Remote Theatre is a brand-new art form, a powerful way to facilitate intercultural communication and performance, and a highly engaging approach to learning, and to using, a second language.
The pandemic, and the subsequent widespread lockdowns, have forced schools and theatres all over the world to explore how the internet can enable them to continue their important work.
But the young people of Gaza are several steps ahead on this and have been developing their ideas in the emerging field of remote theatre for several years already. Through the award-winning annual Remote Theatre Competition of the educational charity, the Hands Up Project, hundreds of inspiring remote plays have already been created by young people in Palestine, and many of these have been performed remotely in schools, at conferences and at literature festivals around the world.
On top of this, there is a growing body of knowledge and skills within the Hands up Project about how to do drama activities online and how this can facilitate the learning of a second language.
Now these ideas are going to be made much more widely available through an exciting new European Union funded initiative – the Erasmus plus KA2 Remote Theatre project. In collaboration between language schools in five different countries (International House Bucharest, International House Split, The British School Pisa, Molehill Barcelona, and the Hands Up Project) we will be developing and sharing lots of materials related to Remote Theatre over the next two years.
The project consists of three intellectual outputs all of which will be freely available to teachers and learners of English anywhere in the world.
1) The Remote Theatre Handbook. This will become the definitive guide to Remote Theatre for language teachers and schools who want to incorporate this exciting new methodology into their work. It will focus on tips for creating and performing remote plays as well as providing a bank of online remote theatre activities for language learning.
2) The Play’s the Thing. A collection of 30 remote theatre scripts on different themes, written by learners and teachers of English in our partner organisations as material for practising and developing English language skills.
3) The Remote Theatre Database. A hub where videos and scripts of remote plays can be stored. It will be searchable by language area and by theme and designed to be user friendly so that time pressed teachers everywhere can easily incorporate its material into their language classes.
As well as all this we’d like your involvement every step of the way. We’ll be regularly sharing ideas and activities related to remote theatre and if you’d like to try them out with your students we’d really welcome your feedback.
“Remote theatre is an exciting new genre of theatre which was developed in Gaza and is being used to help Palestinian learners of English to rehearse and eventually perform plays that they have created themselves to audiences around the world. It provides an opportunity for children who have probably never even met anyone from another country to be heard and understood outside their immediate environment. It enables kids to find a space where they can practice English, interact spontaneously, and share something of who they are and what they want to say in an interesting and very motivating context.”
From “A Framework for Remote Theatre” by Haneen Jadalla (IATEFL Voices November 2020)