As a mobile company, 4th Wall instructors go through serious training: There is the initial interview, a background check, hours of observation for their internship, an exit interview, and then– hooray! — they may be hired as a collaborative instructor. For our brightest and best, there may be a promotion on the horizon for lead instructor. And that’s when they’re given… *drumroll*… The Cart! A rolling bin filled with The Five Basics, totaling less than $100. This, combined with our time-tested curriculum, will allow them to teach theatre anytime, anywhere. So, for the first time, we’re revealing the secrets to The Cart so that you too can make sure “Theatre is for all abilities!”
The Five Basics
1. Rolling Cart
It wouldn’t be The Cart, without a rolling cart. Miss Katie got the idea from her mother and teacher friends, who swore this would make schlepping to and from the car and to the classroom a lot easier. And you know what? They were right. As a mobile company, having a “home base” within the classroom is really handy. Plus, this cart is as sturdy as all get out. Our instructors throw it in and out of their trunks on a daily basis. It sees some serious abuse and still lasts each person about 2-3 years.
We suggest the Olympia Tool 85-010 Grand Pack-N-Roll Portable Tool Carrier – purchase on Amazon for around $20!
How can we put this humbly? We are famous for our game Pass the Hat. (Never heard of it? Read the rules in our eBook). Invented by Miss Annie on a whim to fill the last 5 minutes of class, it has become a staple. We have found that the idea of acting or “being someone else” is really abstract for many of our students. By wearing a prop, our actors with developmental disabilities can easier grasp the question, “What’s your name?” (Answer– While wearing the pirate hat it’s no longer Sarah, but Blackbeard). With their flexibility to be used in many, many acting games, hats are a must for any 4th Wall Theatre class.
Our favorite set is the Melissa & Doug Top This! Role Play Hats. Purchase for about $25.
3. Disinfecting Wipes
After playing Pass the Hat, we always disinfect the props, usually in front of the client so they know we are conscientious about lice, etc. Wipes have also come in handy if there was no sink nearby to wash hands, etc. They are just handy to have in The Cart!
It’s always good to purchase a whole set of wipes! Check out this Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack for under $10.
4. Spot Markers/Pancakes
Miss Annie first saw spot markers at a school we were visiting in Wyandotte, MI and immediately stole the idea. We all call them pancakes because, well, they are colorful flat discs and our students laugh at the thought of them being eaten. Easy to throw on the ground, no mess to clean up, pancakes are a fantastic variation to the traditional tape “spike marks” normally utilized by directors. Students are designated a color and, if they really need supports, we can write their name on it with a dry erase marker. Since the addition of Pancakes, our shows have been able to have more formation changes than ever. And as an added bonus, these work great for circle time if there are any wanderers or behavioral issues.
Check out these great BSN Spot Markers from Amazon. Under $20!
5. First Aid Kit
All our carts come with a first aid kit. The one below is our favorite because it is the cheapest we could find, but had the most items it in. Being mobile, we’re not always at a venue that has a school office, for example. We like to be self-sufficient for all potential injuries.
Our choice is the AAA 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit. Find on Amazon for under $25!
Want more? Check out part 2 – Our Advanced Starter Kit: The Must-Have Items to Up Your Theatre-Teaching Game