Being a mobile theatre, we have to bring everything with us. In a previous blog, we went over The Five Basics. With those you can teach theatre anytime, anywhere. But now we’re ready to give away even more of our secrets…a few other accessories have we found helpful to bring with us. First, there are three speaker systems we found work great in the classroom and for our budget. And then there are a few extra-special items that can take any theatre class from standard to splendid! Let’s get started.
The Three Sound (PA) Options
Any of these three speaker systems work great. They vary in price to fit your budget, and vary in wire or wireless to fit your comfort level with technology. Our instructors usually store their music on their phones and then amplify it from there. Pick one of these three for your first item of the ten must-haves.
This speaker is great for a small classroom. It doesn’t have enough kick to fill a gym, but it works wonders in spite of its size. Plus, it comes in a wired or wireless (bluetooth) version. It’s a favorite for some of our instructors, especially those working with people with audio sensitivity.
This one is my favorite because I’m old school. Plus, my bluetooth gets kinda funky on my phone sometimes. This little puppy is the most expensive of the bunch (a little over $100) but can easily fill a gymnasium or cafeteria with its sound. I’ve had it for over 3 years with no issue. On a side note: You do have to be careful to not turn all the volume dials to maximum or you’ll blow the speaker out. If you do end up opting for it, you’ll need a cord. We recommend this one because it’s cheap and works great.
This speaker is Miss Annie’s personal favorite. It is wireless, comes with a microphone, and although not as powerful as the one above, it is really quite loud. It is the most versatile and, the middle of the pack as in terms of expense. If someone were starting their theatre company today, this is the portable speaker I would recommend. (Edit: Since this blog was written, Miss Annie convinced me to get this one. It is now my hands down favorite. I’m a wireless convert!)
The Five Essential Extras
Now that you’re ready to rock with a sound system, we would recommend filling The Cart with some extra fun items. Thousands of our students have used them and they come highly recommended for durability and fun-ness.
Our students love this parachute! We were nervous at first because it is not full-size. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter! The versatility of this item makes it a great ice-breaker or reward at the end of class. Because of its size, we would say it’s probably limited to about a dozen students at a time. But it still makes for a great time!
We mentioned hats in our first blog about The Cart items But the only thing better than hats is more hats. Plus, our students tend to become bored with the first few, so we hide others away and rotate them throughout the year. This set is a little more expensive than the first, but we like the “community helpers” theme. This should probably give you a glimpse at how much our students love all the variations to Pass the Hat. (See the rules in our ebook).
The Time Timer is an ABA (applied behavior analysis) favorite. For students who need the extra supports, we like to have one in The Cart. Although not used frequently, when we’ve needed it we’ve needed it now. So it’s good to have on hand. (In full disclosure, for many of our students a timer on a phone is the easiest and most convenient. However, some students like the continuity of having the same thing at school and theatre which is why we included it).
This may seem like an odd item to have in The Cart. But, like the Time Timer, it is essential when we need it now. Although we’ve used it for games like Hot Potato, it is in The Cart for behavioral purposes. We’ve found the puffers and Mardi Gras beads are the best “fidgets” available. For the student that needs something to do with their hands, quietly slipping them a necklace has saved us from many potentially escalating moments. Plus it’s cheap!
This may just be our sense of humor, but we all love having a viking helmet in our bins. In fact, I had to buy enough for everyone because our instructors kept wanting the only two we had. This hat tends to be our students’ favorite. I don’t know if it’s because of the movie How to Train Your Dragon or the simple joy of yelling “Argh!” but we highly recommend going out of your way to get this specific hat.
Missed part 1? Check out the Five Piece Starter Kit: Tools for Teaching Theatre Classes for Under $100.