Youth Theatre (London, England)
Photos and Captions by Teresa Fisher
This summer, I spent 3 weeks in London with 28 other theatre students and professionals participating in a graduate course called Youth Theatre, which focused on the use of drama in schools. We spent time in small groups observing and teaching in a school. Some students were in primary schools while others were in secondary schools. This series of photos shows some of the work we did at Friars Primary School., In this photo, Tyson Schrader is teaching students about preventing bullying through a process drama workshop we prepared. We worked with fifth graders over three days.
Sarah Petri works with students to create the next part of the drama they are creating together which addressed bullying through the experience of a person living on a space station. Throughout the course, we met with British drama tutors affiliated with various universities and theatres in the London area including the Unicorn Theatre.. These theatre educators who are well-versed in the fields of drama in education and theatre in education, assisted us with the process of preparing the lesson plans we taught. We also had academic tutors to give us feedback on the critical analysis journals and unit plans we prepared.
Here Tyson is working with the students to review the work they did together in small groups creating movement to the song they devised the day before. During our program, we also participated in workshops with leaders in the field of educational theatre, including Dorothy Heathcote, Cecily O’Neill, Jonothan Neelands, and Judith Ackroyd. In preparation for those workshops, we read books by or about those educators including Mantle of the Expert by Dorothy Heathcote and Gavin Bolton, Structure and Spontaneity by Dr. Phillip Taylor, and Role Reconsidered by Judith Ackroyd.
Sharyne Beza and Tyson worked with the Friars students in small groups on reflection pieces based on the previous work done in the drama. In addition to our academic studies, we also took a field trip to Stratford-upon-Avon where we saw a performance of the Ionesco play, Macbett. We also saw many other shows during our stay in London, including St. Joan at the Royal National Theatre and 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre.We had many opportunities to better understand the educational system in England as well as appreciate the rich culture.