Remote theatre workshop

My talks in 2017 and 2108 at the annual IATEFL conference in the UK included live remote plays performed through Zoom by children in Palestine. This year we did something different. The participants in my workshop – teachers, teacher trainers and ELT authors from around the world -were organised into groups and given an excerpt from a script from one of three plays that were submitted for last year’s competition.

Their task (and they only had about 10 minutes to do this) was to prepare a performance of the excerpt they’d been given, and then perform it through zoom to the children who had originally created and performed it. The children and their teachers then gave the teachers feedback on their performances. Here’s the recording of the performance and feedback stage..

I think it’s clear that this is a lot of fun and also a valuable experience for everyone involved. How about arranging something similar in one of your English classes somewhere in the world?  The plays in this book could be a very good starting point for this.


3 thoughts on “Remote theatre workshop

  1. It was a wonderful experience for me and for the kids. The fact is that watching someone else performing your play is a good opportunity for us to get a real feedback about our OWN performance. The teachers performed the play as remote theatre which made us see how things go behind the camera on the other side, how the audience receive our performance and whether we are convincing or not.

    One important rule I have learned from those lovely teachers is that actors must never go dead in front of the camera, not for a second, especially when it is remote theatre. Even when they have nothing to say or do, they should do it actively and this should be mainly reflected on their faces.
    It’s also very necessary to warm up their voices and make sure they they’re giving the needed energy to be heard and understood. Here, it is worthy to mention that my students need further training on speaking clearly. They need to make sure that they speak each syllable of each word very clearly so that there is no confusion. In addition to that, they need to remember to vary their speaking speed, where to stop and where to change the tone.
    Another point, it is very much important for all performers to read the entire play to be able to determine the best ways to perform their lines, even if they only have one line or two. This will help them understand the message of their play and they will all perform in a way that supports their message.
    One last thing, physical performance is a necessity in remote theatre. It will be very boring if the play is all about dialogues. I learned that physical movement is very important to tell our story effectively and interestingly. So next time when you perform a play, make it more physical.


    1. Thanks very much for your comment Amal. I find this whole area fascinating and I think it highlights some differences in how different people view the ‘sacredness’ of the script, and how much people should to stick to it when they are acting. I guess saying the lines exactly as they are is a kind of respect to the authors but changing them a bit is a way of personalising things and helping the actors to ‘own’ the text more. The teachers in the video started improvising when they forgot the lines, and this made it funny to watch for the audience in Liverpool because it became a kind of clowning. In my opinion it is beautiful to see someone failing gracefully on stage, but I don’t know if everyone feels like that.


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