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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Theatre In Education: Definition

When schools take students to the theatre it is usually to see a particular production. TiE, on the other hand, starts with an educational topic or debate and develops a show around it. There are a number of companies in the UK that specialise in producing theatre to be performed in schools. Such productions often have drama workshops attached and may involve the pupils in the performance itself.
Because these groups specialise in educational work, the performances have been designed with particular aspects of the curriculum in mind. Some will always link their work to a particular Key Stage, whilst others will design various projects for different ages. In addition, a number of companies aim their performances at specialised groups, for example, Oily Cart Children's Theatre works with students with multiple learning disabilities. TiE productions are also especially adapted for touring, making them flexible enough to perform well in school settings.
How does TiE compare with other theatre forms?
Children's theatre
Children's theatre is not always based on a specific curriculum area and may be part of the work of a non-specialised company. It could bring a children's story to life rather than having an educational focus on a particular topic, and is often aimed at the under-12 age group. In contrast, TiE companies usually travel to meet their audiences and address a specific topic of interest. They can cater for age groups up to 25-year-olds.
Community theatre
Community theatre companies and TiE share some of the same common ground, since both target their work at a particular social group and offer workshops in a socially motivated theatrical form. Cardboard Citizens works with homeless and ex-homeless people, while Clean Break works with female ex-prisoners.  However, such companies go further than TiE companies, in that they usually carry out training projects for adults in the particular area they are interested in, e.g. helping women get back to work. Further details on community theatre companies can be found at the British Council website.

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