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BWW Blog: Using YouTube as a Learning Tool for Theatre Artists

So with nothing to juggle, what do you do? YouTube.

BWW Blog: Using YouTube as a Learning Tool for Theatre Artists

Like most people in the world, quarantine threw me for a loop. What do I do with all this free time? For the first time in years, no rehearsals, auditions, or classes were inked on my calendar. Theatre artists live a "go, go, go" lifestyle with jam packed schedules to constantly juggle.

So with nothing to juggle, what do you do?


Most of us are still living with restricted access to school, theatre, and training due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I started using Youtube as a source of education in high school, watching bootlegs to learn dances and mimic actors' performances. However, during the pandemic I discovered a different side of "Youtube theatre" that honestly changed my life! Since Youtube hosts the good, the bad, and the ugly, I am going to give you my top ten favorite videos or channels that have helped me continue learning and training from home. (They are not in any particular order)

1. Broadway's Dreamers: The Legacy of The Group Theatre, from "American Masters"

There is so much valuable information on the history of The Group Theatre in this hour and a half documentary. Former members of The Group Theatre talk about how the ensemble was formed, who was involved, what they stood for, how they worked, etc. This documentary was a tremendous help in figuring out who Stanisavlski, Lee Strasburg, Clifford Oddets, Stella Adler, Cheryl Crawford, Harold Clurman, and many more important names in theatre were.

2. David Mammet- The Playwright Directs

Directors, playwrights, actors, designers, and everyone else under the sun needs to watch David Mammet direct. That is essentially what this video is. Two minutes into the video, Mammet gives an intro saying, "In this program we have recreated in a television studio several successive days of the rehearsal process, which of course takes weeks, as well as small excerpts from two plays, Dark Pony and Reunion." This changed the way I look at directing, from both a director's point of view and actors point of view.

3. Stella Adler: Awake and Dream! From "American Masters"

Similar to the Broadway Dreamer's video but focuses on Stella Adler and her life, work, and impact in the theatre. I am biased because I love Stella Adler and train there (They offer amazing online classes from both the LA and NY studios. I highly recommend it!) Even if you do not prefer Adler's teaching, watch it for the video clips of her teaching students. Her passion will seep through the screen and spark a drive in you!

4. Uta Hagen's Acting Class

The title says it. You guessed it. It's Uta Hagen's acting class. A lot of these videos I am recommending are recordings of classes or workshops, so they are as long as a typical class or workshop. Before you give up on this three hour video, consider watching it in bits, or treat it like a real life class. Set a time for your class to begin, get a pen and notebook ready, and play it from your laptop taking notes along the way! Bet you didn't think you could take a class from Uta Hagen in the comfort of your own home (or apartment! or dorm!)

5. Stephen Schwartz on crafting musical theatre

I started writing my first musical this summer! I was so excited until I remembered that I didn't know how to write a musical. What better person to give you the foundations of writing musical theatre than Stephen Schwartz.

6. Art is a weapon for social change: Dr. Tammy L. Brown at TEDxXavierUniversity

Dr. Brown breaks down and gives words to the power of art and how it can solve deep problems and unite a polarized country. She describes art as a weapon that is used to educate, enlighten, advance political awareness, and uplift spirits. If you are going to watch one video on the list, make it this one. Learning how to create your work is important, but discovering what change you can make by sharing your work is vital.

7. Dr. Ken Atchity Interviews

These videos are for those interested in the philosophical approach to being an artist. There are several videos on the channel "Film Courage" interviewing Dr. Ken Atchity on being an artist. Dr. Atchity is an author, professor, editor, and professor. Some of the topics covered include time management as an artist, being an artist is lonely, artistic calling, and living out your dream. When I feel discouraged, I find myself rewatching these videos. He explains the life and minds of artists to a T.

8. AT&T Performing Arts Center Channel

Dancers, this is for you! No matter your age or skill level, AT&TPAC @Home series is amazing. I have used youtube a lot for at home yoga and ballet, but had a hard time finding good online classes for any other style of dance. Each class is about 20 minutes long, allowing you to explore the wide variety of dance styles taught. Jazz, Indian Classical Dance, Salsa, Ballet Folklorico, and Dunham are just a few of the dance styles you can learn.

9. Gaga Dance

I am kinda cheating on this one because I am going to recommend you go to their gofundme page for classes BUT I originally discovered Gaga dance on Youtube. Gaga dance is a movement language developed by the Batsheva Dance Company director and teacher Ohad Naharin. Dancers improvise unconventional movements in response to stimulating imagery given by the instructor. Watch some Youtube videos of Gaga dance before your first class and if you have access to a private space, take your first class in a private space. You will be doing lots of exploration through movement and need to feel comfortable to fully embrace the experience of Gaga Dance.

10. Nicolas Acciani

If you are not a stage manager, it is time you learn why you need worship at the feet of your stage manager. Nicholas Acciani's channel is basically a masterclass on stage management. I did not find this channel on my own. This semester, I am taking a stage management class and my professor advised us to check out this channel (shout out to Brad). From learning how to call cues, make a prompt book, write stage direction, and coil wires, you are bound to learn something new from Nicolas's videos.

Follow me on social media and share your favorite Youtube videos with me! @macymcowart

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From This Author - Student Blogger: Macy Mae Cowart