Young Court Teachers ForumPublished on Fri 26 May 2017
Young Court has a commitment to changing the face of theatre; allowing access to new audiences and future employees to the industry without prejudice.
Achieving this stems back to education. If the Arts aren’t valued in schools, if they’re not on the curriculum, if teachers aren’t supported with the resources and time they need to choose new texts that are representative of the students in their classrooms, if students see mostly white, male playwrights and practitioners on their set text and practitioner lists, if drama departments’ slashed budgets can only go towards seeing one show a year and therefore is put towards a safe play that they know will pass an exam, then how can we possibly see theatre change?
And so, we have started working closely with teachers. We feel that if we can support teachers as much as we can support students then we can see the change. We are supporting teachers through forums, our Teachers Consultation Panel, CPD workshops and resource packs.
So far we have held forums on the lack of female playwrights in the curriculum, what new writing’s place is in the curriculum and our most recent forum yesterday evening brought our teachers panel, theatres and exam board representatives together.
Through these forums and the inception of our teachers panel we have already changed our thinking. We have set up projects which encourage young women to write and in which the only plays they read and playwrights they work with are women. We have been encouraged by teachers to revamp our resources to be more useful to schools and we have produced workshops which practically explore the written exam.
We are committed to working with teachers in training to diversify teaching from the grass roots. We have worked with Teach First primary teachers to explore different areas of the curriculum through drama and have led masterclasses on directing for Goldsmiths PGCE students.
However, there is only so much teachers can do, they are limited by time, budget and resource. There are also thousands of other teachers we can’t reach, particularly those outside of London who don’t have access to large organisations.
With this in mind, we invited exam boards to meet with our teachers in order to have a wider reach.
This forum was also opened up to representatives from other organisations, in attendance were Punchdrunk, Complicite, the V&A, The Tricycle, The Unicorn and Rose Bruford. It is essential that as our ultimate goal is to support young people that we aren’t territorial and work as a sector to make change.
Through this meeting we explored how we as organisations can support exam boards and teachers, what teachers top concerns were with the exam specifications, what negotiations there are within the curriculum and how best to introduce new work that is current and representative.
The essential learning from this meeting was that there is not enough communication between the three sectors in attendance and not enough resources for the teachers.
We have produced action points including:
A national database of new plays, resources from organisations and exam boards that are useful, exam boards consulting industry professionals when offering teachers advice and fostered relationships that will hopefully change the separation that currently exists.
Through these steps we can start to pave the way for theatre to support teachers and students across the country in order to encourage the theatre makers of the future to see it as an industry for them.
Romana Flello – Young Court Manager
Young Court offers its workshops free of charge.