CASA Theatre


    Instructor: Robert Campbell

    rcampbell@casa-arts.org / 717-732-8540

    Class Periods: HR-1-2-3 (AM) & 9-10-11 (PM)


    I’m very excited to return for my second year as your Theatre teacher here at CASA. Getting to know this school last year was absolutely the highlight of my teaching career thus far, and I am eager to continue working, listening, collaborating, and growing with you all as we strive to make both CASA and CASA Theatre names worth noting. You have a uniquely exciting opportunity to be a part of a community of artists in this school, and I hope none of us will take that for granted.


    Mr. Campbell has acted professionally with Gamut Theatre, Open Stage, Fulton Theatre, Gretna Theatre, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Philly Fringe, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, and Sight & Sound Theatres. He taught at Susquehanna Township High School in their School of Performing Arts and in the English department at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High, as well as theatre teaching with Gamut, Open Stage, Penn State's Metastages program, and more. He's directed work in those educational settings and has also directed work for Theatre Harrisburg, State College Community Theatre, Gamut's Stage Door Series, and the Philly Fringe. This two time Penn State grad (BA Theatre/Schreyer Honors '02; M.Ed C&I '08) is overjoyed to get to continue living his passion for teaching young actors and artists here at CASA, and is beyond honored to continue the work of his friends and mentors who've taught in this program before him. Mr. Campbell and his wife Alexis met working in the theatre community in Harrisburg, and he considers his best job ever being a husband to her and a dad to his daughter Rosemary. He would encourage you visit his teacher webpage to find out more.

    CORE CONCEPTS 2017-18

    We will strive to build a classroom culture that is centered around some key principles and ideas...


      1. There are no "stars," we will embrace a "team first" attitude, and we will prioritize the ensemble over the individual.


      1. This is the moment that matters.

      2. Leave all non-curricular related drama outside of this classroom.


      1. An actor cannot play an emotion without faking it. Actors play ACTIONS, not emotions.

      2. Play the action and the emotion will follow much more naturally. This is true onstage and off.


      1. Objectives+Obstacles=Drama/Action. This is another fundamental concept for actors to master.


      1. By holding ourselves to the standard of those who make their living in this profession we will empower ourselves to do our best work now and to deserve to join their ranks later.

      2. By learning about the icons of this profession (their ideas/philosophies, their contributions, their work, their careers) we will learn more clearly what those standards are.

      3. By engaging with working professionals as often as possible we will continue to refine our knowledge of current best practices and professional standards.

    6. SAY YES:

      1. This fundamental of improvisational work is about a number of things: acceptance, commitment, positivity, and a willingness to embrace the challenges of the unexpected.

      2. As a team, we will strive to “say yes” to the opportunities for learning and growth that come our way, “say yes” to collaborations, “say yes” to our responsibility to ourselves, our peers, our classmates, our friends, and our teachers, administrators, mentors, and staff.

    7. INQUIRY: student-led opportunities for research in the areas where their passions lie.

      1. When research projects are assigned (approx. once per marking period) students will be given great flexibility to have choice and input on those projects in order to maximize their learning experience.

      2. Students should feel welcome to approach Mr. Campbell if they want to let him know about specific areas of research interest within the theatre arts, as he will do all he can to support their pursuits of learning within this discipline. Options available to students include:

        1. Outside audition coaching;

        2. Recommendations for internships, colleges, or further study;

        3. Differentiated instruction to maximize learning potential and career interests;

        4. And more.

    8. PASSION & COMPASSION: We will put our hearts and souls into the work, but we will strive to be patient and understanding with ourselves and each other. We will all have our days where we fail ourselves, but as long as we return to a place of respect and compassion in our relationships with each other, we can truly accomplish anything when we set our minds to it.


    Our grades in this class will be completed on a points basis.  Smaller assignments (small homework assignments, short in-class assignments, day-to-day performing arts class sessions or work sessions) will be given grades of 10-15 points or less and evaluated for completion as well as effective and focused participation.  Medium-sized assignments (quizzes, small projects requiring 1-2 days of in-class preparation) will likely have 15-30 points in grade value and be evaluated for correctness, adherence to the guidelines of the assignment, or even a short rubric.  Larger project-based, written papers, or larger-scale evaluations (test-level or exam-level assignments) will be given a point value of 30-50, or more, and be evaluated with a detailed rubric.


    CASA has a new school-wide late work policy this year. Late work will be evaluated at 75% of the score (after grading) until the end of a unit or series of lessons, after which point it receives a zero.


    Our overall approach this year will be to work through theatre history from ancient Greece to the 1700-1800s. This is “year one” of the CASA Theatre curriculum framework, which studies the classics in year one and the contemporary in year two. Additionally, we will take time to explore our IA curriculum and collaborate with our peers in other disciplines.

    1. MP1:

      1. Overall MP1 goals

        1. Portfolio Piece #1 (resume) & #2 (monologue #1)

        2. Theatre History: Storytelling, Ancient Greek, & Roman Theatre units

        3. Guest Artist

      2. AUGUST

        1. Introduction to class, expectations and norms, physical/vocal/improv warm-up intros, goal-setting individually and as a class, choose monologue #1

      3. SEPTEMBER

        1. Monologue #1 workshops

        2. Research Project (presentation): ancient theatrical forms

        3. Storytelling unit: group storytelling projects and outreach

        4. Ancient Greek culture and early theatre lessons

        5. Resume development

        6. AM group: quarterly IA collaboration; PM group: Wednesday IA experiences

      4. OCTOBER

        1. Acting scene study (Greek Theatre): scenes from Greek Theatre (outdoor presentations, Riverfront Park)

        2. Mask & Movement Workshops

        3. Greek Chorus and Choral Performance Workshops

        4. Greek Theatre & Roman Theatre units

        5. PM group: Wednesday IA experiences

      5. Beginning of NOVEMBER

    2. MP2:

      1. Overall MP2 goals

        1. Portfolio Piece #3 (song #1 or monologue #2)

        2. (extracurricular) FALL PLAY: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield

        3. MIDYEAR Showcases

        4. Theatre History: Asian Theatre, Medieval Theatre, early Renaissance Theatre

        5. Guest Artist

      2. NOVEMBER

        1. Asian Theatre unit

        2. Portfolio Development workshops

        3. PM group: Wednesday IA experiences

        4. MIDYEAR development process

      3. DECEMBER

        1. Research Project (writing): in-depth research, analysis, and review of live performance

        2. MIDYEAR rehearsals

        3. AM group: quarterly IA collaboration; PM group: Wednesday IA experiences

      4. JANUARY

        1. MIDYEAR final rehearsals and performances

        2. Medieval Theatre unit & Acting Scene Study (scenes from Everyman)

        3. Early Renaissance lessons

        4. PM group: Wednesday IA experiences

    3. MP3:

      1. Overall MP3 goals

        1. Portfolio Piece #4 (monologue #2 or song #1) and #5 (headshots)

        2. (extracurricular) SPRING MUSICAL: ??? (TBA)

        3. Theatre History: Renaissance Theatre, Shakespeare, and Restoration Comedy

        4. Guest Artist

      2. End of JANUARY

      3. FEBRUARY

        1. Headshot photographs

        2. Technical Theatre: focus on artist-managers

        3. Renaissance Theatre & Shakespeare unit pt. 1

        4. Research Project: Renaissance and Restoration

        5. AM group: quarterly IA collaboration; PM group: ramped up IA experiences

      4. MARCH

        1. Portfolio workshops

        2. Acting Scene Study (Shakespeare): technique focus on vocal pedagogy

        3. Renaissance Theatre & Shakespeare unit pt. 2

        4. Restoration Comedy unit

        5. Commedia Dell’Arte workshops

        6. Voice workshops

        7. PM group: ramped up IA experiences

    4. MP4:

      1. Overall MP4 goals

        1. Portfolio Piece #6 (student choice)

        2. Theatre History: French Comedy, Victorian-era Theatre, Early American Theatre

        3. CASA Live! END OF YEAR show (PM)

        4. END OF YEAR Showcase (AM)

        5. Guest Artist: stage combat and/or alumni

      2. APRIL

        1. Acting Scene Study (Moliere & others): technique focus on broad classical comedy style and period movements

        2. END OF YEAR rehearsals

        3. French Comedy unit

        4. Victorian Era Theatre unit

        5. Period movement and performance styles workshops

        6. Research Project: dramaturgy, historical/period research

      3. MAY

        1. Portfolio Workshops

        2. Early American Theatre unit

        3. Clowning and vaudeville comedy workshops

        4. END OF YEAR Showcase (AM) and CASA Live! (PM)

      4. JUNE

        1. Finals review & final exams

        2. Planning ahead for 2018-19, end of year reflections and student input/feedback for instructional review


    We hold our students at CASA to a high standard.  Your presence in this program is a privilege, and it should be treated as such.  While engaged in all classroom experiences, students will be expected to:

    1. Focus their eyes and ears on whoever is speaking or leading the exercise;

    2. Maintain an air of professionalism and focus at all times;

    3. Respect their teachers, guests, and peers with the utmost courtesy;

    4. Collaborate with all of their fellow students without hesitation or complaint;

    5. To speak when given permission (you may certainly ask for permission to speak at any appropriate time);

    6. Follow directions and instructions carefully in all classroom work;

    7. Be ready for the task at hand (prepare yourself for the work of that day--do not come to class unprepared);

    8. Not chew gum or bring food to class.  Throughout the school gum is allowed, but chewing gum is a hindrance (even a danger) to our performance work.  Water is acceptable in class;

    9. Cell phones will be kept out of sight in the door-hanging pouch provided unless they are permitted to be used during the course of a specific assignment (this will only happen rarely).  If unauthorized use of the phone becomes a problem, students will be asked to turn over their cell phones at the beginning of class and the phone will be returned at the end of class (see cell phone policy below);

    10. Understand that you are an ambassador for this school and are enrolled in an exciting program.  If you represent yourself well, you will represent the program well.


    CASA has a schoolwide behavioral initiative this year called PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies. Expectations for positive behaviors will be posted in all classroom areas and discussed, and students who meet positive behavioral goals will be rewarded.


    CASA has a new schoolwide policy (effective in both CASA and Temple) of no food or drink in classroom areas (bottled water excepted). Students needing breakfast before the 7:45 start of classes or students needing after-school snacking (for rehearsals and extracurricular meetings) must do so in the cafeteria area. Documented medical needs are an exception to this policy.


    All classrooms are now equipped with a sign-in and sign-out sheet and three key fobs to borrow (if needed) for access to the bathroom, offices, cafeteria, or other out-of-class school locations. Key fobs must be returned with each use.


    Unless the student has dispensation to do so as part of an approved educational plan, cell phones and other personal electronic devices must not make an appearance during class.  Students will be warned first, then asked to turn over the device, which the teacher may then turn in to administration if the device has become problematic to focus during class.  Students may be allowed to use personal electronic devices for research purposes at points during class, but only when the teacher clearly specifies this are the devices allowed to then be used for those explicitly educational purposes.  Students are not to attempt to charge or plug in their electronics during class, and devices may be confiscated immediately if this occurs.


    Students must bring in and keep in their lockers/bring to class:

    1. A movement uniform consisting of: loose black or grey yoga/dance/athletic pants, a white or grey t-shirt (short or long sleeve), and simple unadorned black or dark shoes conducive to movement work (jazz shoes, Keds, Toms, Vans, or something like those examples).  This uniform will be worn for special movement and dance-based workshop sessions in class and students will be notified in advance and given time to change when it is time to utilize their movement clothing.

    2. A three-ring binder for collection and organization of classroom materials.

    3. A water bottle.

    4. Any other materials they will need for classwork.

    5. Recommended: a bag that can hold all of these materials, making it easier to bring them to and from class each day without making a trip to the lockers.


    Every day we are in this class we should expect to move and engage our bodies in any number of ways.  Our art form requires it.  Because of this, we must be prepared to work every day.  You must come to class every day in an outfit that can fulfill all of the requirements listed below:

    1. Complies with the school dress code (obviously);

    2. Allows you the freedom to move in a wide range of ways, i.e. a non-restrictive outfit;

    3. Will permit you to sit on the floor or crouch on your knees if needed;

    4. Will cover your foot securely and stay on your foot (no loose sandals or flip flops).  We will not work in bare feet in our classroom space unless a script, show, exercise, or guest artist requires us to.

    You may feel like being dressed up some days.  This is fine.  Just make sure you can do all of those things, even on your more dressed-up days.  It is not acceptable to participate in an activity in this class at less than 100% of your ability because of clothing restrictions, and your grade will reflect a lack of readiness in this regard.  Dress for success!


    CASA Theatre believes that any student who finishes even one year in the curriculum should have a foundational theatre portfolio that opens the doors of possibility for them to book work in the theatre world. Each year, students will develop two monologues, one song, a resume, a set of headshot photographs, and one additional self-selected portfolio item. Students who remain in the program multiple years will finish school with a wide array of audition materials ready to help them compete in auditions for college and pre-professional training programs as well as career-building productions in the performing arts industry.


    Both AM and PM classes will participate meaningfully in our IA curriculum experiences. AM classes will participate on approximately a bi-monthly basis as a means to prepare them for their junior and senior year IA work. PM classes will meet weekly until the spring semester, when our meeting times will increase leading up to the end of year showcase event. My goal as a theatre instructor is to help provide you with multiple conventional outlets for performance (including this year’s fall play, which I’m directing,  improv opportunities, and the spring musical, for which I’ll be assisting the terrific team you already have in place). The IA experience is different. It is about embracing the role of an artist as a collaborator, unique storyteller, and multidisciplinary specialist. Very few other schools provide this kind of unique opportunity, and you will be expected to embrace it and engage in it with discipline, respect for your collaborators and teachers and school, and enthusiasm. Failure to do this will result in your IA experience being less than ideal, and your grades related to IA will reflect this with clear expectations being set and maintained. Success in this endeavor will show you some of the limitless possibilities a theatre artist can experience and make you a more fully realized artist. Establishing from the very beginning a positive attitude, open mind, and willing spirit will be key to a successful IA experience.


    Theatre students will be mandatorily required to attend outside rehearsals for both their midyear and end of year performances. These rehearsals each represent a mid-size assignment grade. School policy allows for students to miss only one of these rehearsals with a parent excuse note; after that, a doctor’s note is required for all missed rehearsals. Dates and times are provided below so that proper planning can take place.



    Mandatory Midyear Rehearsals: Tuesday January 9th from 2:40-4:30 pm; Tech rehearsals for midyear in 2:40-4:30 pm window Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday- Thursday, January 22nd-25th (show week), will be confirmed or canceled closer to the show in coordination with other arts area schedules (in the past we have had no more than two of these, and that will likely remain the most we do). The show on Wednesday the 24th should be finished by 9:00 pm and the students should be released from their post-show strike obligations by approx. 10:00 pm.

    Mandatory Midyear Rehearsals: Thursday January 18th from 2:40-4:30 pm; Tech rehearsals for midyear in 2:40-4:30 pm window Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday- Thursday, January 22nd-25th (show week), will be confirmed or canceled closer to the show in coordination with other arts area schedules (in the past we have had no more than two of these, and that will likely remain the most we do). The show on Thursday the 25th should be finished by 9:00 pm and the students should be released from their post-show strike obligations by approx. 10:00 pm.

    Mandatory End of Year Rehearsals:

    Thursday April 12th, 2:40-4:30 pm; Thursday April 26th, 2:40-4:30 pm; Saturday May 5th, 10:00 am-2:00 pm;

    Tech rehearsals for AM End of Year in 2:40-4:30 pm window Monday-Tuesday- Wednesday-Thursday, May 7th-10th (show week), will be confirmed or canceled closer to the show in coordination with other arts area schedules (in the past we have had no more than two of these, and that will likely remain the most we do). The show on Thursday the 10th should be finished by 9:00 pm and the students should be released from their post-show strike obligations by approx. 10:00 pm.

    Mandatory End of Year Rehearsals:

    Wednesday April 4th, 2:40-4:30 pm; Monday April 9th, 2:40-4:30 pm; Wednesday April 11th, 2:40-4:30 pm; Tuesday April 17th, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Thursday April 19th, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Monday April 23rd, 2:40-4:30 pm; Wednesday April 25th, 2:40-4:30 pm; Tuesday May 1st, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Thursday May 3rd, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Monday May 7th, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Tuesday May 15th, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Thursday May 17th, 2:40-4:30 pm;

    Tech Week rehearsals for PM End of Year are held all day at the Whitaker Center, primarily, and our tech week window this year is Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday- Thursday May 21st-24th, with an afternoon and evening window extended until roughly 7:00 pm, although we finalize these times closer to the week and expect to be able to schedule to release the students earlier based on our experience with last year’s show.

    The show on Thursday the 24th should be finished by 9:00 pm and the students should be released from their post-show strike obligations by approx. 10:00 pm.


    This year we are planning a school-wide field trip to Baltimore on Friday, October 27th and our annual upperclass field trip to New York City on Wednesday, May 30th. Fundraising and account payments for these field trips will begin early in the school year. Additonal fundraising will be done early in the year to supplement our guest artist budget with this year’s CASA Walk. The CASA Walk is scheduled for Thursday, October 19th.


    Parents, guardians, and students should feel free to contact me at any point with questions or feedback.  I am here to help.  This unique experience means that I need to be more open and available to my students and their families.  I am happy to provide you with my CASA contact info: rcampbell@casa-arts.org & 717-732-8450.

    Feel free to join our CASA Theatre facebook group. The group exists to help promote opportunities, showcase work onstage and in the classroom, and celebrate the successes of our students and alumni in productions both in and out of school. I welcome parents (and interested program alumni or supporters) to be in it so that they are in the know as well.

    All Theatre students are asked to return the permission for outside work form as soon as possible with a parent signature. This allows our students to work on IA-related projects, student films, and other productions that necessitate them working off campus near Strawberry Square. Utilizing the downtown Harrisburg, Riverfront Park, and State Capitol area as an extension of our educational experience is an essential part of CASA’s mission. As a rule, students are always required to work in groups for these kinds of experiences.

    Family members are always welcome to join us for any performances we have throughout the year, curricular or extracurricular.  Any parents who would like to volunteer time to help put together show-related production elements (costumes, lights, sound, set, marketing, etc.) or who’d like to help with ushering and concessions or other house management tasks are welcome to contact me.  I think we could use all the help we can get!  It is not a requirement, though, of course.

    Thank you! This is a lot of information; I hope it's a helpful resource. Let's have a great year!
    Mr. Campbell