8th Grade Bertolt Brecht Lesson Plan Example

Topic: Bertolt Brecht

Objectives & Outcomes

  • Students will be able to explain how Bertolt Brecht created epic theatre and why it was important to him and his political views.


  • Copies of "The Three-penny Opera" or other play by Bertolt Brecht
  • Handouts with quotes from Brecht's writings on epic theatre
  • Examples of epic theatre, such as the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games


  • Students will brainstorm what they know about Bertolt Brecht, including any highlights from their study of 20th century German literature.
  • Write their responses on the board.
  • Ask students if they are familiar with the concept of "epic theatre" and whether they can explain what it is.

Direct Instruction

  • Begin by explaining that Brecht developed the concept of "epic theatre" as a way of giving audiences a more active role in the theatre.
  • He wanted to create a sort of "theatre of the people," in which the audience is more engaged with the action on stage and more aware of the theatrical elements.
  • Using examples from the play we are studying, show how Brecht uses different techniques to achieve this goal, such as distancing the audience from the characters, using stage directions and dialog to comment on the action, and employing devices such as the "alienation effect" to make the audience more aware of the theatrical elements.

Guided Practice

  • Divide the class into small groups and give each group a scene from the play we are studying.
  • Have the groups discuss the scene and identify examples of the different theatrical techniques used by Brecht to create epic theatre.
  • Have each group present their findings to the class.

Independent Practice

  • Choose a scene from the play and create a skit that uses theatrical techniques to create epic theatre.
  • Use the props and costumes available in the classroom to stage the skit.
  • Have the class act as audience and evaluate the skit.


  • Discuss the importance of using theatrical techniques to create epic theatre.
  • Ask the students to give examples of how these techniques were used in the play-listen to their responses and discuss.


  • Observe the students during the group work activity and during the presentation to assess their understanding of the concepts. Use a rubric to evaluate their participation in the group work and their presentation.

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