Sora Journal

Spotlight on Sora’s Drama Extracurricular

By Sora Schools

At Sora, we have many exciting student life opportunities, like organizing a club, serving as a student ambassador, or participating in an Extracurricular activity. In January 2024, we launched Debate and Drama Extracurriculars for middle and high school students, in addition to our flagship extracurricular, high school esports. 

Drama Extracurricular Programming

The Drama Extracurricular has focused on good storytelling and how to achieve it. 

“Drama is all about imaginative exploration,” said Lawrence Stallings, Broadway actor and Sora Drama Extracurricular Coach. 

The program began with a few sessions of getting to know one another through group ice breakers and concentration and listening games, then moved on to essentials of acting. 

“The 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) are a group of questions every actor must ask themselves when breaking down a scene, monologue, or story,” said Lawrence. “Understanding the 5 W's is necessary to fully realize a character or story. Starting with basics like these builds a strong foundation for understanding the needs of a character and the obstacles between them and what they want.”

Virtual Theatre & Improvisation

“One of my favorite things about Drama is playing the acting games with my fellow classmates, mainly the improved games,” said Carter F., a middle school student.

Engaging in theatre virtually led to some fun group activities in a unique format.

“The part that was the most interesting was a game where your video was turned off and we were meant to count up to 20 without telling anyone what we were doing,” said Charlie M., a middle school student. 

“Even online, my teacher Lawrence and the friends I have made through Drama have taught me so much,” said Lotta L., a high school student. “It has been so interesting to see everyone get so invested in our scenes or improv activities! Also, using fun Zoom backgrounds to compliment our scenes has been very humorous and is often a highlight of my day.”

As they mastered the basics of acting and honed their skills through fun group games, the students moved into improv. 

“We built on the ‘YES, AND…’ principle of Improvisation before progressing into more complex improvs and even some with large groups,” said Lawrence. 

“One of the things I enjoyed the most in Drama was the warm-ups. We had one called ‘Breaking News’ where you have to improvise a news story with the other students,” said Anjali G., a high school student.

Students from the Drama Extracurricular showed off their new improv skills in the first episode of the Sora Journal podcast with an improv called “Excuses” (which begins at 24:57) as well as in the 2024 Student Showcase

Working with Dialogue

“Once the group is comfortable building scenes and stories with their own words and imaginations, it's time to move into doing the same thing with previously written dialogue,” said Lawrence.

“The final weeks are split between doing two and three-person scenes and monologue work with the focus being on whether the students understand the scene and what the characters want. To do this, the actors must bring all they have learned thus far into the creation of a full character that lives within the given circumstances of their scene. Finally, to test their flexibility and creativity, they incorporated small improvs at the beginning or ending of pre-written scenes.”

Student Takeaways

“Lawrence has a unique way of getting certain points through to us by playing fun and engaging games,” said Elisabeth, a middle school student. “I’d say the most interesting thing I’ve learned from those games is how important understanding others is, in an empathetic and literal way. I’ve enjoyed playing different parts and learning new things with new people. Drama has provided many memorable and happy moments for me.”

“What I have enjoyed the most is the teacher and my peers, it's a really fun program and I recommend it to others,” said Anjali. 

Our first Drama Extracurricular students have gained skills not only in acting for theater, but also in flexibility, creative thinking, and empathy and we sare so proud of all they have accomplished!