So, as promised last week, here’s a post talking about how we organised the teacher development courses in Gaza on remote theatre, and how we incorporated learners of English into the workshops.
The two day course was delivered twice – once in Gaza city for teachers from the Northern areas, and once in Khan Younis for teachers form the Southern areas. There were 10 teachers and 15 students on each course. The teachers have been appointed as remote theatre specialists for their areas, and this workshop framework may serve a model for them to conduct their own workshops for teachers and students themselves.
Here are the basic stages that we used in conducting the workshop..
- Remote theatre warm up. The teachers and the students worked in separate groups with five people in each. I gave each group a single word (time, freedom, the future, family or hope) and asked them to prepare a very short remote theatre performance where the only thing they could say was this word. I asked each group to use their voices and their bodies in interesting ways to make the performance as creative as possible. Everyone gave feedback to each other after each performance, and in the end we voted on which performance was the most creative.
2) Scriptwriting/Script reformulating. Then I gave the three students’ groups a short, simple summary of a story. I asked them to start working on turning this summary into a script. They worked together to do this. Meanwhile I put all the teachers together in one group of 10 and gave them a script created by students in Gaza in a previous session. I asked them to discuss how they would upgrade and reformulate the language. We did some feedback on this, and once we’d agreed on a definitive version we worked on pronunciation – particularly on sentence stress, pausing and intonation. While this was all going on, I was hovering between the students’ groups and the teachers’ groups, trying to help out where it was needed but not get in the way too much as well.
3) Upgrading the students’ work. The students were asked to finish their scripts as homework, so on the next day I assigned 3 or 4 teachers to each group and asked them to apply what we’d focussed on the day before to the student’s scripts. Once they were all agreed on the final version of the script and the lines had been assigned, each teacher worked with one or two students to help them with the pronunciation of their own lines.
4) Rehearsing. Working in three larger groups again with 5 students and 3 or 4 teachers in each, they worked on learning the lines and rehearsing their plays to make the best possible remote theatre performance that they could. I moved between the groups, making occasional suggestions but most things came out of the discussions between the students and the teachers.
- Performances and feedback. The plays were performed remotely via zoom to two hands up project volunteers based in the UK. These volunteers then provided feedback, initially to the actors in each play but eventually to the whole group.
So this was a framework for conducting a teacher development session on remote theatre. I think that remote theatre has lots of potential as a meaningful way for young people in Palestine and around the world to find international audiences for their creative work. Please let me know if you would like me to run a training course on remote theatre in your school.