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Harris, Maurice


The John Marshall Theatre Department

Students who enroll in theatre courses here at John Marshall High School have three basic options for their introductory fine arts credit:  Theatre Arts I, Technical Theatre I, and Theatre Production I.  Both Theatre Arts I and Technical Theatre I are open enrollment courses, but Theatre Production requires permission from the drama director.  Theatre production also requires the completion of Theatre Arts I as a prerequisite for registration.  All three courses are year-long and allow students the opportunity to earn one full credit in fine arts.

Theatre students at Marshall have the distinct benefit of studying in an award-winning program that has achieved statewide recognition in the UIL One-Act Play contest many times over the last 30 years, most recently in the spring of 2012.  Ranking in the top eight 5A schools in Texas, Marshall theatre students advanced to the State Finals in the 2012 UIL One-Act Play contest with their production of "The Heiress."  Marshall also advanced to state in 2005 with "Rimers of Eldritch"  and in 2006 with "The Cripple of Inishmaan."  As mentioned, only eight schools make it to the state finals in each of the five conference divisions of UIL, and the Marshall High School theatre department has advanced to state three times since 2005.

Educational theatre is an extremely important discipline in the fine arts department at John Marshall High School.  Our philosophy of education in general is informed by our philosophy of theatre -- that acting is really the study of human nature and that by playing a character in a play or working behind the scenes on a production students get an opportunity to learn more about themselves and others by putting themselves in someone else's shoes and simply working together in a group for the common goal of creating something artistic.  In addition to the experience of being in a play, students are exposed to the academics of literature, history, sociology, geography and the technical skills required to build, make, and create sets, props, costumes, light, and sound.  To be sure, students gain a broad-based education in theatre, ranging from improved reading to applied geometry to social studies.  In the words of William Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage," and at John Marshall students gain knowledge and skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives as they grow and mature and act on the stage of the real world.



The Technical Theatre Program

Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is technical theatre?  Technical, or tech, theatre is a year-long (1 credit) fine arts course in the “behind-the-scenes work” of theatre productions.
  • What is a techie?  A techie (also, spelled “tekkie”) is a technician who works in any technical area of a theatre production.
  • Where is the tech theatre classroom?  Tech theatre meets in the auditorium, except during assemblies or other meetings or events. During assemblies, we sometimes go to the cafeteria for class.
  • What do we do in tech theatre?  We do a lot of reading in technical theatre. We will read and study all the plays to be produced this year. We will read and study theatre history and appreciation. We also will learn how to design and build sets, props, lights, sounds, costume, and make up.
  • What supplies do I need to get for tech theatre?   You will need a spiral notebook and a clasp folder with pockets. It must have clasps AND pockets.  You also need a pen, a pencil, an eraser, and paper. Your spiral will be for taking notes and your folder will be for keeping work.
  • Is there is textbook for tech theatre.  Yes. The book is titled, “Theatrical Design and Production.” There is only one classroom set of books, so a book will NOT be issued to you. However, when you use the book in class, you will use the same book every time.
  • Is there homework in tech theatre.  You will have homework if you don’t finish your classwork, so get it done in class and you won’t have to take it home. You WILL have homework when you need to study for quiz or test, which will be about once a week or so.
  • How will I be graded in technical theatre?   Everything you do in class will be evaluated and 10 assignments will count as graded work. Some work is for participation, some for mastery, but every graded assignment has equal weight. 
  • Do we have assigned seats in the auditorium?  YES. Students sit in alphabetical order according to their last name in the center rows near the stage, seven (7) students per row. Leave one empty seat between you and the other student.
  • Do I have to work after school for tech theatre?   No. The only time you will have to come after school is to re-take a test or to complete make up work. All retests and makeup work must be completed before or after school.

Instructor:  Maurice M. Harris

Daily Schedule








8:50 am – 9:39 am

Theatre Production




9:44 am – 10:33 am

Technical Theatre I 


No Phone


10:41 am – 11:30 am

Technical Theatre I 




11:30 am – 12:25 pm

Technical Theatre I 




12:25 pm – 1:20 pm

Technical Theatre II-IV 




1:25 pm – 2:15 pm


Off Campus 



2:20 pm – 3:10 pm

Technical Theatre I 




3:15 pm – 4:05 pm




Course Study Outline

The Year at a Glance  



Six Wks

Topic & Unit(s) of Study

Six Weeks Ends


Theatre History & Appreciation

  • Theatre History-Prehistoric to Present
  • Group Nature of Working in Theatre
  • Audience Etiquette
  • Roles & Responsibilities

Oct 3 (29 days)


Theatrical Design

  • Parts of a theatre
  • Types of theatres
  • Types of sets
  • Styles of Drama

Nov. 14    (29 days)


Theatre Safety, Tools, & Practices

  • Basic Theatre Safety
  • Purpose & Function of Tools
  • Measuring & Marking
  • Supplies & Media

Jan. 19 (30 days)


Basic Set Construction

  • How to Build Flats
  • How to Build Platforms
  • How to Build Props & Furniture
  • Painting & Set Dressing

Mar. 6 (33 days)


Lighting & Sound Design

  • History of Stage Lighting
  • Principles of Light & Color
  • Lighting Instruments & Usage
  • Light Plot Development
  • Writing & Using Cue Sheets

Apr. 23 (28 days)


Costume & Makeup Design

  • Character Analysis
  • Basic Stage Makeup
  • Old Age Makeup
  • Special Effects

Jun. 4 (28 days)



Technical Theatre Rules!


  • No food or drink is permitted in the auditorium. No exceptions.
  • Come to class every day on time. If you arrive after the tardy bell, go to tardy round-up.
  • Sign out or sign in if you leave or return to class, even if you are late, and especially if you are given a pass.
  • Come to class prepared. You will need paper, pen, and pencil for this class.
  • Follow all school rules: no electronic devices, no prohibited dress, & no inappropriate behavior.
  • Follow all shop safety rules while working onstage or backstage, especially when using technical theatre tools and equipment.
  • Raise your hand if you want to talk out loud with the attention of the entire class.
  • Be positive and professional in your attitude, your thinking, your speech, and your actions.
  • Do not leave class until you are properly dismissed.

The Call Board

Project Date

Production Flyers

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Lesson Plans

Title Filename Modified
LP 20080825.doc 8/22/2008

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