A General Introduction to the Theatre
What does the theatre do exactly? The theatre plays live educational shows for students of English. The shows are played in theatre spaces, or, more typically, in a school. This year there is also a new online program, which means that students can have shows and workshops streamed live into the classroom from our home venue in Prague.
The theatre also has a workshop program and an evening program that is streamed live. Theatre director David Fisher is an active teacher-trainer who runs workshops at conferences and other events in the region. His tips for teachers are available on these pages.
In what way is the theatre 'educational'? The Bear Educational Theatre is truly educational because the whole program is designed to support the work of English teachers in schools. Other theatre companies that offer programs to schools tend to be more theatre than educational as the director and the actors have little experience of real-life classroom teaching.. The work of The Bear Educational Theatre combines good theatre practice with good teaching methodology.
What do the shows look like? The shows are technically very simple. The scene is just a decorated curtain stretched across the playing space. The actors generally play in front of this curtain and go behind to change costumes, to take new props, to play sound effects, etc. There is almost nothing that the school needs to provide or to prepare (see the section Practical Info/FAQ for more details on the technical requirements.).
The emphasis of the shows is always on the spoken word. The teacher/actors face out and speak clearly in a way that is appropriate to the age and level of the audience. The shows are all interactive and involve games, votes, debates, and sometimes even more direct forms of audience participation.
Are your actors native speakers? Many of them are, but we do not have a policy of hiring just native speakers. We rather prioritise people who can manage the demands of the work and who can make good contact with the students in our audiences.. We think that it is inspiring for students to meet people of different nationalities and not set an example that only native speakers can speak English well. All of our teacher/ actors can deliver the English text of the shows clearly and at a level that is suitable for the audience..
What is the philosophy of the theatre? The theatre exists to support English teachers and to help them to teach English in a way that is fun, but also effective. Being at school can involve a lot of pressure and negativity. The Bear Educational Theatre aims to offset that by giving students positive and enjoyable learning experiences that can help them feel positively about language learning. Having fun is not just a way of relaxing, it is also a part of teaching well.