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How To: Preparing for a Festival

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Blocking and Stage Direction

Children's Shakespeare Festival

Blocking is the director’s arrangement of actors’ movement on the stage with respect to one another and the stage space.  Some directors discover ideas for blocking during the rehearsal process, but it is useful to have ideas about blocking before rehearsal.  Plans will evolve and change, and wonderful things will happen.


Useful Terms

Upstage: The back of the stage, away from the audience

Downstage: The front of the stage, closest to the audience

Centerstage: The middle of the stage

Stage Right: The side of the stage that is on the actor’s right as s/he faces the audience

Stage Left: The side of the stage that is on the actor’s left as s/he faces the audience

Cross: Movement from one area to another.  Designated by “X”



  • Teach students the parts of the stage and how to write blocking notes in script (Blocking is written by the line on which they move).
  • Be sure they have pencils so they can write their blocking down
  • Make sure you record the blocking in case they have forgotten
  • Use the script for tips on blocking (i.e. "She exits")
  • The play process may be new for most of your students, and therefore frustrating.  If a student becomes frustrated to the point of wanting to quit, try working one-on-one with the student and addressing his or her frustration.  If after some reflection, deep breathing, and calming down, both you and your actor agree that things are not working, think about diplomatically switching parts.
  • Be flexible! This will get you through many complications!

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