Course Syllabus

Acting 1 TN.pdf




Beginning Theatre (Acting 1) 

Wellesley High School Fall 2023

Kara Miles Sullivan (she/her)


Class Meeting Location: The Little Theatre- Room 165

Office Hours: 2:30-3:00 every afternoon, or by appointment when rehearsals are in session


Phone: 781-446-6290 ext. 4821 /Cell phone number by request only

Course Description: 

Beginning Theatre will give students an overview of theatre arts. This course is designed to be a springboard for all other theatre performance-based classes a student will take during their time at WHS. Students will leave the course with a wealth of theatre vocabulary and the basic elements of theatre such as ensemble acting, improvisation, pantomime, and self-confidence. Particular emphasis is placed on theatre etiquette, noteworthy playwrights, theatre history, and vocabulary. NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. However, if you have experience, we will build upon what you already know!


In this class, students will: 

  • Create and use criteria developed during theatrical study to state, discuss, and defend opinions about the quality of personal or peer performances.
  • Understand and execute fundamental basics of improvisation as a foundation for all theatrical practice
  • Execute basic movement concepts in performance.
  • Exhibit stage presence, confidence, and focus
  • Analyze a script and use clues, inherent in the dialogue, to create a fully realized character
  • Develop vocal and physical attributes of a role using the script, direction, and imagination
  • Discuss the artistic choices a playwright makes in a dramatic work and how these influence the interpretation and message of the work. 
  • Research the historical background of a script as a basis for interpretation and presentation
  • Demonstrate the collaborative skills necessary for producing a scene with an ensemble. 
  • Use self-evaluation strategies and audience responses to improve artistic works and experiences
  • Develop and demonstrate proficiency in theatre vocabulary. 
  • Demonstrate ability to create character and story. 
  • Appreciate and understand the history of theatre and how it has evolved.


Course Layout: 

This course is  hands-on. We learn best by risk taking and getting on our feet. Participation is mandatory and will serve as 35% of your grade. In addition, you will be responsible for completing short online assignments in between class meetings. Assignments will include notes, discussion boards, videos, reading plays, etc. 



Students will be evaluated based on the quality of the work presented. Rubrics will be provided for regular performance & project assessments and there will be check-ins for understanding that will include quizzes and tests.


Classroom Expectations: 

  1. RESPECT- I expect that we will all respect one another (as well as ourselves) at all times.
  2. BE OPEN TO THE EXPERIENCE! This class can be truly beneficial to you and fun if you are open to the experience and allow yourself to enjoy it! Please be especially open to sharing in class conversation! TAKE PRIDE in your work and take ownership of it! 
  3. Come to Class PREPARED and ON TIME. Please go to the bathroom and get water before class.  It is extremely distracting to the full ensemble when we have traffic in and out of class.  This will not be tolerated.  
  4. Phones will not be used during class. There will be a designated space for phones during class time. 
  5. TURN IN ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME- There is limited work that you will do at home, therefore,  I expect that all of your work will be completed on time. Of course, I understand that things happen. If something comes up and you are unable to complete your work please email me as soon as you know this so that we can work something out. 

(Late work will automatically lose 5 points per day. Late work will not be accepted one week after its scheduled due date.)

MISSED TESTS AND QUIZZES- If you are absent from class on the day a test or quiz is given, you need to email to set up a time to make up the work so that I can make it available again. If I do not hear from you within a week I will assume that you do not want to make up the test or quiz which will result in a zero. 

If you miss class or if you need anything do not hesitate to contact me. I can be easily reached by email or can be found in the P.A. office or The Little Theatre.



Summary of Assignments: 

Throughout the semester students will be assigned both individual and group projects, complete discussion boards, participate in class activities, and more. Assignments can be found on Canvas under each Unit Module. Due dates and expectations will be made clear.  


Topics Covered: 

  1. Fundamentals of Improvisation
  2. Pantomime
  3. Stage Terminology
  4. Theatre History & Culture 
  5. The Voice and the Body
  6. Characterization
  7. Scene Study & Script Analysis

Wellesley High School Theatre Grading Policy:

  • Participation in class- 35%
  • Actors Journal- 10%
  • Test/Quizzes- 25%
  • In-class Performance Assessments- 30%

Extra Credit:

Attend a LIVE theatrical performance at WHS, WMS;  or on a larger scale, Boston or NY- or anywhere your travels take you. Community Theatre is also an option.

Bring in the program and submit a 1-page summary of the performance. Evaluation questions to guide you will be in files on our canvas page.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due