Educational theatre speaks to young audiences

Posted on March 25, 2011

UP Drama creates original, new programmes each year that targets specific themes identified by the police and schools. The department’s educational theatre makes use of a mixture of theatrical forms, participatory and educational techniques to reach audiences. The programmes facilitate ways in which learners can get to know more about a topic, think critically about the topic and reflect on problems or issues related to the topic. The power of this form of theatre lies in its immediacy, its power to communicate visually and viscerally, its ability to involve direct action and its potential to incorporate cultural values.

For 2011, the department created two bilingual programmes that played three times per day at different primary schools in Villeria and Eersterus. Both programmes centered on the theme “Together we can make a difference”, and in specific addressed issues such as bullying, respect for others, and sexual misconduct. It was a demanding run that required students to draw on, and integrate, their physical, vocal, acting, facilitation and improvisational skills. Students had to adapt to changing performance circumstances, venues and audiences.

The feedback that the programmes received from schools was overwhelmingly positive. The students felt that the process was a great learning curve for them, not only in terms of performance skills, but also in terms of what they have learned about themselves and about the ways in which theatre can be used to advocate for active and responsible citizenship.

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