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How can Forum Theatre be used in Schools?

Posted on October 16, 2015

How can Forum Theatre be used in Schools?

The techniques involved in forum theatre encourage spectators to become spect-actors: active participants exploring strategies for change. In forum theatre, an issue is shown to an audience in an unsolved form and the audience or spect-actors are invited to suggest and enact solutions. After the actors show the initial scene or scenes, the initial scene (‘the model’) is replayed and follows exactly the same course until an audience member says ‘Stop’, takes the role of one of the players and tries to alter the course of events. This type of drama provides opportunities for participants to more deeply examine issues of conflict and harassment.

 

Using Forum theatre as a tool for learning has many benefits:

  • Turns a problem into a solution
  • Provides a means to test tools and techniques in a safe environment
  • Gives an opportunity to try out various approaches to a single issue
  • Interact at a level that suits you
  • Allows for group consensus to determine what works for them
  • Empowers individual creative thinking
  • Facilitates behavioural change

A situation or improvised piece is enacted by a small group whilst the rest of the class (including the teacher) observe. Action may be frozen at any time by both the actors and the observers, but particularly when it is felt that direction is lost, that help is needed, or that the drama is losing authenticity. Observers may step in and take over roles or add to them. Proceedings may be controlled by the teacher if necessary. The children can use this to examine and analyse actions and roles in the drama. Excellent for assessment and appreciation of work and processes.

HOW (1)
Two children suddenly realise that they are lost in a large market. The rest of the class watch a short scene and then advise them on what to do next.

HOW (2)
In a drama about evacuation, the class observe the scene at home when two children are about to leave their parents. They analyse the scene, mood, and responses of the parents and children.

HOW (3)
In a drama about bullying the action is stopped and the various characters questioned on their motives, actions or reactions. Alternative responses can be suggested before the action continues.

If you would like to attend our next Drama in Education network meeting to discuss drama techniques including Teacher-in-role then please emailsimon@omtc.org.uk

(The next meeting is in the ROAR project studio, 4.30-6pm Thursday 19th November, Westgate Chambers, Westgate, S60 1AN)

To find out more about the work we do with teachers in schools please download our training packages flyer (http://omtc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/professional_development.doc ) or contact simon@omtc.org.uk

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