Mystery Dinner Theater as Fundraiser
best for: grades 4-12
Enthusiastic writers and performers! An Educational Fundraiser! Does it get any better than this for the school, the students, their families and the entire community?
Engage your students in a unique, fun-filled classroom exercise, generating a collaboratively developed script that can be staged as a Mystery Dinner Theater production, raising funds for the school and earning positive publicity for the community while emphasizing the writing process.
The script will be created over the course of three full days of classroom visits. It will NOT be a murder mystery, nor will it include other topics that would not be appropriate for inclusion in a school production.
On the first day, the setting is established through brainstorming in the initial session. The next classes provide the character types, who are given psychological profiles and personality traits. Not one word of the script will be written on the first day because, as the students are reminded, this is a process -- you can't build the first floor of the house without a foundation; the first-day information we gather is our foundation.
The play is written in a similarly collaborative manner over the next two days.
The culminating project, a mystery play, represents an imaginative and creative piece of collaborative writing.
-- Linda Jensen, Lucy Evans, Gorham (NH) Middle School
No one will know who has committed the crime until the last class on the final day. Those students will decide who did it, while providing in the script satisfactory answers to the questions of -- How was the crime committed, in more detail? Why was the crime committed, in more detail? How was the crime solved, in detail?
Included in this highly interactive exercise is a mini-lesson on writing dialogue, as well as discussions of such mystery-writing staples as red herrings, foreshadowing, clues and dramatic tension. Important concepts of revision and editing come up naturally during this process.
Art, Music and even Math are other content areas that can be incorporated in the process. The production, meanwhile, can be used as a variation on the Spaghetti-Supper Fundraiser theme.
Want to work with Steve? Contact him.