A Guest in Your Classroom
This is an exciting new activity for the theatre. You can now invite a guest from the theatre to join your class online through zoom. It is a simple format, but it has the potential to be an extremely powerful and flexible teaching tool.
So far we have worked with a format where the guest will present themselves for a short time and then take a break to let students react and ask their own questions. However, and there there are many different ways of working with a guest in your classroom.
Meet a real person - You could simply invite one of our actors to talk about themselves. One very interesting option is Gregory Gudgeon who is working with the theatre now after a long career as a professional actor. Gregory has worked in The Globe Theatre in London as well as the West End. Other actors though may be more attractive to your students (nothing against Gregory of course) and all have interesting backgrounds and stories to tell.
Meet a literary personality - At the end of the last school year we did actor-in-role interviews with William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, and Carl Jung. Others could be arranged. These meetings are not only a lot of fun, they are a truly great way for students to learn about literarature and history. They also have the effect of humanising the personalities and helping students to relate to them as people.
Engage with the social issues of homelessness or mental health - We have two actors in the theatre who are qualified to deal with these social topics in a meaningful way. Patrick Bently worked with homeless people in Amercica for many years and he does a great session where he plays a homeless character talking about the realities of his day to day life. Lenka Fisherova is a qualified dramatherapist with an MA in Education and Special Needs. She also has experience running a program at a mental health institution. She plays a character with specific functional mental health issues.
This is a case where having an actor-in-role is actually an advantage as students are free to ask questions that would be to difficult or embarrassing to ask somebody who was really livinng through those situations.
Discuss controversial (or frivolous) topics - Having an outsider coming in can make it easier for teachers to debate hot topics like climate change, racism, or the effects of social media. In these cases the guest will be a facilitator setting up both sides of an arguement and creating a framework for a two-sided and respectful debate. The emphasis in these cases is on encouraging thoughtful rather than emotional discussion of issues. The thetare will do as much as possible to avoid bringing bias or politicisation into the discussion of topics.
Alternatively you could set up a discussion of a lighter topic like e.g. superheroes or different types of music.
Teachers can affect the content of the session. Our guests will always have a prepaed program to ensure that the lesson can be filled with interesting ides and activities. However, you also have a chance to agree with us ahead and influence what the guest talks about. For example, if you invite an actor-in-role to play Jane Austin, you may want her to focus more on a novel that you are working with. If you want the guest to join a lesson in a way that you have prepared, then that is also possible.
So there is no need for teachers to prepare anything for one of our 'Guest in the Classroom' sessions, but if you would like to use the guest in a specific way, it is also possible.
A simplified offer for 'Guest in the Classroom' sessions - There are many options, but here is an overview of sessions that we have tried and are especially confident about as we start working with this new format.
Real person meetings - Gregory Gudgeon (actor, Globe Theatre), Max Brave (charismatic young man from Turkmenistan)
Literary figures - William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Jane Austin, George Orwell,
Social topics - Homelessness, Mental Health
Debates - Climate Change, Racism.
A 'Guest in the Classroom' session costs 1500 Kc (60 EUR). More groups may attend a single session.