covers Year 7 for Semester 1)
  • Year 9 Drama Captain
  • Year 10 Drama Captain
  • Year 11 Drama Captain
  • Year 12 Drama Vice Captain
  • Year 12 Drama Captain

Linking with my previous post, if the culture in the school or Drama Department is right, being voted a Drama Captain (or Prefect) at your respective year level should be a prestigious and sought-after position. If it works, the system goes beyond students merely voting for the most popular student or the lead in the high school play etc., but rather for the most capable candidate.

If your school already has an established leadership system, having Drama Captains should merely be a process of adding them to the structure that already exists. But keep in mind approval for this may take several months in the school year prior.

Drama Captains should ease many of the everyday burdens for Drama teaching staff, particularly in the area of co-curricular activities so common to Drama Departments such as musicals, plays, Drama nights etc. This also applies to daytime any day-time activities run by the Drama Department in your school.

Drama Captains can assist with auditions, rehearsals, directing, run Drama clubs, promote the subject or shows among the student body, run set and prop painting sessions … basically anything but making you coffees during the day (although you could always arrange that, too!).

Here’s the list of Drama Captain responsibilities at my school:

  • encourage and support students who take initiatives with regard to Drama
  • be involved with a committee of Drama Captains at all year levels in the school that should meet on a regular basis
  • assist backstage and front of house for all school productions
  • organise in-house school Drama activities and festivals etc
  • assist in the publicity of all school Drama events
  • taking responsibility for finding and looking after props and costumes
  • encourage student participation in the building and painting of sets
  • assist in the organisation of Junior Drama Club
  • attend Leaders Day seminars
  • model appropriate standards of uniform and behaviour for the year level

Having a leadership team of Drama Captains can help operations run smoothly, promote the subject and allow students to take responsibility for various activities throughout the year.

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2 Responses

  1. Justin Cash says:

    Sorry in advance, as my response is almost a blog post in itself!

    Our Year 7 Drama Captain comes on board for 2nd semester, only. This is for a number of reasons, including being new to the school and maturity. The Years 8 and 9 Drama Captains are year-long appointments.

    The Drama Captains at Years 7, 8 and 9 sometimes have less responsibilities than the senior Drama Captains, but their role is equally important. Any performing arts activity in my school that involves Years 7-9 requires these captains to show responsibility and leadership. They serve as an excellent liaison between the student body and the Drama staff.

    Junior Drama Captains may usher at school plays, musicals or drama nights (if they are not directly involved themselves), including helping staff organise VCE Drama or Theatre Studies nights.

    At our school we run a junior drama club once a week at lunchtimes for Years 7 and 8 students – the 7-9 Drama Captains are integrally involved here, assisting the senior captains run these sessions.

    Junior Drama Captains may also assist in organising a drama performance at a junior year level assembly. They could also maintain a Drama noticeboard placed in the junior school, with notices and brochures about activities, outside musicals and shows etc.

    I also need 7-9 drama Captains to run around to home rooms at their year levels a few times a year and help promote the school musical and whole-school performing arts festival. In other schools this may involve publicising school plays and house drama/performing arts nights, as well.

    Little things like taking responsibility for placing notices for upcoming drama activities in the daily school bulletin is also important for the 7-9 Drama Captains.

    It is not a stretch to suggest many duties that, as a Drama teacher, you may ordinarily have undertaken, could now be done by junior Drama Captains, instead. Short of making me a cup of coffee (!), the junior captains love to be involved in any way they can – whether this be going around the school at lunch to stick posters up for a senior Drama night or handing out programmes, it doesn’t matter – it doesn’t even have to be their event – as I often get juniors and seniors to assist at each others’ events – the seniors see this as part of their responsibilities and the juniors get a thrill out of helping out at a senior Drama event.

    As the years go by, the senior Drama Captains at Years 10, 11 and 12 do much the same things as the juniors, its just that some of the events they publicise and help organise within the school seem more important (not necessarily so).

    I’ll be honest with you, occasionally, I’m struggling to keep junior Drama Captains busy in a few spots throughout the school year, but their biggest advantage for the Drama Department is that they genuinely and passionately promote Drama to the student body in a way teachers just can’t. They can sometimes hold an audience better than myself if I did the same, and there’s something rich about a student addressing his or her peers (if done properly).

    Without the 7-9 Drama Captains it would imply to some students Drama only becomes important or serious in my school from Year 10 onwards. This is especially the case if the Drama Captains duties are integrally involved in everyday activities in the school and don’t look like ‘add-ons’. The Drama Captains in Years 7-9 make a statement to the student body that Drama in the junior year levels matters and most importantly, it is fun!

    After seven years at my current school being familiar with this system of having seven Drama Captains over the six year levels, I’ve not perfected it yet and can still make it a lot better for the Drama staff, the Drama department and the students. But that’s fine by me. Room to improve means nothing will go stale.

    The juniors are our stars of tomorrow and we must look after them. Having Drama Captains in Years 7, 8 and 9, I believe, helps ensure this happens.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What do your 7-8-9 Drama captains do? What are their responsibilities?

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