Teaching Roster

Susan Hazen Guthrie

Contact Name: Susan Guthrie

Email: Click to email

Phone: (256) 468-7077

Artistic Disciplines:
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Travel Regions:
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Populations/Areas of Interest:
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Virtual Programming:

Susan Hazen Guthrie is a stage director and choreographer: dance & combat. She is a curriculum specialist nationally recognized for her work in arts integration and creative-based projects. She is an author and lead artist of Shakespeare in the Classroom and The City Shakespeare Projects, Children’s Museum study guides, and community-interdisciplinary, intergenerational projects. She authors and facilitates professional development workshops for state arts councils, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation. Guthrie is a Coweeta Poet and Sundial Writer on WLRH. Ms. Guthrie is most recently published in The Rose in the World, May 2021.

Contact Susan Hazen Guthrie at susanhazenguthrie@gmail.com

Sample Programs Offered

Program Title: Shakespeare in the Classroom: Iambic Pentameter

Program Type: Arts Integration

Program Description:

IAMBIC PENTAMETER, The Rhythm in Shakespeare

This is an introduction of the rhythm Shakespeare used, was required to use in all writing. The lesson is physical and experiential, fast-paced, moving through easily achieved activities which build to an in-depth study of the rhythm and its application in dramatic verse literature. Consistently 10 syllables with five stressed syllables per line, interpretative skill broadens as students learn Shakespeare’s deft wielding of this weapon to defy the Church and monarchy of his time, create full characters beyond what is created today, and directly communicate with anyone who will explore this rhythm. Shakespeare will write irregular rhythm to show a character’s state of mind or proclamation of a lie, violence in combat or trust, and support moral teaching. Sometimes irregular verse is spoken by a villain trying to appear true, changing to perfect iambic pentameter only when he divulges his evil plans and truly evil heart.

Rhythm is physical, so it is taught physically; transitions to text; and development of student interpretation. All work follows Creative Drama: activity, in-depth exploration, assessment through inquiry and development of ideas from individual and group.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

Program Title: Shakespeare in the Classroom: Stage Combat

Program Type: Arts Integration

Program Description:

STAGE COMBAT: A Gruesome Illusion from a Perfect Partnership

Shakespeare is rife with violence, but then so is most entertainment. Stage Combat is the polar opposite of violence. It is taught with the Honor Code of Safety and on the working principle that the victim is in control of every fight move. Stage Combat is safe, a choreographed and measured phrase of movement, which requires higher-order thinking on multiple physical and mental levels, and creation and coordination with another human. To study and create combat, a knowledge of history is required; as is physical control. The excitement to participate is often a useful management tool.

Students partner with someone similar in height. This often separates cliques. Partners learn hand-to-hand moves in extreme slow-motion with the understanding that moves and fights are rehearsed every rehearsal and prior to every performance. Eventually students choreograph their own fights, motivated and with lines. When mastery is evident, situations from Shakespeare plays and text scenes will be student choreographed and performed.

This lesson is learned and advanced at other class sessions, but once combat goes into a scene, students are monitored, watched, and critiqued to insure safety.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

Program Title: Shakespeare in the Classroom: Creative Drama

Program Type: Arts Integration

Program Description:

CREATIVE DRAMA: Teaching Method, Unique Strategy

Creative Dramatics is a teaching method that can be used with any curriculum where a story is involved. In and of itself it involves an empty space, a group, and a group leader. Everything and anything needed will be created out of nothing except the imagination of the participants. This kind of work has never been more important than in the life of children and youth today. Everything is an output of someone else’s vision or a predetermined worksheet. Creative Drama opens the student to higher-order thinking, problem-solving, critical thinking, participation in a group, and the listening and processing that follows.

Fast-paced and fun activities change the space and silence lists of rules, focusing the class on what possibilities are coming next. Transition into story or chapter or scene which is told in storytelling manner brings the group together. The students tell the story back to the leader; story is cast and is on feet before anyone has time to be shy or recalcitrant. Playmaking is the story in motion and the critique session which follows. Students are simply asked what worked — comments/feedback; and what didn’t — comments/feedback. Discussion includes what to change or add. Playmaking continues 2-4 times — however long the leader determines its use. Final activity is a chance for students to relax and reflect on moral or situation or consequence. They are asked to share this — the learning is internalized, the response is authentic.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

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