Quick-start guide for grownups.
Welcome to a fantastic tool for enthusing your school!
‘Act It!’ is a fun read-through of the entire show - performed by the writer and a cast of voice actors.
Who It’s For
‘Act It!’ can help everyone involved in the production:
Teachers can use it as a reference, rehearsal aid and curriculum-linked learning activity.
Performers can use it for inspiration and practice. It is especially helpful for pupils with reading difficulties.
Parents can use it with their children to assist with learning lines.
Technicians can use it to get a feel for the show.
What It IS
Think of ‘Act It!’ as a storyboard, working in a similar way to illustrated storyboards. It is designed to inspire and assist. It is not designed to merely sound like a recording of the finished show. You don’t have to copy it exactly (although you are welcome to!)
If you are directing the production, imagine ‘Act It!’ as an extra teacher – demonstrating the timing and delivery of lines. Children in particular can struggle with “gabbling” through scenes. ‘Act It!’ can assist with getting around this.
Encouraging children to perform in sync with ‘Act It!’ can, for example, help them speak clearer, get the knack of comic timing and develop the art of milking their role so the audience can love their performance.
How To Use ‘Act It!’
How you use this resource is, of course, up to you! However, here are some suggested steps to getting the most out of ‘Act It!’
Listen through the ‘Act It!’ yourself with the script to quickly get familiar with the show.
Prior to casting, play ‘Act It!’ to your pupils with the script so you can all listen and read together.
Upload the ‘Act It!’ and the script to a closed network or website so that your pupils can access it for inspiration.
Please do not upload resources to your public website, as doing so can encourage piracy, infringe Copyright, and threaten future productions.
Begin casting. Your pupils can use ‘Act It!’ to help them decide what roles to try out for.
Once you have cast your roles, use ‘Act It!’ in your group rehearsals to regularly practice along with the audio and the script.
Encourage your pupils to also practice along with ‘Act It!’ at home, seeing how quickly they can get to performing “in time” and “without the script.”
In group rehearsals, see how well your pupils can perform “in time” with ‘Act It!’ and without scripts.
Begin withdrawing ‘Act It!’ from group rehearsals, ensuring that your pupils are still delivering their lines clearly. You can always refer them back to ‘Act It!’ if they need a bit more help.
Refer your technicians to ‘Act It!’ for ideas. Departments for art, props, costumes, sound and lighting can benefit greatly from familiarising themselves with the musical in this way.
Some of the roles in ‘Act It!’ are voiced by grownups. Why? Isn’t this a children’s musical?
All our grownup roles have been written so they can be performed by children. However, in our experience, children are more inspired if they hear age-appropriate voices initially. For example, they would find it a bit strange if Bugs Bunny had a child’s voice! This does not mean that you should cast grownups in any of the grownup roles (unless you want to).
Do we have to copy the accents?
No, but you are welcome to! We have given some characters particular accents to enhance their appeal. Sometimes, the script might suggest how a voice should be performed – and ‘Act It!’ reflects that. As always, feel free to interpret the musical in your own way.
We need to change the dialogue. Won’t that make ‘Act It!’ less useful?
Not necessarily. After all, ‘Act It!’ is designed to inspire and assist, not to dictate. If you need to deviate slightly from the original script, your pupils will still be able to apply their inspiration from ‘Act It!’ to your personalised dialogue. Making big alterations to the original script will obviously reduce the effectiveness of ‘Act It!’
We need to downsize/upsize the cast. Won’t that make ‘Act It!’ confusing?
Again, not really. See the previous answer!
Some of the speech sounds a bit slower and more exaggerated than it would be in real life. Is this deliberate?
Yes. We have recorded ‘Act It!’ to equip your pupils for the stage, where speech usually has to be more exaggerated than in real life. The purpose of this is to encourage your pupils to always speak loudly and clearly for their audience.
Some stage directions are spoken on the recording. Should we read these aloud during the performance?
No. We have recorded some of the stage directions to give some helpful commentary and assist your company with timings during rehearsals.
Does the length of the ‘Act It!’ recording correspond to the length of the actual show?
Generally, ‘Act It!’ recordings last a little longer than the show does in practice. This is because some of the spoken stage directions ‘pause’ the action briefly – usually between scenes.
We like the use of the background music in ‘Act It!’ but do we have to time our action exactly as it appears on the recording?
Usually, no. However, the music is designed to help with the pacing of the show as well as filling in gaps during scene changes etc. You may find it helpful to stick roughly to the timings demonstrated in ‘Act It!’ but yet again, your interpretation is welcome. Where something needs to happen exactly in time with the music, it will be stated in the script.
In rehearsals, we sometimes get to the next track before the current one has finished playing? Do we have to wait?
No, just check that you’re not pacing the action too quickly. We sometimes give you more audio than you need in case the scene overruns. If you are ready to move on, simply fade the current track down and move onto the next one. Check out our helpful 'Triggering Tracks' tutorial for making this a breeze!