What Is a Stimulus in Drama?

In a drama, stimuli are resources that are used to establish the context, focus and purpose of the dramatic topic being presented. Materials used as stimuli can be visual or aural in nature and can represent various genres and forms of either Western theater or theater traditions from other cultures. Different forms of stimuli include music, moving images and film clips, as well as various forms of literature.

Stimulus materials are used during tests and lessons for students of drama. Resources for stimulus materials could be recorded clips of movies or theatrical plays. These clips are then used for analytical assessment. Other materials that can be used for this purpose include dramatic texts or dramatic readings.

Although the most basic form of dramatic stimuli is that of incisive questions, other forms of art can help generate useful insights and an engaging lesson. For example, a potential musical stimulus is “March of the Toreadors” from the opera “Carmen.” Other stimuli for a drama lesson include quotations, newspaper headlines, fables, Bible stories and poems.

Still pictures, such as older photos, can also be used as a stimulus. Unusual or interesting photos can help spark the imagination and provide a baseline for analysis.