Tuesday, 3 November 2009

St. Mary’s University Students to work with Theatre for a Change in Lilongwe, Malawi in May 2011.

From 1st May 2011 to 15th May 2011, Applied Theatre students from St. Mary’s University College will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi as a part of their final year Theatre for Development Module. This trip will be the culmination of their training in the Applied Theatre course at St. Mary’s University College. They will have the opportunity to work with the teacher training communities as well as bring a performance to members of Theatre for a Change (TfaC) as part of the first annual performance exchange programme between the two organisations. These shared performances would provide a stimulus for further explorations and workshops shared by St Mary’s students and participants in TfaC’s programmes.
The trip will introduce the students to the key challenges in using drama to support international development programmes. They will travel to Africa and work with trained teachers from Theatre for a Change’s centre in Lilongwe, Malawi to understand ways in which drama techniques can raise awareness about HIV / Aids prevention in schools and other learning communities in Africa. As well as exposing the students to a specific cultural context, they will have the chance to reflect on how learning within a British University can be further influenced and, if necessary, challenged, by the active practice of teachers working in Africa.
By the end of this exchange, each of the students will be able to understand the potential use of interactive drama skills as a tool for HIV / Aids prevention, participate in health education and advocacy, be able to workshop openly issues about gender equality, relationships, behaviour change and sexuality, have the confidence to practice these skills in the context of an African placement, discuss the effectiveness of specific development programmes, discuss the important political and sociological issues arising from working in this manner and, without prejudice, listen to and learn from drama teachers working in a significantly different context from their own.
As component parts of The Theatre for Development module students would become familiar with the structure and methodology of Theatre for a Change, gain a basic understanding of the socio-political situation in Malawi and by extension Southern Africa, research and pursue funding opportunities, administrate fundraising events, galvanise support and create a range of performance pieces.
Editors:
St. Mary’s students are available for profile stories in the run-up to their trip.

For more information about the project, please contact Matthew Hahn, the Theatre for Development Lecturer at St. Mary’s University College at HAHNM@SMUC.AC.UK or on 0208 240 4059.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Theatre for Development Module at Drama St. Mary's.

The Applied Theatre course at St. Mary’s University College is a new programme set up to explore ways in which theatre based research and practice might actively contribute to social & political change. Currently, we work in partnership with Theatre for a Change (TfaC) in Malawi. TfaC uses innovative strategies to stimulate dialogue, interaction and behaviour change. TfaC aims to change attitudes towards gender equality and HIV/Aids in the teaching communities of these countries. TfaC’s long-term goal is to reduce the risk of HIV infection amongst vulnerable groups. This is done through the short term goals of behavioural change & advocacy. St Mary's staff has played an active part in developing and delivering this curriculum. Students from St. Mary's will visit Lilongwe and work alongside TfaC facilitators employing this curriculum from May 2011.


We are currently looking for new partners to expand our work throughout southern Africa to offer a variety of experiences to the St. Mary's students as well as to provide a sustainable basis for knowledge transfer amongst the various participants.

The trip to Africa is the culmination of the students' training in the Applied Theatre course at St. Mary’s University College. The trip will introduce the students to the key challenges in using drama to support national and international development programmes:



As part of their course, students will travel to Africa and work in local communities to understand ways in which Drama techniques can be used for social & political change through working with other in schools and other communities. As well as exposing them to a specific cultural context in their course, they will have the chance to reflect on how their learning within a British University can be further influenced and, if necessary, challenged, by the active practice of teachers working in Africa.



By the end of this exchange, the students will be able to:

- Understand the potential use of interactive drama skills as a tool for social & political change,

- Participate in health education and advocacy,

- Be able to workshop openly issues about gender equality, relationships, behaviour change and sexuality,

- Have the confidence to practice these skills in the context of an African placement,

- Discuss the effectiveness of specific development programmes,

- Discuss the important political and sociological issues arising from working in this manner,

&

- Without prejudice, listen to and learn from drama teachers working in a significantly different context from your own.



Within their exchange, the following topics will be discussed:

- Effective interactive teaching,

- Working in Africa,

- Using drama in health education,

- Creating a safe space in a workshop,

- Developing forum / interactive theatre techniques,

- Challenging behaviour patterns,

- Human rights, particularly gender & children’s rights

- Bottom-up policy making



Students will also have the opportunity to bring performance work from the UK to their placement as part of the exchange. The shared performance would provide a stimulus for further explorations and workshops shared by St Mary’s students and others in the community. Currently, we are creating a verbatim piece of theatre entitled 'Gender Balance & Safer Sex' to be researched in London and performed in Malawi. As component parts of The Theatre for Development module students would also research the socio-political situation in the particular country, research and pursue funding opportunities, administrate fundraising events, galvanise support and create a range of performance pieces.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Drama and Applied Theatre Programme description

Drama and Applied Theatre is a course for those who have a passion for changing society for the better and are prepared to take action. This practice based course will challenge you physically, emotionally and intellectually. We welcome students who have imagination, enthusiasm and commitment.

Through a series of community based projects, you will learn, as a performer, how to use theatrical solutions to address social need.In developing your practice you will be expected to reflect critically on your work, asking yourself two key questions: ‘why are we doing this?’ and ‘who will benefit?’

Drawing on the most innovative current practice the course will equip you with the necessary creative skills to become a cultural leader and make a significant difference to the society of the future.

Structure and content - Level 1

Practical courses in Acting, Voice and Movement and Writing for Performance will provide you with the key skills you need to begin working imaginatively and professionally with a range of community groups. We also consider some of the ethical and political issues that arise from your practical work, and critique different approaches to Applied theatre. London Theatre Now introduces you to the Capital’s dynamic theatre scene, and an in-depth study of Shakespeare in performance will develop your knowledge of different theatrical traditions. The year culminates with an extended performance project in a local school in partnership with professional theatre in education practitioners.


Level 1 Modules are:-

London Theatre Now.
Acting for Applied Theatre.
Movement and Voice.
Writing for Performance.
Theatre in Education
Shakespeare.

Structure and content - Level 2

Level 2 sees you move increasingly towards positions of leadership and responsibility. Drama modules will offer you an international context for Applied Theatre practice whilst Creative Thinking will develop your critical and problem solving skills. In the first semester you’ll build on the foundation skills acquired at Level 1 whilst being introduced to ways in which storytelling and design can be incorporated in the creation of a large scale community project. In the second semester the course develops interview, research and interpretation skills, as you explore the techniques and methodologies needed to facilitate reminiscence, verbatim and forum work with a range of community groups. The year ends with a two week placement with our sister company Theatre for a Change, who operate in sub-Saharan Africa, exploring how participatory theatre projects can give voice to communities living in poverty.

Level 2 Modules are :-

International Practice and Practitioners.
Applied Theatre Production.
Theatre for Change.
Voicing Stories.
Creative Thinking.

Assessment methods

Methods of assessment vary between modules and include production work, seminar presentation, essays, portfolios and practical exercises. All of the Applied Theatre modules are examined through practice. Although students have to pass the first year to progress to Levels 2 and 3, the first year marks do not count towards the final degree classification.

Teaching methods

There are a variety of teaching methods. The Applied Theatre half of the degree is entirely practical and is taught through workshops, work based placements and productions. Drama is taught through lectures, seminars and practical workshops. Visiting practitioners from, amongst others, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Cardboard Citizens, Clean Break, Complicite and the Royal Court will input specialist knowledge and suggest models of good practice enabling you to expand your understanding of the field.

Structure and content - Level 3

Level 3
Level 3 focuses on preparing you for future employment within the creative industries. You are provided with an office, rehearsal space and small seeding budget to set about creating your own projects. This is a chance to pursue ideas that really inspire you. Drama modules provide you with further context for Applied Theatre work with in-depth examinations of Theatre and Society and Contemporary Playwrights. Your final semester at St Mary’s sees you respond theatrically to topical material in preparation for Political Cabaret; whilst the Stand Up Comedy module explores notions of catharsis, rehabilitation and taboo, through a practical exploration of this form. The year ends with a comedy showcase in a local pub.

Level 3 Modules are :-

Theatre and Society.
Independent Company.
Stand Up Comedy .
Political Cabaret.
Contemporary Plays and Playwrights.

Entry requirements

A Blue level programme


Whichever pathway you choose, Drama at St Mary’s gives you a unique opportunity to develop your practical skills and your academic potential. The resources on offer are not just the expertise of the staff, the theatre, studios and technical equipment, but a supportive environment which encourages and fosters the creative mind.

Drama and Applied Theatre Key facts

– New type of degree which brings together university education and drama school training
– Unique third year production company
– Offers the possibility to tour work locally, nationally and internationally
– Practice underpinned by lively debate about value of theatre in our society
– Total theatre experience including performance, design, writing and cabaret.
– Available as a Single Honours Programme

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Find out more about the Degree.....

Contact Mark Griffin on +44 (0) 20 8240 4063
or email griffinm@smuc.ac.uk

Read more about our activities at
www.dramastmarys.blogspot.com

www.smuc.ac.uk/undergraduate/drama-and-applied-theatre