Katedra výchovné dramatiky
CREATIVE DRAMA - Journal on Drama Education, Literature and Theatre for Children and Youth
Jaroslav Provazník: School and Performing Arts: Mimetic Roleplay as the Most Natural Way of Teaching about Theatre – What chance do children in Czech schools have of becoming acquainted with theatre? The author of the article points out that the compulsory part of the curriculum provides students and pupils with minimum opportunities to learn about theatre and drama. If some do arise, the learning usually happens by absorbing facts. However, performing arts can hardly be understood through verbally transmitted information only (the typical way being “Shakespeare was born in... he wrote.... he died in...”). It is equally important to learn about the essence of theatre and the principles on which this form of art works. This is best done through hands-on activities and techniques used in drama education, which is, unfortunately, still just an optional subject in Czech schools. These are based on play that Roger Caillois calls “mimicry”, i.e. mimetic roleplay that enables both the player/actor and the audience to move around in two worlds at once: the real as well as the fictional one that is created by the action of the players. This double nature, so characteristic of mimetic roleplay, is crucial for the understanding of theatre. The present article explains in what ways mimetic play can be used to introduce children to performing arts. Of course it is theatre with children that occupies the foremost position. Other ways include educational programmes and workshops accompanying a specific performance, or special programmes focusing on various aspects of theatrical arts; these events are most often organised at theatres. Theatre in education in its manifold forms represents another possibility. However, mimetic play can also serve as an effective tool for getting to know plays, inspiring personalities of theatre (playwrights, directors, actors...) as well as selected chapters from the history of theatre. The author concludes by claiming that “mimetic play develops children’s capacity of perceiving fiction and reality as two separate worlds, teaching them to identify and distinguish the two and navigate them skilfully. Sadly, schools offer almost no opportunity for such development so it is no wonder children learn neither to identify lack of taste nor uncover open or hidden manipulation that – be it in advertisement or computer games – intentionally blurs the dividing line between reality and fiction.”
Anna Hrnečková: Children’s Stage 2017 – The reporter considers the 2017 Children’s Stage festival and workshop of drama (representing the 46th year of the event) to have been successful. The main programme consisted of 16 performances by children’s groups. The festival was very diverse as far as performance types and genres were concerned and included beginning as well as very experienced theatre groups introducing drama, puppetry and movement theatre. A broad offer of seminars and discussions reflected the ongoing effort of the festival organisers to cultivate the field of theatre played by children. This year there were six seminars led by Irena Konývková (From Theme to Interpretation), Howard Lotker (Viewpoints and Theatre with Children), Hana Cisovská (From Movement to Theatrical Shape), Tomáš Žižka (The Speech of Space), Lucie Veličková (From Play to Theatre) and Ladislav Karda (Improvisation).
Mariana Čížková: What Was the 2017 Gold Spinning (Zlatá priadka) Like? - A few impressions from the national festival of Slovak children’s theatre groups held in the town of Šaľa.
Luděk Richter: Winding the Webs (Soukání) 2017 – A report on the international festival of children’s and youth theatre held in May in the West-Bohemian town of Ostrov, this year for the eleventh time. The programme included thirteen performances from nine countries: Czech Republic, Italy, Israel, Canada, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The author of the report acknowledges that during the twenty years of its existence (as it takes places every other year), the Winding the Webs festival has become a representative meeting of modern theatre played by children and youth
Anna Hrnečková: IDEA Europe in Prague – From 13 to 16 October 2016, the city of Prague hosted a meeting of the European section of IDEA. The editor of Tvořivá dramatika briefly reports on its programme, but also characterises the organisation itself. The International Drama/Theatre and Education Association brings together drama education teachers, leaders of children and youth theatre groups and other professionals dealing with drama and theatre from more than fifty countries all over the world. The Prague meeting of IDEA Europe was organised by the Creative Dramatics Association (CZ) together with the Department of Drama in Education of DAMU (Faculty of Theatre), Prague, and there were 34 participants from 19 countries. These included a special guest, Robin Pascoe from Australia, the President of the IDEA International. Besides their discussion programme, the participants had an opportunity to see several performances of children and youth theatre groups at the DVD (CET/Children-Education-Theatre) festival organised every autumn by students of the Department of Drama in Education, DAMU.
Alena Skálová: Space for Drama Education in the School Curriculum: Inspiration Brought from London – An article summarizing the experience that a graduate of the Dept of Drama in Education, DAMU, Prague, gathered at an elementary school in London where she participated in leading drama lessons with children from weak social and economical backgrounds, children with post-traumatic stress disorder and those living in foster families. She illustrates her article by describing a programme based on a Japanese story found in a book by Becca Heddle Yoshi the Stonecutter.
Jaroslav Provazník: Twice from Creative Drama: A Belated Review in Contribution to the Revival on the Slovak Drama-in-Education Scene – A review of two anthologies on drama education and theatre with children Tvorivá dramatika (Creative Drama) and Tvorivá dramatika II published in Slovakia.
Kateřina Řezníčková: The Theatrical Worlds of Comenius – Last year, a very thorough work on the drama works by Comenius – Jan Amos Komenský (1592–1670) was published in Prague. The review praises the book’s innovative approach and recommends it to anyone interested in Comenius as a playwright, especially because it looks at his work from many angles and sets it in historical perspective. A researcher at the Comenius studies department of the Philosophical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the book’s author Markéta Klosová is highly qualified to elaborate this topic, as she has been dealing with Comenius’ oeuvre for more than thirty years.
ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Gabriela Zelená Sittová: Marka Míková – Merging of Worlds – An interview with one of the most original contemporary Czech authors of children’s books who is also a singer, actress, director, musician and co-founder of the Puppets in Hospitals association.
Eva Machková: Foreign Legends Part 2: West of Aš. West and Northwest Europe – The author of this overview points out books of legends in which drama teachers can find material for their work. The second part published in this issue deals with legends from German speaking countries, Brittany, Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia.
Kristina Procházková: Learning to Understand Visual Arts – Four reviews of books on visual arts aimed at children.
Josef Pekárek: Which magazines do children really read? – In its past few issues, Tvořivá dramatika has been paying attention to Czech magazines for children whose quality, unlike children’s books, is currently very low. In this article, a survey is presented that the author conducted at a village elementary school in Central Bohemia. He addressed a total of 184 pupils, asking them which magazines they read.
Luděk Korbel-Gabriela Zelená Sittová-Marta Žilková-Lucie Šmejkalová-Kristina Procházková-Matěj Hádek: Reviews of new books for children and youth – Reviews of new books for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.
CHILDREN’S STAGE 53
The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika brings a script to a dramatisation made by Marica Šišková, teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Nitra (Slovakia), to the motives of a remarkable novelette of the contemporary Russian author Pavel Sanayev Bury Me Behind the Slat. The sad story of a seven-year-old boy who lives only with his grandparents in a world of constant coarseness, verbal abuse and bans takes place in Moscow of the 1980s and is an impressive portrayal of the final stage of the Soviet regime. The group leader Marica Šišková has accompanied the script to the performance, which ranked among the most inspiring at last Year’s Gold Spinning Festival (Zlatá priadka), by methodological notes and a detailed description of the process which the group underwent from the initial brainstorming to searching for the topic and suitable theatrical means all the way to the final shape of the performance.
The contents of all published issues of Tvořivá dramatika, the archive of earlier issues and all important information on drama education can be found on the website www.drama.cz.