Creative Drama is the only reviewed professional journal in the Czech Republic covering all areas of drama in education:

  • drama education as a primary/high school subject and drama as a method in other school subjects (Czech language and literature, history, science, civic education, languages…),
  • drama education in preschool,
  • children’s theatre and recitation,
  • drama education in university courses focused on arts or education,
  • drama as a method in working with disabled persons,
  • theory, history, and methods of drama in education,
  • literature, theatre, and arts for children and adolescents.
General Information
Summary
Past Summaries

General Information

Creative Drama was founded in 1990. It is published by NIPOS-ARTAMA in cooperation with the Association for Creative Drama and DAMU’s Department of Drama in Education.

CD is published three times a year.

CD is comprised of two main sections focused on the two directions in drama education: Drama-Art-Theatre and Drama-Education. In the section Reflection-Review-Information CD reviews new publications in the field and provides extensive up-to-date information about the field of art targeted for children and adolescents, with an emphasis on drama and literature. In the section Reflections-Concepts-Context CD publishes critical studies in the general field of theory, history and methods of drama education.

CD also publishes articles on various directions in drama in education in other countries. CD has published articles about the following persons of drama education in the world: Geraldine Brain Siks, Ruth Beall Heinig, Brianu Way, Judith Kase-Polisini, Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone, Gavin Bolton, Dorothy Heathcote, Cecily O’Neill, Jonothan Neelands, Tony Goode, Warwick Dobson, Juliana Saxton, Judith Ackroyd, Francis Prendivill, Barbara Salisbury, Nellie McCaslin, John O’Tool, John Somers, Augusto Boal, Helmut Köpping, Erich Hofbauer, David Davis, Allan Owens, Christiane Page, Janinka Greenwood, David Novak, Rives Collins, David Booth, Andy Kempe and others.

CD is currently the only platform for publishing new plays intended for children and youth theatre groups as well as scripts that can be directly used in teaching.

CD includes an appendix “Children’s Stage”, a platform for publishing plays and other dramatic texts for children and youth groups.

After the cancellation of “Zlatý máj” and the PdF MU bulletin “Ladění”, CD remains the only journal dedicated to literature and theatre for children and youth.

Detailed contents and index of CD is published every two years.

CURRENT ISSUE OF CREATIVE DRAMA

Creative Drama 2019/2

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXTS

Vojtěch Lőffelmann: The Present Forms of Drama Education in the Czech Republic – Although drama education has established itself as a field within the Czech educational system, it is scattered into a number of institutions that pursue different goals. This broad span has both advantages and drawbacks. The article based on a master’s thesis written by a graduate of the Department of Drama in Education at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts strives to make readers acquainted with the most important venues of the field in the Czech Republic as well as the points of view taken by professionals towards its present state and the directions in which it is heading. The first part observes the ways in which drama education is anchored within school curricula all the way from kindergartens to primary and secondary schools to university study programmes training drama teachers (at two theatre faculties in Prague and Brno respectively as well as several faculties of education). Yet the author also pays attention to other institutions where drama education is taught or otherwise used, most of all the basic schools of art. At these unique afternoon schools, drama and literature is taught alongside with music, visual arts and dance. Other places include leisure time centres, theatres and galleries offering drama projects and last but not least, specialized drama centres. The second part of the article looks at research carried out among drama teachers in selected Czech institutions. Analysis of curricular and other documents shows, in the author’s opinion, that drama – same as most other artistic subjects – is perceived as marginal within the educational system (music and visuals arts being relatively well-established). The same conclusion was drawn from questioning drama teachers active in various institutions – most of them also believe that main obstacle lies in a weak position of drama within primary and secondary school curricula together with poor understanding of the field on side of the public. Although the notion that the aim of drama education is raising future actors is (fortunately) receding, it remains very widespread. Practical instruction without which drama in education is hardly possible is made difficult by low number of lessons assigned, the absence of suitable spaces as well as a lack of willingness on part of some school directors. Many respondents believe that the personality of the teacher is the key to success in drama education. The author of the article concludes by stating that the generous space that seemed to be opening for drama in education and the great expectations held by the professionals after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 are a thing of the past now. The present era sees a fragmentation of the field and seems to lack clear vision and goals, which is reflected in a lack of common effort. „No wonder so many people call for the organisation of conferences and other events that would enable people to meet and exchange their expertise and ideas,“ he concludes.


DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Anna Hrnečková: The 2019 Children’s Stage – A report from the 48th Children’s Stage national festival held from 7 to 13 June in Svitavy. It brings short characteristics of all 19 performances chosen at regional festivals held this spring to be shown at the all-national event. The reporter notices that many of the children groups deal with serious issues such as bullying or manipulation. Among the most inspiring she mentions a devised piece of theatre called A Friend created by the MAŠ MYŠ group from Prague. She also appreciates several interesting dramaturgical experiments and discoveries such as dramatizations of short stories by Shaun Tan or Michelle Paver as well as the montage Journeys by Story Theatre, Class Acts, Prague. Every year, workshops constitute an integral part of the festival. This year, their focus was on site specific projects and theatre as a ritual touching on social issues (Tomáš Žižka), fundamental principles of creative work with children and youth (Nina Martínková), the journey from literature to theatrical performance (Hana Nemravová) and issues in reciting both poetry and prose (Jana Franková). Keith Homer from the United Kingdom was this year’s foreign guest; he led a workshop called From the studio to the stage.
Kateřina Žarnikov: Diverse Ways to a Precise Theatrical Shape: Keith Homer’s Workshop at the 2019 Children’s Stage – A detailed report on the workshop led by the British teacher Keith Homer, the director of many years of the Redbridge Drama Centre in London that inspired the establishment of the first drama centre in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s, which was opened in Brno.

 

REFLECTIONS–REVIEWS–INFORMATION

Hana Kasíková: School Through Drama Play – A review of an extensive book School Through Drama: Drama Education in Primary School published by the University of Ostrava. Hana Kasíková from the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University appreciates that the authors of this collective text (with the experienced Eva Machková as the main editor) provide a number of self-contained drama lessons, numerous creative games and exercises as well as a list of inspiring literary texts on which primary school drama lessons can be based. Yet the main benefit of the book seems to be something else: the effort to view drama education in primary schools as one integral whole involving a combination of field theory with specific examples the theoretical principles being applied in the lessons.
Tomáš Doležal: Play and Theatre by Nina Martínková – At the end of 2018, Czech-language field literature on drama was enriched by a publication dealing with the methodology of teaching creative drama. It was written by a pedagogue of many years of the Dpt. of Drama in Education at the Prague Faculty of Theatre, Nina Martínková. The reviewer Tomáš Doležal from the drama centre in Brno summarizes the contents of each chapter and appreciates the inclusion of works produced by participants of drama lessons, as they not only highlight the main goals of these lessons but also make it clear the lessons have been tried out in practice.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Eva Machková: Jan Vladislav and His Fairy-Tales – An article dealing with the work of an outstanding Czech translator and author who collected fairy-tales and adapted them for young readers. Jan Vladislav who died ten years ago (3 March 2009) made Czech readers acquainted with fairy-tales from all kinds of cultural backgrounds. His adaptations possess high language quality and are considered classic. His most famous collection is the two-volume Tree of Fairy-Tales from All Over the World (Strom pohádek z celého světa) comprising 360 fairy-tales, a book put together in collaboration with Vladislav Stanovský.
Helena Zbudilová: Comics and the Contemporary Readers – An essay considering the potential of comics and graphic novels in developing literacy.
Zuzana Jirsová: Mark Twain: Old, Modern and Unexpected – A review of new Czech translations of the two classic books by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but especially of the story The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine that Philip Stead wrote on the basis of notes made by Mark Twain that were, thanks to a series of good luck, recently found in the author’s archives at the University of California in Berkley.
Luděk Korbel-Michaela Lažanová-Gabriela Zelená Sittová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Marta Žilková-JG Růžička: Peeping into Books and Performances for Children and Youth – Reviews of new books and two radio plays for children and youth that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.
Jaroslav Provazník: Looking Back at a Book that Should Not Be Forgotten – In this issue of Tvořivá dramatika, readers’ attention is drawn to the unjustly forgotten book Crazy Stories (Praštěné pohádky) by Ludvík Aškenazy that was published only once, in 1965.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 59

The text supplement brings a script to the performance A Friend (Kamarádka) created by the MAŠ MYŠ group, one of eight children and youth theatre groups gathered under the roof of the “Theatre for Zličín” project of amateur theatre. The performance, which is a nice example of devised theatre with children, received a lot of praise at this year’s Children’s Stage national festival. It deals with the issue of manipulation in girls’ groups, examining its inconspicuous but dangerous strategies and their impact on an individual who becomes its target. The script is accompanied by an article written by the group leaders Dana Svobodová and Karel Tomas, in which they describe the ways in which the children proceeded from the first idea of the theme over improvisation to the final theatrical shape.

The contents of all published issues of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama), the archive of earlier issues and all important information on drama education can be found on the website www.drama.cz.

Previous summaries of Creative Drama:

SUMMARY 2019/1

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXTS

Josef Valenta: On Situations Called Dramatic – An essay on the essence and importance of dramatic situations for theatre and drama in education. Its author bases his text on the traditional classification suggested by Georges Polti, paying special attention to various concepts of a dramatic situation in Czech theoretical writings on theatre (Otakar Zich, Jan Císař, Zdeněk Hořínek and others). The essay also serves as a reminder of the fact that since 2013, the title page of every issue of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) has been dedicated to one of type of dramatic situation as defined by Polti. The second stage of a given situation is always represented visually by the graphic artist Radek Pokorný on the cover of Dětská scéna (Children’s Stage), the text supplement to Tvořivá dramatika.

Eva Machková: Where Is Slovak Drama Education Heading? – In November 2018, the EDUdrama initiative of Slovak drama teachers organised a conference on drama education in Bratislava. It was followed by the publication of proceedings from the conference comprising conference papers that attempt to summarize the situation of this field in Slovakia. Eva Machková briefly introduces each of these contributions, pondering over the challenges that her Slovak colleagues are facing.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Jakub Hulák: 29th Insights Has Brought Generation Shift – The reporter, who is the main organizer of the annual national workshop of student and youth theatre, brings an overview of performances presented in October 2018. He states that the 29th year has brought with it a generation shift, which was indicated by the participation of many new theatre groups. Besides performances, the programme again included workshops in which participants presented their reflexions and impressions from performances through action, thus providing material for subsequent discussions. Two specialists became lecturers at the 2018 Insights: Jiřina Lhotská, who specializes in drama in education and youth theatre, and David Radok, a professional theatre director of note. Both enriched the discussions with their views, opinions and expertise. The reporter points out that a number of performances treated serious themes such as the devastation of the landscape and society during the communist regime or the fate of Czech Jews during WWII. He pays special attention to a devised theatre piece made by the group from the Basic School of Arts in Most and called POEM MACHT FREI, which deals with holocaust. Another performance of quality that he mentions happens to be created by another group from the same school in Most – it was called Puš Ap (Push Up) and dealt with the pressure society puts on the appearance of girls and young women.

Dominika Prokopová: Write. Using Biographic Material in Making Theatre with Adolescents – A student of the Dpt. of Drama in Education at the Faculty of Theatre, Prague summarizes her experience of working with students of the secondary school of pedagogy in Litoměřice. In the course of one year, she was creating with them a piece of documentary theatre intended for seniors and based on authentic biographical material. „Taking advantage of the principles of documentary theatre done with adolescents made it possible to start dialogue between generations, aroused the student’s interest in exploring one’s own roots and helped them become aware of their own identity in a new context.”

Michaela Váňová: Performance Stepping Over Borders – Information on a solo performance that its author created for children abroad. In it, she deals with the real-life story of one of the Czech Jewish children who were saved from the Nazis in 1939 thanks to Sir Nicholas Winton. During last year Michaela Váňová presented this performance to children in the USA as well as several European countries, trying to find out whether her theatrical treatment of the story is able to address even children who do not speak Czech.

Alena Váradyová: Simple Steps Towards Inspiring Results: Tom Willems’s workshop within the 2018 Drama Education in School Event – A report on a workshop led by the Dutch lecturer Tom Willems at the 23th national conference on drama education held in Jičín.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Mária Šmolková: How Calvin Learned to Fly: The Way to a Performance with Pre-school Children – The article summarizes the journey towards a simple theatrical shape with a group of pre-school children. Despite being aware of the limits in theatrical work with children of kindergarten age, Mária Šmolková argues that under certain circumstances it is meaningful to create a performance even with the very young children. She chose a picture book by Jennifer Berne called Calvin can’t fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie about a starling who did not learn to fly, because he skipped flying lessons in order to read books, which were his passion. This story featuring the themes of otherness and the value of friendship yielded several dramatic situations, which enabled the children to play the story convincingly to their parents and friends.

Mária Šmolková-Jennifer Berne: Calvin can’t fly – The script to a performance created with pre-school children to the motives of the picture book by the American author.

 

REFLECTIONS–REVIEWS–INFORMATION

Hana Cisovská: The Past and the Present of Drama Education in the New Book by Eva Machková. Roman Černík: A Handbook of Czech Drama Education: Eva Machková Ever Inspiring – A double review of the new book by the crucial personality of Czech drama education called An Outline of the History and Theory of Drama Education. In her monograph, Eva Machková deals with the theory of the field including all its aspects, setting them into context. She goes on to explain the quintessence of this interdisciplinary field both from the view of pedagogy and theatre studies. She points out the overlaps between drama education and psychology as well as other fields from which drama education draws inspiration. Furthermore, the monograph contains the most systematic treatment of drama education history so far, from medieval and humanistic school theatre, Jesuit plays, Comenius’ schola ludus and children’s theatre in the 19th and the 20th centuries all the way to modern stages of drama in education, mentioning its manifold forms and most important proponents. The outlined history of drama in education includes its development both in Czech lands and abroad, especially in the Anglo-American cultural space. Both reviews agree that the new work by Eva Machková is a seminal publication of Czech drama in education.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Marta Žilková: Christmas Media Fight for Audiences – A few notes on Christmas programmes for children broadcasted on Slovak and Czech radio and TV channels.

Marta Žilková: The Prix Ex Aequo International Festival – Information on the international festival / competition of radio plays for children and youth held in Bratislava, Slovakia in November 2018.

Luděk Korbel-Lucie Šmejkalová-Gabriela Zelená Sittová-Eva Machková-Michaela Lažanová-Jiří G. Růžička: Peeping into Books for Children and Youth – Reviews of new books for children and youth that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

Jaroslav Provazník: Looking Back at a Book that Should Not Be Forgotten – A reminder of a poetry book by the Czech author Věra Dvořáčková Uletělo čapí pero (The Stork Feather Has Flown Away) published in 1969, which has unjustly fallen into oblivion.

DramaDiary – Information on important events for drama teachers, students and lecturers held both in the Czech Republic and abroad in 2019.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 58

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) brings a script to an extraordinary performance created by a youth theatre group from the Basic School of Arts in Most called POEM MACHT FREI. It is dedicated to the life story of Hanuš Hachenburg, a Jewish boy imprisoned in the Theresienstadt ghetto and murdered in Ausschwitz. This piece of devised theatre is an assembly of his verses and authentic materials from his life. The script is accompanied by a detailed description of the development of the performance written by the group leader Pavel Skála.

 

SUMMARY 2018/3

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXTS

Iva Vachková: Role Play in History Classes– The core article of this issue of Tvořivá dramatika discusses the potential of drama methods for the teaching of history. The first part brings an overview of how this issue is perceived by theoreticians in the fields of pedagogy, drama education and personal and social education, and also by history teachers from primary and secondary schools. The author of the article compares various stances held not only by Czech specialists, but also those from other countries. Two books pointed out by her as most inspiring are Robert Stardling’s Teaching 20th Century European History and Multiperspectivity in History Teaching. This author considers the use of role play in history classes to be enriching, as it enables students to put themselves in the shoes of people of the past who witnessed certain historical events or even became their active participants. This makes them realize that the same statement or event may have a different meaning for each participant depending on their position or background. Students get a more vivid picture of what it was like to live in a certain era or experience some event. R. Stardling believes that by this, role play teaches young people to be more tolerant of different opinions and also develops their communication, asking and problem-solving skills. He shows how knowledge and facts learned from textbooks can be used for creative reconstruction of a historical event. Yet R. Stardling does not avoid discussing some risks and drawbacks such as involving inappropriate anachronisms. In the second part of her article, Iva Vachková outlines a number of ways in which role play can be effectively used in history classes. She discusses under what conditions role play works well, how to best use resources, what is the importance of reflection and which roleplaying techniques are suitable for use in history classes (she mentions still images, mimed activities, pantomime, hot seating, alley of conscience, voice collage, dubbing, a page from a diary, etc.). She goes on to discuss the teaching-in-role technique including its possible advantages and limits in the teaching of history. In the final chapter she pays attention to the risk of anachronisms and erroneous interpretations appearing, to which the teacher needs to be ready to respond adequately.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Veronika Rodová: The Life and Work of Božena Němcová – A step-by-step description of a teaching programme that focuses on literary history and women’s history and is dedicated to one of the most significant female writers of the 19th century. It is a good illustration of how role play can be used in history classes.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Kateřina Šteidlová: Lingen Hosting the World Festival of Children’s Theatre Again – At the end of June, children’s theatre groups from all over the world came to the German town of Lingen to perform at the 15th Festival of children’s theatre. The reporter appreciates the good organisation of the event and assesses the performances. The one she considered to be the absolute top was 2 minutes to midnight played by Es Artes Teatro from Salvador. Looking at the broader picture, the reporter writes: „The big shows that comprised the majority of the festival’s performances often turned out to be quite shallow and artificial. The most impressive acts were those based on themes that children are interested in and that correspond with their nature. In most cases, using simple means of expressions and going for shorter length enhanced the communication value of performances, leading the creative teams to a more condense shape.“ The reporter concludes by saying: „In my opinion, the Lingen festival found itself at a kind of crossroads, not sure which way to go. It is not clear who is supposed to be the primary target group – children, theatre group leaders, experts, or the wide public? The original goal of the festival – bringing children groups together and having them perform for one another – has already been met. However, it is time to identify other goals as well. The festival seems to lack more substantial professional feedback of drama experts that would evaluate not only the festival performances, but also the context of children’s theatre in a given county. The first inevitable step is introducing clear criteria for the selection of performances that will reflect what the organisers intended by making the selection: whether to present a broader picture, thus demonstrating the broad scope of what can be done in children’s theatre, enable theatre groups of various levels of experience to draw inspiration from one another, or discover new, unknown drama groups.“

 

REFLECTIONS–REVIEWS–INFORMATION

Kristina Procházková: Lumír Čmerda Known and Unknown – A review of a monograph of an inspiring yet relatively unknown Czech artist whose works span from graphics to sculpture to book illustration.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Svatava Urbanová: Lumír Čmerda – An interview with the artist about his roots and his artistic activities. Teachers of drama may find it interesting that besides free creation, Lumír Čmerda illustrated several books including A Bouquet by Karel Jaromír Erben, Kosmas’ Czech Chronicle or fairy-tales written by Božena Němcová.

Kristina Procházková: The Colourful World of Daisy Mrázková – At the turn of the years 2017 and 2018, Prague hosted an exhibition of illustrations and other art works by Daisy Mrázková (1923–2016), Czech author and illustrator of books highly appraised even abroad. The article introduces this extraordinary artist through her most influential books for children.

Kristina Procházková: Mazzel – Publishing Books Just for the Joy of It – The author of the article presents the activities of a newly founded publishing house specializing in books for very young readers.

Kristina Procházková: „The Matter Is Not Just Selling the Book – We Try to Have Fun Making It“ – An interview with Lukáš Opekar, one of the creators of the Mazzel publishing house, supplements the preceding article.

Klára Fidlerová-Michaela Lažanová-Luděk Korbel-Matěj Hádek-Lucie Šmejkalová: Peeping into Books for Children and Youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

Jaroslav Provazník: Looking Back at a Book that Should Not Be Forgotten – Besides the set of reviews of new books for children, Tvořivá dramatika is going to regularly point out books that have been forgotten and should not have, as they offer inspiring themes and motives to drama teachers and leaders of youth theatre groups. In this issue, the reviewer draws the readers’ attention to one of the first books of poetry for children written by the outstanding modern Czech poet focusing on young readers Josef Brukner called Proč, proč, proč (Why, why, why) published in 1963.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 57

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika presents two scripts written by Irina Ulrychová, a teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Brandýs nad Labem and a pedagogue of many years’ standing at the Drama-in-Education Department of the Faculty of Theatre in Prague. Each script is intended for a different age group. Jak vyléčit krále (How to Cure a King) is a dramatization of a simple modern fairy-tale for the very young while the play Jak napálit zloděje (How to Cheat a Thief) intended for older children is based on one of the traditional Japanese stories of judge Ooka.

 

 

SUMMARY 2018/2

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXTS

Michaela Váňová: Dorothy Heathcote’s Story – A portrait of one of the most original and influential personalities of drama education worldwide learn both about her life and the ways in which she enriched the field of drama in its many shapes.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Jaroslav Provazník: Signals and Impulses of 2018 Children’ Stage – The author of the article tries to characterise the overall impression that this year’s festival gave of the state of Czech theatre with children. “What I consider the best news,” he writes, “is the fact that the performances created a very colourful mosaic in terms of types and genres.” Stories with a child protagonist were the most frequently featured type of performance. In one case the story was set in the past, namely during the second world war (an outstanding performance presented by a group from the Basic School of Arts in Ostrov called Běž, chlapče, běž [Run, Boy, Run]; it was based on a novel by the Polish-Israeli author Uri Orlev). Three performances were inspired by traditional fairy-tales, four times the spectators saw original modern tales, two performances were based on nonsense poetry (one worth mentioning was a montage called Do velké krajiny Dudédu, inspired by the poetry and absurd tales by the Czech dissident poet Ivan Martin Jirous and played by the DRDS drama group from Prague). Other genres were represented by one performance each: a story with an anthropomorphic animal protagonist (a very good performance called My, vrabčáci (We, Sparrows) presented by a group from Sobotka and created to the motives of a book by the Bulgarian author Yordan Radichkov); then there was one absurd tale and even a horror thriller. The reporter then discusses the issue of children’s acting as well as various approaches to the shaping of a character including the usage of film elements (montage), techniques used in epic theatre and possibilities offered by puppeteering. An interesting element appeared in the performance Bylo nás pět (The Five of Us) in which movement and dance became the main narrative means.

Gabriela Zelená Sittová: The Children’s Stage and Poetry Reading – The Children’s Stage national festival features not only theatre, but traditionally has a specific category for children who recite both poems and prose. The reporter evaluates the quality of this year’s poetry reading from the viewpoints of dramaturgy (selection and adaptation of texts), expression (ability to capture and communicate images contained in the text, vocal technique, contact with the audience, etc.). She appreciates that discussions of lecturers with children reciters and the teachers or parents who prepared them have become an inseparable part of the festival. Workshops for children led by students of drama in education from the Theatre Faculty in Prague are another component of the festival that can enrich the participants in many ways.

Lucie Klárová: The Autobiographic Theatre Method: Presenting Susanne Schrader – The author of this article, who was the interpreter to the Belgian lecturer Susanne Schrader (of the AGORA theatre) during her workshop at the Children’s Stage national festival in Svitavy, describes in detail the contents of the workshop. The autobiographical method is based on the belief that the greatest potential that players bring into the creation of a theatrical piece lies in their own life stories, in other words their biographies. „Each human being,“ says Susanne Schrader, „is a fountain overflowing with numerous stories that can generate material for a great many performances.“

Mariana Čížková: Zlatá priadka (Gold Spinning) 2018 – A doctoral student of drama in education at the Faculty of Theatre, Prague, reports on the national festival of children’s theatre in Slovakia.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Ondřej Kohout-Jan Mrázek: When Philosophy Meets Drama – An original contribution demonstrating how drama methods can be applied in teaching philosophy at secondary schools and what advantages and drawbacks the encounter of philosophy with drama may present. The article was written by two graduate students from the Department of drama in education who also study philosophy and civic education (respectively) at Charles University. Both have designed workshops with philosophical themes that they implemented with several secondary school classes all over the Czech Republic. Ondřej Kohout’s programme was designed around the topic of Socrates and the Community while Jan Mrázek created a programme called Truth – Authenticity – Charter 77, a part of which is the life story of the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, a signatory of Charter 77, who died after being interrogated by the communist secret police in 1977.

Mariana Čížková: Creative Drama and Theatre for Children in New York – The author of the article spent two weeks in New York where she had the opportunity to attend programmes of several theatre groups that might inspire Czech directors, actors and drama teachers. She expresses her gratitude to Rives Collins of the Northwestern University who facilitated these encounters to her. The article describes in greater detail the activities of the Spellbound Theatre, a theatrical company focused on designing performances and workshops for children up to 5 years of age. The next project the article deals with is the New Victory Theatre, a professional theatre group situated near Brodway who play for children exclusively. The last three projects mentioned include the Roundabout Theatre, programmes of the non-governmental organisation Kids Creative Collective as well as the activities of another NGO, the Off the Page Education.

 

REFLECTIONS–REVIEWS–INFORMATION

Kateřina Řezníčková: Theatrum Neolatinum – Latin Theatre in the Czech Lands – Theatrum Neolatinum is a pioneering project of the Academia publishing house who has launched a new publication series with the aim of presenting baroque drama texts originating in the Czech lands that have been hitherto unknown or hardly accessible. So far it has focused on plays written by Jesuit teachers, but in the future text of different provenance are to be published as well. This review looks at the first two extensive volumes of the series, namely St John of Nepomuk on Jesuit School Stages and The Mildest Pallas: Plays Intended for Grammatical Classes of Jesuit Secondary Schools. The reviewer appraises both volumes as extraordinary, revealing and prepared in high editorial quality.

Marta Žilková: Innovative Music Education – Information on several attempts made by Slovak teachers to employ activating educational methods (including drama techniques) in the teaching of music.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Gabriela Zelená Sittová: The Field Is My Element – An interview with the author of children’s books Jana Šrámková who has recently focused on writing for the very young readers. Jana Šrámková is one of the most inspiring personalities of contemporary Czech literature.

Gabriela Zelená Sittová-Jaroslav Provazník-Luděk Korbel-Klára Fidlerová-Michaela Lažanová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Marta Žilková: Peeping into Books and Performances for Children and Youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

Jaroslav Provazník: Looking Back at a Book that Should Not Be Forgotten – Besides the set of reviews of new books for children, Tvořivá dramatika is going to regularly point out books that have been forgotten and should not have, as they offer inspiring themes and motives to drama teachers and leaders of youth theatre groups. In this issue, Jaroslav Provazník draws the readers’ attention to the somewhat forgotten witty book of crazy stories Nová knížka pro děti o chvástavém štěněti (A New Book about the Braggart Puppy), written by the Czech translator, author and poet Emanuel Frynta in the 1960s together with photographer Jan Lukas.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 56

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika presents a script to the performance My, vrabčáci (We, Sparrows) that ranked among the most inspiring at this year’s Children’s Stage Festival. It is based on several episodes from a book by the Bulgarian author Yordan Radichkov. The script is accompanied by an article written by Lada Blažejová, leader of a theatre group from the East-Bohemian town of Sobotka. She explains why she and her group consisting of boys only chose this theme, in what ways they worked on it and how they were seeking theatrical means to grasp the sparrows’ story in a way that would make it metaphoric rather than descriptive.

 

SUMMARY 2018/1

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXT

  • Kateřina Šteidlová: Henry Caldwell Cook and his method Play Way – The Play Way, a book by the British educator Henry Caldwell Cook, came out in 1917. It is generally considered an important stepping stone in the development of modern drama education. This article presents the thoughts of its author who taught at the Perse School in Cambridge and at one point started to use drama and theatrical methods in the teaching of English as the first language as well as in other subjects. The author of this article puts Cook’s efforts into historical context and characterises the fundamentals of his Play Way method, pointing out its contribution to the field of drama education.

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

  • Sanja Krsmanović Tasić: Teaching Ecology of the Soul in Jičín – Sanja Krsmanović Tasić, director of the Hleb Teatar in Belgrade and president of the Centre for Drama Education in Education and Arts (CEDEUM), was invited to lead a workshop called Poetry of Movement: a workshop of physical devising theatre within the national event Drama education in school held in September in the East-Bohemian town of Jičín. In her article, she explains the roots of her theatrical and educational work including various sources of inspiration and impulses (Odin Teatret, Jerzy Grotowski, etc.). She also describes the concept and intentions of her workshop.
  • Renáta Tkaczyk: Wow, what a journey to create a play! – One of the participants of the above-mentioned workshop provides here a detailed report on the work of Sanja Krsmanović Tasić, claiming that owing to her unique skills as a director and choreographer she managed to create an impressive movement mosaic packed with emotions, endowing it with purpose and even turning it into story with a clear theatrical form. The process that participants went through can be divided into several levels – the preparation of body, soul, breath, articulation and voice; building the sense of group identity and belonging; preparation of action; and immediate inspiration. These levels of preparation were repeated every day, but also deepened and connected, culminating into a sample of the group’s work presented to other participants that took the form of a theatre performance.
  • Sanja Krsmanović Tasić, Renáta Tkaczy, Ilona Kaletová, Katarína Vrbová: I don’t care how people move, I care what moves them. An interview with Sanja Krsmanović Tasić – Interview with Sanja Krsmanović Tasić.

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

  • Denisa Tchelidze: The use of dramatic methods by reformative teachers in the 30s – An extensive study based on the research of numerous publications and articles written by Czech reformist educators who strived to use dramatization and drama methods in the teaching of various subjects, especially Czech language and history. The author shows how their experiments carried out in the 1930s were an important chapter in the constitution of modern drama education in Czechoslovakia. „The materials I researched clearly indicate,” writes D. Tchelizde, “that theatre and drama education played an important role in the transformation of educational methods of reformist teachers. Those which appear most frequently are school dramatizations and choral reciting. However, we also encounter other forms, even though more scarcely – pantomime, monologues and dialogues of characters as well as puppet theatre; there is even a single occurrence of still images. All indicates that drama education captured interest of the proponents of reformist education.“ However, the development of the field was interrupted by German occupation and subsequently stopped completely by the communist regime.
  • Vojtěch Lőffelmann: I am Working - We are Building - They are Deciding – A drama lesson for the museum in Sušice concerning local history.

REFLECTIONS–REVIEW–INFORMATION

  • Josef Valenta: Social Learning – Nothing Boring. A Book Report – A review of a unique publication Drama Education and Social Learning in Primary Education written by Hana Cisovská, teacher at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ostrava.
  • Hana Zeleňáková: Be inside the text, do not leave it behind – In 2017, Mária Kuderjavá and Zuzana Stanislavová published a book called Creative Drama as a Way of Increasing Literary Competences of Younger Schoolchildren at the Faculty of Education of the University in Prešov. Hana Zeleňáková, a teacher at the Philosphical Faculty in Nitra, writes in her review that the book is a valuable contribution to the current discussion on drama education in Slovakia.
  • Gabriela Zelená Sittová, Veronika Rodová: A modernisation of the traditional journal Komenský. An interview with Veronika Rodová – An interview with the editor in chief of the educational journal Komenský (Comenius) published in Moravia since 1873.

ART FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

  • Luděk Korbel, Ondřej Müller, Petr Eliáš: Library for 21st Century Children, discussing a new project of the Albatros publishing house with its programme director Ondřej Müller and managing editor Petr Eliáš – An interview about an exceptional edition of books for children and youth launched by the Prague-based Albatros publishing house, which has the ambition to make children acquainted with fundamental and still vivid literary works both of Czech and international provenance.
  • Marta Žilková: „Children Nowadays Have No Duties!“ – Reflection on today’s children and young people inspired by Tereza Nvotová’s new film Špína (Dirt).
  • Luděk Korbel, Gabriela Zelená Sittová, Jiří Forejt, Anna Hrnečková, Michaela Lažanov, Lucie Šmejkalová, Marta Žilková: An insight into new books and plays for children and youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.
  • Jaroslav Provazník: Review of a book that should not be forgotten – Besides the set of reviews of new books for children, Tvořivá dramatika is now going to regularly point out books that have been forgotten and should not have, as they offer inspiring themes and motives to drama teachers and leaders of youth theatre groups. In this issue, Jaroslav Provazník brings to the readers’ attention two extraordinary psychological novels by the Czech writer, film and TV dramaturg and playwright Josef Bouček published in mid-1960s, namely Stane se této noci (It Will Happen Tonight) and Mlčení mužů (The Silence of Men).
  • DramaDiář / DramaDiary – Information on important events for drama teachers, students and lecturers held both in the Czech Republic and abroad in 2018.

CHILDREN’S STAGE 55

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika presents a script to the performance Elizaveta Bam created by the group Na poslední chvíli (Last Minute) from the Basic School of Arts in Ostrov to the motives of the text by the Russian poet and writer Daniil Kharms. This is what the group leader Lucie Veličková says about his absurd play that came into being in the late 1920s: „During rehearsals we were more and more surprised to see how up-to-date Kharms’ text was in relation to the current political situation not only in Russia. As all three members of the student theatre group are keenly interested in politics, we decided to make a statement about the theme of absolute power, political manipulation of crowds and dangerous forgetting of the past, because it is not so long back that similar stories were taking place in our country as well.“

  • Daniil Kharms, Lucie Veličková: Jelizaveta Bam
  • Lucie Veličková: A closing statement of a director
  • Jan Mrázek: Sometimes the audience scowls. An interview with the ensemble “Na poslední chvíli”
  • Alena Zemančíková, Luděk Horký: Reactions to the Ostrov performance of “Jelizaveta Bam”
  • Martin Hnilo: The reaction juggler Daniil Kharms
  • Diaries and Letters of Daniil Kharms
  • Protocols from interrogations of Daniil Kharms after his arrest in 1931

 

 

SUMMARY 2017/3

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXTS

Kateřina Dudová: Paradoxes of Children’s Theatre in Russia – Article about the recently formed movement of children’s theatre that strives to do children’s theatre “differently”, in other words using creative drama methods. It is centred around the Moscow-based club Children–Theatre–Education that was established in 2009 as a result of several active educators coming together; it was further supported by a teacher’s professional magazine who expressed interested in the project. Most of the Information presented here was taken over from the article Paradoxes of Children’s Theatre Movement written by a senior teacher at the Department of Aesthetic Education Alexandra Borisovna Nikitina. She describes the journey of Russian theatre for children from its beginnings until nowadays as well as the paradoxes faced by the field nowadays. In addition, she explains what kind of position children’s theatre occupies in today’s Russia and what developmental opportunities there are.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Anna Hrnečková: Gallery Education in the Czech Republic Today – Gallery education is a field that has been successfully developing on the grounds of Czech museums and galleries since the 1990s, taking great advantage of drama education methods. To chart the current state of gallery learning, the author of this article has attended programmes in several Czech and Moravian galleries, namely those in Kutná Hora, Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc and Kroměříž. She makes readers acquainted with the ways education departments work, introducing both the staff and the concepts and policies behind the programmes. She appreciates that the programme offer is in general well-organised and user-friendly and praises the high quality of some of the programmes.

Olga Buciová: Jurkovič Villa Possessed by Evil Spirits – A brief report of the hands-on educational programme with theatrical elements that occasionally takes place in Jurkovič Villa in Brno under the patronage of the educational department of the Moravian gallery.

Denisa Tchelidze: Drama in Education in Retzhof: Changes – Challenges – Choices: The art of doing the “right” thing – The author of the article took part in the 21st year of the Drama in Education Congress held from 7 to 12 April 2017 in Retzhof (Austria). The event takes place every other year and is organised by the International Organisation of Amateur Theatre (AITA/IATA) in collaboration with IDEA AUSTRIA and the ÖBV Theater. The article presents a synoptic overview of the whole conference, but its main focus lies in a description of the four all-day seminars offered to participants. Susanne Schrader (actress, head of Theaterpädagogik AGORA – Theater, Sankt Vith, Belgium) led a seminar called Devised Theatre: the way towards theatrical shape. Prior to the event, she had asked participants to bring with them a story featuring the theme of courage and an object related to this story. Both served as introductory impulses for joint creation with strong emphasis put on group sensitivity and natural story-telling. Multi-layer compositions of stories, places and actions were created by the workshop participants. Armin Staffler (drama and theatre teacher, writer and political scientist from Innsbruck, Austria) led a workshop called The Theatre of the Oppressed according to Augusto Boal and David Dimond: The Policeman-in-the-Head Technique. The seminar led by Lisa Woynarski (performance-maker, researcher and eco-dramaturg from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, London, United Kingdom) called Environmental Drama encouraged participants to look at their lifestyles as well as their attitudes to environmentalism and make an attempt at linking them up with artistic performance events. Gregor Tureček (director and drama teacher from Munich, Germany) led a seminar called Director’s Work in Political Theatre in which he examined how the process of directing a piece of theatre changes when it focuses on communicating political issues. Interestingly, Romeo and Juliet by Wiliam Shakespeare became the material on which the main theses were demonstrated. The seminar consisted of a lecture (including a video of a part of a performance directed by Tureček himself) and discussion time where participants worked in groups to outline their dramaturgical and direction concepts.

Jiří Forejt: Film Education as Related to Drama Education – The author of the article is a proponent of audio-visual and film education. Believing there are significant common grounds between this field and drama education, he tries in this article to put these two disciplines side by side and compares their premises, the tools they use and the goals they try to meet. At the same time, he gathers arguments for introducing film education as a separate subject in primary and secondary schools.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Michaela Váňová: Taking Your Class to the Theatre – An educator at the Prague-based Minor theatre, the author of this article has been engaged in a development of educational programmes (workshops, discussions and performance worksheets), all of which are intended to enhance and deepen the experience of young spectators. M. Váňová conducted a survey among teachers asking whether they took their pupils to the theatre and, if so, whether they carried out any performance-related activities before and after the visit. Then she devised a workshop for teachers in which participants themselves could see whether and in what ways the preparation and subsequent reflection of a theatrical experience is meaningful for them. They received stimuli for thinking about the children-education-theatre triad and became acquainted with suitable drama methods that they may use before visiting a performance with their primary school pupils. They also discussed the specifics of theatre for children and in the end attended a performance and tried out some of the methods of reflecting upon the performance with their students. The article also presents a complete syllabus of the workshop.

Anna Bura: Theatre Workshop Leader, or Theatre Educater? – Some thoughts concerning workshops for children and youngsters visiting performances in professional theatres.

 

REFLECTIONS–REVIEWS–INFORMATION

Roman Černík: Drama, or Theatre Education? Pondering over the book Theatre and Education by Silva Macková

Hana Cisovská: Considering Considerations about the Field: Drama, or theatre education, that is the question!

Authors of both articles are university pedagogues and distinctive personalities of Czech drama in education. Both have taken a close look at the new book Theatre and Education (JAMU, 2016) written by Silva Macková who has long been head of the Theatre and Education studio at the Faculty of Theatre at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts. Her book is based on the experience gathered during many years at the Theatre and Education studio as well as various theoretical sources. It makes a contribution to the discussion on the forms, goals and directions that the development of Czech drama in education might take. It discusses three basic issues: the contents and terminology used in the field (with a clear intention of re-defining it); the methodology of drama and its relationship to theatre; evaluating the process of transforming a drama-in-education department into the Theatre and Education studio. The book is a significant testimony to the drama education as conceived by the “Brno school“. In its core lies the proposal of the book’s author to rename the field so far known as drama education, instead calling it theatre and education. In other words, the aim is to detach drama education as a purely pedagogical discipline from the field that strives to teach theatrical skills and competences. Although both reviewers understand the arguments behind this proposal, they find it somewhat questionable as it might, in their opinion, bring confusion into the educational system instead of enriching it. They suggest that the incentive behind the proposal may be the effort of the “Brno school” to gain more autonomy in the field.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Luděk Korbel: I Never Know the Ending of a Story – An interview with Jean-Claude Mourlevat – An interview with one of the most noticeable contemporary French writers for children featured as a guest at the Tabook festival for small book publishers held in the South-Bohemian town of Tábor. Czech readers are familiar with J. C. Mourlevat thanks to his two books being translated into Czech, Winter’s End and The River that Flows Backwards. In the interview he speaks about his writing, sources of inspiration and attitudes concerning art.

Kristýna Plíhalová: Don’t Judge or you Shall Be Judged – The author writes on the activities of the remarkable organisation Ašta šmé that brings together people from the spheres of social work and arts who share the desire to comment on social issues by means of elaborating real-life stories. They have made several books of comics illustrating true stories of four children who went through orphan homes, adoption process or foster care. They try to capture how life in an orphan home shaped them, what was their relationship to their original and new families and how they succeeded in integrating into the society.

Eva Machková: Foreign Legends Part 3: Across Europe – The author of this overview points out books of legends in which drama teachers can find material for their work. The third part focuses on a selection of legends from all over Europe and over the span of centuries. To conclude, E. Machková argues why it is important to work with foreign legends, one of her key arguments being that becoming familiar with the culture heritage of other nations can make significant contribution to mutual understanding among people from different cultural backgrounds.

Luděk Korbel – Michaela Lažanová – Lucie Šmejkalová – Kristina Procházková – Klára fidlerová – Matěj Hájek – Marta Žilková: Reviews of new books and performances 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 54

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika presents two original texts upon which two performances at the 2017 Children’s Stage festival were based. The first of these called Psi, neztrácejte naději (Dogs, Don’t Lose Hope) was staged by Jana Mandlová, a teacher from the Little School of Drama in Svitavy, with her group Modroočky. The performance was inspired by the book by Anna Kemp Dogs Don't Do Ballet. The other one, Méďa spěchá domů (Little Bear Hurries Home), was created under the leadership of Martina Kolářová, a teacher at the Basis School of Arts in Mohelnice. Her group Pískající vršky has worked with the book by Marka Míková (Jonas Hurries Home). Both performances were played by younger schoolchildren and both employed puppets. The respective group leaders described the creative process behind the performances, expanding their descriptions by methodological notes related to working with certain types of children groups.

 

SUMMARY 2017/2

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

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.”

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

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.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

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.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

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 a Basic School of Arts in Nitra (Slovakia), to the motives of a remarkable novelette of the contemporary Russian author Pavel Sanajev 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.

 

SUMMARY 2017/1

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Denisa Tchelidze: The Purpose of Aesthetic Education in Primary School Curriculum – Although all children should encounter drama, dance, literature, visual arts and music during their primary school attendance, some of these areas find their way into the curriculum with great difficulties and have to fight for survival. Situation in the Czech Republic is slowly changing due to the establishment of the National Curriculum Framework in 2005, which includes the educational area of Arts and Culture. This document makes it mandatory for schools to introduce the subjects of music and visual arts, and – provided they have a qualified teacher – also drama education, either as a separate subject or as a teaching method (applied drama). In her article, the student of the doctoral programme Theory and Practice of Drama in Education offered at the Faculty of Theatre in Prague, discusses the benefits that drama brings into primary school curriculum and the ways in which it develops the key competences.

Eva Machková: Theatre in Education continued – In further reference to her article in Tvořivá dramatika 2016/3, the author ponders over the phenomenon of theatre in education and its potential. The first and crucial question to ask is about the essence and purpose of theatre in education. Theatre, and this is also true of arts in general, does not focus on transmitting factual knowledge – if any such information appears in a  work of art, it is just as a matter of circumstances surrounding the story. The main concern of this article is to discuss what kind of subject matter is suitable for use in theatre in education. Obviously the most appropriate subjects are those involving human action, as they make it possible to form a story or at least an episode of a story. This naturally leads to frequent exploitation of historical subjects (especially everyday history), topics related to civic education, literature (and the history of literature) as well as biographies of notable personalities from the fields of science, arts, sports and economics.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Marie Nováková: Insights in Bechyně – A report on the national workshop of secondary school theatre and drama held every October in the south-Bohemian town of Bechyně. The reporter, who was a lecturer at the last year’s Insights workshop, appreciates the fact that besides the nine performances presented, the 2016 Insights also offered an interesting workshop in which theatre group members reflected both upon their own and their peers’ work. Each group was given a ten-meter long rope to symbolise a performance. They were supposed to combine it with various objects and/or live acting to illustrate the peaks and key moments of a given performance. In the position of spectators, for example, they expressed which moment in the performance made them understand its main purpose. As authors, they used the rope to illustrate the ideal form, structure and creative circumstances their performance might have taken. Among the most noteworthy performances the reporter mentions the Pigeon Mambo presented by students of the Basic School of Arts from Jindřichův Hradec, which was based on the book Frisco Pigeon Mambo written by C. D. Payne; the experimental poetry collage When 8 flips, it looks like this: ∞ put together by a group from the Basic Schools of Arts from Liberec; and Wernischáž created by students of the grammar school in Ústí nad Orlicí as a result of improvising with nonsense poetry by the Czech poet Ivan Wernisch.

Vendula Slepičková: Getting Insight or Looking Back? – This article written by a participant of the 2016 Insights workshop is meant as a polemic discussing the way debates on performances were organised.

Alexandra Štefková: My World, our Planet: The World Festival of Children’s Theatre – A report from the 14th World Festival of Children’s Theatre held in June 2016 in Stratford, Canada.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Lucie Mecová: The Garden: A drama lesson based upon the book by Jiří Trnka – The author of this article describes a programme she has designed specifically for school classes who visit children’s departments of public libraries. Having implemented it in about 50 public libraries all over the Czech Republic, she received very positive feedback. Her priority in devising this lesson was to win children’s interest for the book The Garden written and illustrated by Jiří Trnka, the world-famous Czech artist and maker of puppet films, hereby encouraging the children to read more in general. This is why she worked both with the illustrations and the text of the book. Her choice of drama methods was influenced by the target group, as the lesson was aimed at children with no prior experience with drama.

Lucie Mecová: Momo: A drama lesson based upon the book by Michael Ende – The script of the second programme for school classes who visit children’s departments of public libraries.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Gabriela Zelená Sittová: A Well-Woven Fabric: The Speech Skills Methodology Developed by Šárka Štembergová Kratochvílová – A review of a new, updated issue of a fundamental book on speech skills training, which is an inseparable part of drama education.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Eva Koudelková: The Black Bride Set in Context – One of leading Czech experts in legends and a teacher at the Pedagogical Faculty in Liberec, Eva Koudelková discusses the extraordinary publication consisting in a selection of hitherto unpublished fairy-tales and legends gathered by collaborators of the famous 19-century poet and folklore collector Karel Jaromír Erben. The reviewed book makes readers acquainted with Czech folklore tales and legends taken down in the 1840s, presenting them in their original, raw shape untouched by literary “improvements”.

Eva Machková: Foreign Legends Part 1 – The author of this overview points out books of legends in which drama teachers can find material for their work. The first part published in this issue deals with legends from Slovakia, Lusatia, Poland, Ukraine and Ural.

Kateřina Dudová: Two Entertainment & Education Magazines for Children and Youth – Another part of the series mapping the contemporary Czech and Slovak magazines for children and youth. The article first takes a look at ABC, a magazine on science, technology and nature with a 60-year-long tradition and a somewhat questionable present state. The next periodical discussed here is Časostroj (The Time Machine), a new magazine aimed at the popularisation of history.

Luděk Korbel-Jaroslav Provazník-Eva Davidová-Marta Žilková-Michaela Lažanová-Gabriela Zelená Sittová-Klára Fidlerová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Anna Hrnečková: 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 52

This time, the text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama), which provides teachers with inspirational texts they might use in drama education, presents a script to the performance The Apple Pie is to Blame created by a group from the Basic School of Arts in Prague 3 under the leadership of Ivana Sobková. The performance ranked among the most interesting ones at the 2016 Children’s Stage festival in Svitavy (reviewed in Tvořivá dramatika issue 2/2016) and serves as a nice example of devised theatre. It was inspired by the books by Roark Bradford Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun and Ol’ King David an’ the Phillistine Boys paraphrasing the famous biblical stories.

 

SUMMARY 2016/3

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Eva Machková: History of Drama in Education in the Outline (3rd Part) – The last part of the historical outline focuses on drama education in English-speaking countries from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present time. It discusses the most important trends and concepts of drama education in the USA and the United Kingdom. Besides Winifred Ward, the author mentions the following personalities and their work: Geraldine Brain Siks, Ruth Beall Heinig, Nellie McCaslin and Viola Spolin from the United States, and Peter Slade, Brian Way, Gavin Bolton, Dorothy Heathcote, Cecily O’Neill, Jonothan Neelands and Judith Ackroyd from the UK.

Jaroslav Provazník: Eva Machková – The author of a study on the history of drama, which was published this year in the supplement of the journal Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama), is the key personality of the Czech drama education. Jaroslav Provazník summarizes her activities since the 1960s when she started to lay the foundations of modern drama education in the Czech Republic. At that time she began to publish the magazine Divadelní výchova (Theatre Education) and organize workshops and seminars for heads of children’s theatre groups and drama teachers. In the 1970s she established a tradition of national festivals of children's theatre held up to the present time under the name of Children's Stage, and has also written numerous books and articles on drama education and theatre for children and youth. In 1992 she founded the Department of Drama in Education at the Theatre Faculty in Prague where she still teaches.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Eva Machková: What is Theatre in Education and What Is It Good for? – In her article, the author characterises the main features of T. I. E. as a specific type of a participation theatre, illustrating it by several examples of Czech theatre groups who offer these kinds of productions. She mentions the DIVADELTA group who mainly explore the method of Forum Theatre. In their repertoire, they deal with issues such as aggression, bullying, xenophobia, gambling, eating disorders, old age or dying. They also seek ways to enhance inter-generation communication, safe use of the internet and financial literacy. Another type of T. I. E. focusing on educational aspects is used and developed by the SPOLUPOSPOLU group. It is based on quality literature for children and its dramatisations, which enables the participants to explore more complex and deeper themes, not necessarily limiting their focus on one specific situation or problem. Yet another type of T. I. E. activity is represented by the Prague-based DIVADLO BOŘIVOJ whose members strive to present and discuss curriculum topics (e.g. those from the subject of history) by expanding and perceiving them from the viewpoint of “everyday history” as opposed to the “great history” that deals with broader political connections and events.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Nicola Abraham: Marginalised Youth in the App Generation: Making the case for the integration of digital technologies in Process Drama – This paper intends to argue that the introduction of digital technology into Process Drama is not an attempt to replace the imaginative realm of play. Instead digital technologies can aid immersion into the liminal space of a workshop. The App Generation, Generation Z, or the ‘post-millenials’ form a new community of young people who are digitally literate, who have grown up surrounded by technology that they have learnt to engage with as part of their development: Technology is a new instrument of play. The intention of this research is to present an argument for the effectual integration of technology into Process Drama to revive and update the approach. The intention is to engage participants in an experience that speaks to their own worlds. In her article, the author draws upon a project she undertook in a primary school with six 8-9-year old children.

Pavel Vágai: Fighting Prejudice and Fear Together with Nicola Abraham – A participant of the workshop given by the drama teacher from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London University, UK, provides a detailed report of the event that took place within the national Drama in School workshop held for the 20th time in the East-Bohemian town of Jičín.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Jaroslav Provazník: Walking Through the Unsightly Landscape of Czech Magazines for Children and YouthTvořivá dramatika decided to pay attention not only to new books and performances for children and youth, but also look at the magazines offered to this target group. The author of the article outlines the overall picture of the market, assessing its state as rather dismal. He observes that unlike the book production, the offer of magazines aimed at children and youth in the past two decades consists predominantly of commercial and garish periodicals. Among the very few exceptions of quality children’s magazines that have appeared within the last twenty years, he especially appreciates the quarterly Raketa.

Kristina Procházková: Three, two, one, launch – Rocket flies! – A review of the Raketa (Rocket), a new magazine for children and youth, exceptional in its quality.

Kristýna Plíhalová: Čtyřlístek: Quality Gone Stale – A reflection on a traditional comics magazine for children that has been published since the 1960s. The author claims in her article that this still popular magazine has been stagnating in the past few years.

Marta Žilková: Children’s Magazines in Slovakia – A study on magazines for children and youth in Slovakia. Besides purely commercial titles, the author points out the Slniečko magazine that has maintained its high literary and visual standards for many decades.

Luděk Korbel- Lucie Šmejkalová-Klára Fidlerová-Kristýna Plíhalová-Michaela Lažanová: 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 51

Irena Konývková: Útěk – The present text supplement offers the script to a performance inspired by the remarkable psychological novelette by Ota Hofman. The performance of the HOP-HOP group from Ostrov (Western Bohemia) was awarded a price at the festival of basic schools of arts held in Litvínov from 2–5 June 2016 and was also presented at the Children’s Stage national festival in Svitavy on 14 June 2016. Ivana Konývková, the leader of the group and author of the dramatisation, has accompanied the script by numerous methodological and dramaturgical notes explaining how this performance featuring only two actors came into being.

 

SUMMARY 2016/2

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Eva Machková: History of Drama in Education in the Outline (2nd Part) – This part of the historical outline focuses on the establishment of the modern Czech drama education in the 1960s. E. Machková points out that its development was influenced by worldwide changes in the concept of the relationship of child vs. school and child vs. drama activities that were taking place during the early decades of the 20th century, specifically mentioning the name of Winifred Ward. After some isolated attempts throughout the first half of the century, modern Czech drama education underwent major development in the1960s, taking predominantly the form of theatre with children up until the late 1980s. (Drama became part of school curricula only in the 1990s). In the 1960s, however, leaders of children’s drama and puppet theatre groups started to discover the possibilities of devised theatre with children and departments of drama were established at the newly founded basic schools of arts. E. Machková introduces here the leading personalities of the founding generation of Czech drama education as well as several younger teachers whose active careers started in the 1980s. Another phenomenon that significantly enhanced the development of the field was the national festival and workshop of theatre with children established in the early 1970s in Kaplice and held to the present time under the name Children’s Stage (Dětská scéna), since 2011 in the town of Svitavy. After 1990 drama education started spreading across schools of all levels and the field of drama in education was further enriched after 1992 by the establishment of the Creative Dramatics Association (Sdružení pro tvořivou dramatiku), founding of the Tvořivá dramatika field journal and the establishment of two university departments of drama in education in Prague and Brno.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Hana Cisovská: Children’s Stage 2016: Record-Breaking, Rich and Colourful – The reporter considers the 2016 Children’s Stage festival and workshop of drama (representing the 45th year of the event) to have been very successful. The main programme consisted of 19 performances by children’s groups. These were very varied in terms of the age of actors (ranging from 7 to 15), literary originals that inspired the performances as well as chosen genres. The reporter, a teacher of drama at the Pedagogical Faculty of the University in Ostrava, especially appreciated the performance Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun based on the famous book by Roark Bradford which was prepared by Ivana Sobková with her group from the Basic School of Arts in Prague 3. Among other inspiring performances the report mentions an original parable about love called Láskotoč (Love-Go-Round) played by the group from the secondary grammar school from Ústí nad Orlicí, a witty collage put together by a group of very young children from the Basic School of Arts in Mohelnice Kdybych já byl dospělý (If Only I Was Grown-Up) inspired by the children’s book by the Hungarian author Éva Janikovszky, and the story Leni about a Czech girl transported to Nazi Germany during WWII which was performed by the group from a primary school in Liberec. The reporter concludes by claiming that this year’s Children’s Stage proved that theatre with children was an important part of education for future generations.

Denisa Tchelidze: The Power of Crowd, the Power of Individuality – A detailed description of a workshop introduced within the 2016 Children’s Stage festival in Svitavy that was led by Michael Woodward, English actor and teacher from the Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop in London.

Roman Černík: Czech Theatre of Teenagers in Five Days or What about the Young Stage this Year? – The reporter, drama teacher from the Pilsen Pedagogical Faculty, looks back on the 15th Young Stage, the national festival of theatre with teenagers held annually at the East-Bohemian town of Ústí nad Orlicí.

Mariana Čížková: 2016 Gold Spinning – A few impressions from the nationwide festival of Slovak children’s theatre groups held in the town of Šaľa. Just as the Children’s Stage in the Czech Republic, the Slovak festival also celebrated its 45th year of existence. The reporter compares the two festivals and describes in more detail the extraordinary performance Bury Me Behind the Slat prepared by the children’s group from the Basic School of Arts in Nitra on the basis of the autobiographic book of the same name written by the contemporary Russian author Pavel Sanayev that tells the tragic story of a child living in appalling conditions only with grandma and grandpa.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Anna Hrnečková: The Fourth Meeting of Drama Centers – The Association of Drama Centers of the Czech Republic founded in 2011 has annually organised a work meeting in which drama centers from all over the Czech Republic introduce their programmes designed for school classes, exchange professional experience and consult strategies of introducing drama lessons into schools. This year in February the meeting took place at the Labyrinth Studio of Drama Education in Brno. Besides teachers from the hosting city, THeatr Ludem drama centre from Ostrava contributed to the programme with their project on Charles IV, the Pilsen drama centre Johann brought a programme about researching everyday history and Sdružení D from Olomouc shared a project called Hate Has No Rightful Place of the Net. The meeting featured an important guest, Keith Homer, a long-time director of the Redbridge Drama Centre in London, which had inspired the establishment of the first drama centre in the Czech Republic in Brno-Lužánky.

Ivana Mináriková-Tomáš Chaloupka: Love in Defiance to Social Prejudice – A drama lesson for 14-15-year old students to the motives of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

Denisa Tchelidze: The Value-Based Education of Sister Cyril Mooney – Information on a seminar led by sister Cyril Mooney in the spring of 2016 in Brno. The system is based on peer-to-peer education and cooperative group work, developing equality of all participants in an environment of diversity, where teachers guide and center children with the decision-making abilities and trust to make a contribution that impacts others in the world around them.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Jaroslav Provazník: Creative Writing in the Teaching of Literature – A review of the book Creative Writing in the Teaching of Literature: Learning about the World written by Zbyněk Fišer and his Colleagues from the Masaryk University in Brno.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Anna Hrnečková-Denisa Tchelidze-Jakub Hulák-Jaroslav Provazník: A Festival on the Occasion of the International Day of Theatre for Children and Youth – A review mosaic assessing performances shown at the festival organised by the Czech centre of ASSITEJ and held this year in March in Prague on the occasion of the International Day of Theatre for Children and Youth. This festival annually offers quality performances for children and youth that were created in the Czech Republic both by professionals and children’s theatre groups.

Kristina Procházková: D.O.M.E.K. A D.E.S.I.G.N. – A review of two interesting Polish books for children dealing with architecture and applied arts that have been translated into Czech.

Anna Hrnečková-Luděk Korbel-Eva Davidová-Klára Fidlerová-Michalea Lažanová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Lucie Šmejkalová: Reviews of new performances and books for children and youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 50

Zdeňka Bezděková-Miloslava Čechlovská-Jaromíra Šírlová: Leni – The present text supplement brings two scripts. First of them is a two-day drama lesson for 10-11-year-old children designed by two drama teachers from a primary school in Liberec. They drew inspiration from the book Říkali mi Leni (They Called me Leni) by Zdeňka Bezděková about a Czech girl transported to Germany during WWII. The other script captures a performance created later on the basis of the above-mentioned lesson. It was carried out with 14-15-year-old children from the same school who were also interested in dealing with the topic. The performance ranked among the most inspiring ones at this year’s Children’s Stage national festival.

 

SUMMARY 2016/1

REFLECTIONS–CONCEPTS–CONTEXTS

Eva Machková: History of Drama in Education in the Outline – The first part of a material written by Eva Machková that is to be continued in two subsequent issues of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama). In this part she discusses the roots of drama and theatre in education within Czech environment, namely school theatre from the Middle Ages to the time of reforms introduced by Joseph II. She goes on to characterise the period of the 19th and 20th centuries when children’s performances started to take on the form of leisure time activities carried out on school grounds, yet for a long time possessed a rather didactic and moralizing nature. Out of the movement of reformed pedagogy, the personality of Miloslav Disman emerged, bridging the period of reformist pedagogical movements of the first half of the 20th century with that of modern Czech drama in education in the 1960s.

 

DRAMA–ART–THEATRE                                      

Jakub Doubrava: The Sight of the 2015 Insights – The 2015 Insights workshop of secondary school and youth drama held from 22th to 25th October in Bechyně marked the 26th year of the event’s existence. Actor, performer and director Jakub Doubrava took part in it as a discussion leader and in this article reports on the performances he has seen. He appreciates the fact that the follow-up discussions were held in an atmosphere of mutual respect and interest in the experience of others.

 

APPLIED DRAMA–EDUCATION–SCHOOL

Jitka Míčková: The Little Witch in Kindergarten – The article deals with implementing drama in everyday kindergarten activities. Jitka Míčková ponders here both over the advantages and limitations of doing drama with preschool children and describes her project inspired by the book The Little Witch by Otfried Preußler, consisting of ten subsequent 45-minutes lessons carried out during two weeks in kindergarten, utilising predominantly drama methods.

 

REFLECTIONS–REVIEWS–INFORMATION

Eva Machková: Visual Arts Drama? – Eva Machková clarifies the relationship between visual arts and drama in her review of the new Czech book Visual arts Drama in Educational Practice by Ivana Bečvářová. The book contains a description of fifteen lessons for various age groups ranking from pre-school children to their teachers. Eva Machková objects, however, that the book does not in fact deal with visual arts drama, because most lessons lack essential elements of drama. Despite this objection she recommends the book to drama teachers as a useful source of inspiration for their work.

Jan Slavík: Pondering Over Visual Arts Drama – Another review of the same book was written by a visual arts theoretician teaching at the Pedagogical Faculty of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. He finds the lessons presented in the book inspiring and stimulating and believes teachers can take good advantage of them in their work. As part of his review, Jan Slavík reflects the special position of visuals arts drama that balances on the border of theory and practice.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Labyrinth of The World and Paradise of the Heart: A Unique Piece of Work by the Drak Theatre. Hradec Králové 21. 3.–17. 4. 2015 – In the spring of 2015, the Drak theatre introduced an extensive project inspired by the work of Comenius, Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart… The project was intended for children aged 11+ and at its core was a non-traditional performance taking place all over the theatre building and in an adjoining Labyrinth. Other parts of the project included a blog searching for connections between the work of Comenius and the city of Hradec Králové, a children’s performance looking at the same topics through children’s eyes and an exhibition reflecting the progress of the project. The performance won the award of the Divadelní noviny theatrical journal in the puppet and visual theatre category. This article consists of excerpts from a catalogue that accompanies the project and is to be published in February 2016.

Dominika Špalková: Theatre as a Living Organism – The author of the overall concept describes here the developmental stages of the Labyrinth project – examining the topic, working dramaturgically on the literary work and shaping the direction and visual concept. She goes on to describe the whole performance inspired by the methods of site-specific and immersive theatre.

Tomáš Žižka: Varying Forms of Theatre: Unlike Culture, There is Continuity in the Landscape and in the Relation to Heaven – The stage designer of the Labyrinth project reflects theatre as a social act reaching a specific community, creating a kind of climate and facilitating contact both among the community members themselves and between them and the surrounding world.

Jan Svoboda: On Not Being a Spectator – Jan Svoboda is a co-author of the visual concept of the Labyrinth project and in his article he discusses the word “guest” as opposed to the more common “spectator”. This is precisely what he appreciates about the project: that visitors were drawn into activity as guests, being left to their own devices inside a labyrinth of events, thoughts, stories, people and spaces.

Dragan Stojćevski: Exhibiting or Staging a Story: A Spatial Reflection of the Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart – The author, a costume designer of Labyrinth, describes the principles of the immersive theatre that have been used in the project. The performance takes place in several places at once, letting each spectator experience the story in his or her own unique way.

Anna Hrnečková: The Labyrinth Through Children’s Eyes: Mode Comenius – An article written by the initiator of a parallel performance accompanying the Labyrinth project whose protagonists were children aged 10 to 13. Here she describes the genesis of the performance.

Kristina Procházková: Two Galleries or the Adventurous World of Visual Arts – These reviews look at two books for children which invite young readers to enter the world of visual arts in original and inspiring ways. The first book called Why Paintings Do Not Need Names won the 2015 Magnesia Litera award in the category of literature for children and youth. Its authors Ondřej Horák and Jiří Franta try to convince the readers that a visit to a gallery need not be boring but, on the contrary, can become an adventure. The other book called the Gallery or Arthur’s Adventure (2015) came into being in collaboration of the Meander publishing house and the National Gallery in Prague. It is a pop-up book in which pictures come alive through moving components. The reviewer finds the latter book to be of poorer literary quality, but still she believes both publications can serve as stimulators for children to start discovering the multi-faceted world of visual arts.

Anna Hrnečková: Theatre in Books for Young Readers – This article deals with books on theatre intended for children, analysing eleven Czech publications on the topic. According to the reviewer, their quality varies but none of them can be labelled as very good. Sadly, most of them approach theatre as something that has not changed over the past hundred years and that attracts mostly old people.

Eva Davidová-Iva Lubinová-Gabriela Zelená Sittová-Luděk Korbel-Lucie Šmejkalová-Marta Žilková-Ondřej Šulc: Reviews of new books and theatres for children and youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 49

The text supplement contains a script to the performance Who Do Foxes Drink put together and played by the Zhasni! group from the Basic School of Arts in Uničov led by Jana Jurkasová. The performance was inspired by the eponymous book by the contemporary author Lidmila Kábrtová which deals with the life of a child under the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. In 2015 the play appeared as a guest performance at several young theatre festivals. The supplement also brings a text written by Jana Jurkasová, How Children from Uničov Approached the Foxes that documents the genesis of the performance including the pitfalls that the group faced. The author of the literary model has contributed by an article called Wolves, Slovak Language and Overalls, in which she comments on three staging approaches adopted to her book of fiction.

 

SUMMARY 2015/3

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Irina Ulrychová: Montage as Inspiration for the Dramaturgy of Theatre with Children: Echoes of the 2015 Children’s Stage – The author, teacher at the Department of Drama in Education of the Faculty of Theatre in Prague, discusses several performances of this year’s Children’s Stage national festival that use the principle of montage. „Theatre with children is to a great extent devising theatre,“ she writes. Out of the festival’s seventeen performances, five have used the montage (collage) principle. Two of them had no literary model – the themes were based on children’s real experiences. The performance called Jola, which means “suitcase” in Ladakh, was a narrative of a Kashmir boy about the life in the Himalayas. Another performance, Nightmares, drew on the real-life fears and anxieties of the theatre group members. Other three were based on literary texts, but these were treated in original and unexpected ways.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

The introductory article of this issue is followed by three contributions of theatre group heads who describe the genesis of the performances mentioned by Irina Ulrychová in her article.

Kateřina Oplatková Rezková: A Commented Walk with the Midday Witch – The leader of the theatre group from Lidice makes readers acquainted with the creative process of children working with the classic ballad by the Czech romantic poet Karel Jaromír Erben The Midday Witch and describes how children were discovering up-to-date topics in this 19-century text.

Michal Ston: Ways to “Hi, I’m...” The author who teaches at the private Basic School of Arts Trnka in Pilsen looks back on a year-long work of his theatre group consisting of children aged 13–15. They worked on a performance based on two books by the contemporary Slovak writer Juraj Šebesta about the coming of age of young people which provided motives for the original collage called Hi, I’m...

Jiřina Krtičková: Nightmares – a Devising Theatre Performance of Pupils from the Basic School of Arts in Třebechovice pod Orebem – A teacher from the above-mentioned school takes readers through the script to the montage performance created from brief everyday situations in which children perceive fear or anxiety, from those seemingly unimportant (such as cutting of hair) all the way to very serious ones which include fear caused by parents fighting or loneliness.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Jaroslav Provazník: Jičín and its Place in the Map of Drama in Education: Looking Back on Twenty Drama at School Workshops – Held every September in the East-Bohemian town of Jičín, the nationwide workshop Drama in School is, besides the Children’s Stage national festival, another important event organised by the Czech Creative Dramatics Association. The author of this article, who has been responsible for the organisation since the beginnings, recapitulates the twenty years during which more than 1070 people from all over the Czech Republic participated in the event. Apart from workshops contributing to the professional development of drama teachers (personal and social skills, voice, movement, the teacher-in-role technique, etc.), participants could choose workshops dealing with drama methods in the teaching of literature, visual arts, music and history, or in working with preschool children, for example. An important part of the event consists in workshops led by experts from abroad – during the twenty years these have included Warwick Dobson, Tony Goode, John Somers, Allan Owens, Rives Collins, David Davis, David Booth, Gábor Takács, Julian Boal and, this year, Tintti Karppinen. The author of the article concludes by claiming that the Drama in School workshops have significantly contributed to the development of the field and enriched the image of drama education by providing new impulses and directions.

Irena Holemá: Jičín 2015 with Tintti Karppinen – A detailed report on this year’s workshop led by a drama teacher from Finland. „Although I have been doing drama for years,” says the reporter, a kindergarten director who taught drama at a primary school for many years and now is a teacher of drama at the Pedagogical Faculty in Prague, „meeting the Finnish drama lecturer was a valuable experience for me, as she presented us with many interesting variations of games and exercises which some of us had only known in a basic form. It was fascinating to observe how Tintti’s entire work in the field of drama is firmly rooted in her life philosophy and rich life experience. Each drama activity was justified within the whole. An important observation was how crucial it was for every participant of a drama lesson to be given enough space for his or her expression as well as sufficient attention and safety ensured by the teacher.“

Miroslav Gažák: Drama in the Teaching of Music at Secondary School – The author describes the ways in which he uses drama methods in his music lessons with secondary school students, in this case in presenting historical facts on life and work of the Russian composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Josef Valenta: Drama in the Service of History: A Book Report.  – A report on the book by Veronika Rodová Drama Education in the Service of History Teaching: The Education Potential of theThematic Cooperative Learning published by the Masaryk University in Brno.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Kristina Procházková: Shaun Tan, Interpreter of Ideas – The author of the article discusses several books by this outstanding Australian writer and illustrator.

Luděk Korbel-Eva Davidová-Klára Fidlerová-Michaela Korcová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Markéta Nedevová: 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 48

Soňa Pavelková: Little Shards – The text supplement brings the script to a remarkable performance that came into being as early as the 1970s as one of the pioneering ventures of children’s devising theatre using the collage principles that appeared in Czechoslovakia. The HOP-HOP theatre group founded and led by Soňa Pavelková at the Basic School of Arts in Ostrov presented Little Shards at the Kaplice Theatre Summer (a predecessor of today’s Children’s Stage) in 1977. The performance ranked among the most powerful experiences of the festival – not only because of its theme, which was unique in children’s theatre of the time, but also owing to the original way in which it was conceived.

Jaroslav Provazník: Soňa Pavelková on Little Shards and Other Things – Parts of an interview with the theatre group leader and author of the published script.

Zdena Josková: Little Shards in the History of Theatre with Children – Zdena Josková systematically dedicated her efforts to the dramaturgy of theatre with children from the mid-1970s, leading seminars on dramaturgy and dramatisation for theatre and educational professionals all the way to the 1990s. An excerpt from her article on the dramaturgy of theatre with children characterises the basic features of the performance called Little Shards (Střepinky), which became a milestone in seeking themes and forms of a play with children’s hero from the present time.

 

SUMMARY 2015/2

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Christiane Page: Theatrical Activities in French Schools in the Past and at Present: Some Reflections of the Complex History – The author briefly summarizes the development of drama in education in France from its beginnings all the way to the present day. She mentions the origins of school theatre at universities, mentions the major personalities of French theatre such as Jacques Copeau and Charles Dullin, the New Education international movement as well as representatives of drama in education (Jeu dramatique) including Léon Chancerel, Marie Dienesch or Miguel Demuynck. She examines the development in light of the change in activities that may be seen as the beginnings of drama in education, especially the changes in using ready-made texts one hand and improvising on the other. She points out that drama, whether in the form of working with a literary text or improvisation, should first of all encourage children to seek their own attitudes to theatre, but also help them become informed spectators. This is because drama is one of experimental ways of examining all that the word theatre encompasses.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Veronika Rodová: Children’s Theatre Has a Purpose – 44th Children’s Stage Festival – Being one of the Children’s Stage Journal editors, the reporter looks back on the 44th Children’s Stage, the national festival of children’s theatre and reciting held annually at the East-Bohemian town of Svitavy. Her focus is on critical assessment of the theatrical part of the festival. In her report, she divides the eighteen performances into three groups according to the age of children actors, the youngest group aged up to 10, the second covering the ages 10 to 14 and the third involving groups with the prevalence of 15-year olds, which is the upper age limit at the festival. The reporter gives a brief description and assessment of each performance, pointing out the most frequent issues mentioned both by the lecturers and in public discussions. She concludes by stating that children actors at this year’s Children’s Stage communicated in a sincere and natural manner, which also resulted in spontaneous enjoyment of the performances by their peers in the audience. In her opinion, the festival has opened up a space where the individual theatrical expression of children and their responsibility for the common outcome can be cultivated.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Klára Fidlerová: 20th International Congress Drama in Education: Multiculturalism and Migration – The author of this article has participated in the international conference Drama in Education held by AITA/IATA in collaboration with the Austrian ÖBV Theater, this year again in Retzhof, Austria. She reports on the progress of the conference and the workshops offered there, focusing on the one led by Nicola Abraham, teacher at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London). Its five parts included model lessons of drama for children of various ages, often coming from weak social of economic backgrounds (I. Community mapping; II. topic: Harry Potter; III. topic: Pirates of the Caribbean; IV. topic: five portraits of young people; V. topic: The Wizard of Oz). The lecturer introduced the deconstruction technique as a very effective means of opening up intercultural themes in working with children. Klára Fidlerová also describes the workshop led by Manfred Schewe, professor from the University of Cork, who dealt with multiculturalism using the experimental piece of drama The Golden Dragon written by the contemporary German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig as well as the motif of bird migration and the short story The Green Dragon by Franz Kafka. Another workshop was led by Marcel Diaz, Argentine director and professor of several universities worldwide, who presented his directorial and acting concept. He had varying pairs work in improvisations intended to clarify the basic principles of the acting (context, conflict, text, character). The workshop of Michael Wrentschur was based on Augusto Boal’s forum theatre and presented by the InterAct theatre group from Graz, who, under Wrentschur’s leadership, have been striving to change the social and political situation in Graz on long-term basis. The workshop participants have been made acquainted thoroughly with a part of the Rainbow of Wishes technique.

Jana Andrejsková: The Pedagogical Poem: The Circle is Closing – In November 2015, the Moravian town of Kroměříž is going to host the 48th Pedagogical Poem national festival and workshop where students of pedagogical secondary schools, who are training to become kindergarten teachers and school club leaders, will present and practise reading of poetry and fiction as well as theatre improvisation. The reporter, member of the organising team, has participated in the festival for several decades and so this year, which is going to be her 35th, she has taken the opportunity to recapitulate the development of the event established in Kroměříž in 1967. In the beginning, it was a competition in poetry and fiction reciting; several years later, two more categories were added after thorough discussions: improvised storytelling and loud reading of literary texts. Later, the Ministry of Education became the official organiser of the event. The year 2008 marked an important turning point, as twenty teachers of pedagogical secondary schools got together and outlined a set of clear rules which they submitted for approval to the Association of pedagogical secondary schools. The Association then became the only guarantor of the Pedagogical Poem and the competition was transformed into a festival. However, school directors appealed to the association, expressing their wish for a competitive event. As a result, the Pedagogical Poem is going to be a competition again, starting this year. It will be organised in three rounds – at the class, school and national level. Besides kindergarten children, lower primary school pupils and students of the first two years of secondary school, senior citizens have been added as a new target group for the participants’ performances. These are assessed by lecturers who first get to know the students within creative workshops that are part of the event.

Roman Manda: Pedagogical Poem: From Competition to Festival – The author of the article is a teacher of drama in education at the pedagogical lyceum in Havířov and also the archivist of the Pedagogical Poem festival. He became acquainted with the event in 2008 when it changed from a competition to a festival. In his article, he explains its concept and the changes that occurred in the course of time. He points out that the event serves as means of education not only for students, but also for the teachers to whom the festival offers workshops as well. He concludes by expressing his worries about the present return to competitiveness and its potentially negative impact on the nature of the event.

Jana Posníková: The D Association from Olomouc and Theatre Forum – An interview with Zuzana Zapletalová, one of the lecturers of the D Association Drama Centre from Olomouc which focuses on developing lessons aimed at negative social phenomena prevention (the topics including drug addiction, xenophobia, anorexia, etc.), as well as personal development and adaptation of individuals within the peer group. The lecturers use educational methods based on staging. Their latest project, Hatred Has no Place on the Internet, is a complex programme against cyber bullying. It consists of a theatre forum and a campaign that introduces a website aimed at this topic. The interview deals mainly with the above-mentioned project.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Klára Fidlerová: Developing Children, not Drama – A review of the second, revised and complete edition of the book Development Through Drama by the British drama teacher Brian Way bears in its title the main underlying principle promoted by this personality, one of the “founding fathers” of modern drama in education. The reviewer appreciates the clear methodology, accompanied by many examples and self-contained lessons. She considers the book to be a highly useful guide for beginning teachers, as it contains a great deal of advice presented in a very open-minded manner, demonstrating how the right way towards drama work is through developing one’s own strengths. From today’s viewpoint it is interesting to see how important it was way back in the 1960s to defend arguments that are nowadays perceived as a matter of fact. The only drawback mentioned in the review is the not so clearly organised structure of Way’s text that make the book somewhat difficult to read, especially at the beginning.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Jaroslav Provazník: The Great Little Lalula – A review of the book of poetry called The Little Lalula, containing poems of four “German nonsense poetry classics” selected and skilfully translated by one of the outstanding contemporary Czech poets, Radek Malý. The poets whose work is represented here are Christian Morgenstern, Joachim Ringelnatz, H. C. Artmann and Ernst Jandl. Out of these four, Czech readers will probably be most familiar with Morgenstern thanks to the congenial translation made by the famous tandem of translators Josef Hiršal and Bohumila Grögerová. Radek Malý accomplished the challenging task with excellence. His translations are by no heavy-footed stylistic exercises, but playful and elegant verses in which the poet draws upon his own imagination and sense of language while respecting the original form of the poems.

Jaroslav Provazník-Gabriela Sittová-Iva Lubinová-Michaela Lažanová-Michaela Korcová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Markéta Nedevová: 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 47

The text supplement contains two scripts by Richard Koníř, leader of a children’s theatre group from the primary school in Jičín. Both texts are aimed at younger children with little theatrical experience. The first text, The Seven Days, is a dramatisation of a grotesque modern fairy-tale by František Nepil. The second, Sam the Cook and the Mermaids, is a dramatisation of the American fairy-tale adapted by the Czech poet and writer Pavel Šrut. Performances of the children’s theatre group from Jičín were seen at the Children’s Stage festival both last and this year. The scripts are accompanied by notes written by the group leader; they focus on the methodology of theatrical work with children and the development of the two dramatisations and performances.

 

SUMMARY 2015/1

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Tomáš Doležal: Drama in the Czech Educational System – This article based on previous research attempts to outline the current situation of drama in education as used in the primary schools in the Czech Republic. Out of the total of 70 primary schools in South Moravia, which the author included in his research study, 34 (i. e. 49 %) mention using drama in their school curricula. The most frequent way of applying drama is incorporating it into other subjects or projects. 23 schools teach drama as an independent subject, either obligatory or optional. The author poses a question whether this is enough. In the Czech National Curriculum Framework, drama is identified as an additional field (unlike visual arts and music, which are compulsory), so primary schools are not obliged to incorporate drama in their curricula. In light of this fact, the number of schools that do include drama is relatively high. Yet the author adds: If we take into account that art with all its disciplines has been an integral part of the history and culture of every civilised society, the situation is not quite satisfactory.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Vladimír Fekar: Naked and Exposed Youngsters in Bechyně: A grown-up festival dealing with teenagers – The playwright and dramaturg of the Municipal Theatre in Zlín Vladimír Fekar was a lecturer at the Insights (Nahlížení), the 25th national festival and workshop of secondary school drama and young theatre held in October 2014. In his article, he looks back on the festival programme consisting of seven performances of youngster groups from all around the Czech Republic and one guest performance of a group from Slovakia. „The Insights have left a very positive memory,” writes the reporter. “I have seen courage and willingness of youngsters to expose themselves and thus make themselves vulnerable through themes they chose for their performances, putting into the centre of attention heroes of their age, with whom they can fully identify, heroes representing their personal problems and their need to learn about the world.“ He writes in more detail on a performance that strongly captured his interest, namely The Naked played by the BUDDETO! group from the Trnka private basic school of arts from Pilsen, led by Michal Ston. In conclusion, Vladimír Fekar states: „I believe the most valuable feature of the whole festival consists in discussions and reflections. The Insights have preserved their workshop atmosphere where the main aim is not just presenting one’s achievements to others, but also learning to reflect the performances. The organizers have succeeded in creating conditions under which participants can capture their impressions from performances in creative ways. This year’s workshops focused on creating optical poems as metaphors for respective performances. These have become the primary impulse for the discussion on each piece.“

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

One Plus One is More than Two, or What is "Visual Arts Drama" ? – Continuation of the series on combining the methods of drama and visual arts education. This issue of Creative Drama (Tvořivá dramatika) brings the following contributions:

Hana Habrychová Koutová: Visual Arts and Drama Workhops with Moments of Surprise – A paper on visual art and drama workshops dealing with various epochs of art history. These are intended for secondary school students and combine the elements of literature (Ovid, Shakespeare, K. J. Erben, F. G. Lorca), drama and visual arts in a mutually enriching way in order to intensify the participants’ experience.

Veronika Výprachtická: Visual Elements in Drama and Drama as a Guide to a Work of Fine Art – In this article, a lecturer describes her experience with combining drama and visual arts activities both in drama groups and programmes held at the National Gallery in Prague.

Božena Osvaldová: The Way towards Visual Drama – A student at the Dpt. of Drama in Education of DAMU and a teacher at the basic school of arts points out that combining elements of fine arts and drama not only enriches both fields, but children profit from it greatly while learning to know themselves and the world. She concludes by claiming that  “combining both fields with their specific methods, reflecting themes through this ‘double point of view‘ and absorbing the aesthetic principles of visual arts and drama leads students to understand art in general.“

Hana Stonová Prančlová: Combining Art and Drama Activies: Benefiting Each Other – A drama and visual arts teacher describes her own experience of using drama activities during visual arts classes and, vice versa, taking advantage of visual arts activities in drama education. „I perceive these two art disciplines as very close to each other,” she concludes. “In visual arts there is often a strong dramatic element present – sculptors and painters capture man and his existence or behaviour not only in common genre images, but also in very dramatic situations, such as war or the suffering of martyrs. A visual artist in fact needs to be a good director. Genres such as action art or happening have blurred the borderline between visual arts and drama to a great extent. The world of drama can undoubtedly be enriching for visual artists. Theatre, on the other hand, is a synthesizing art discipline, and as such cannot exist without the visual element.”

Vendula Slepičková: A Natural Way from the Superficial to the Deep – The author, a teacher at a grammar school and basic school of arts in South Bohemia, writes on her experience of applying drama methods to visual arts lessons and using elements of fine arts in the teaching of drama.

Veronika Blažková-Petra Jančová-Kateřina Michlová: The Coference of the Birds: A Weekend Workshop Based on the Book by Petr Sís – A report on a drama and fine-art workshop project implemented by students of the Dpt. of Drama in Education of DAMU. Visual and text material for the project was taken from the book The Conference of the Birds written by the famous Czech artist and author living in New York.

Jaroslav Provazník: The Peter Brook’s Conference of the Birds.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Eva Machková: The Story of Mateřídouška – A review of a unique book mapping the almost 70-year-long history of the longest-published Czech magazine for children from its first issue in December 1945 all the way to 2013. The reviewer appreciates that the author treats the respective stages of its development in a systematic and well-organised manner while keeping her style readable. She points out that the monograph not only captures the history of one specific magazine, but also reflects the transformation of the Czech literature for children from 1945 up to the present day.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Gabriela Sittová: Shel Silverstein Should Become the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights – An article on the Czech translation of a poetry book A Light in the Attic (the Czech title being Jen jestli si nevymejšlíš) written by Shel Silverstein, accompanied by an interview with Stanislav Rubáš, one of its translators, who talks here about this extraordinary American author and the adventurous way towards translating these playful, partly nonsense verses.

Eva Machková: There is Only So Much that a Fairy-Tale Can Take – A reflection on the generally very poor quality of Czech TV films based on fairy-tale motives.

Luděk Korbel: Two Books by Radek Malý – A review of two new books written by one of the most interesting contemporary Czech poets writing for children.

Anna Hrnečková: Books from the Homecoming Hospice – Information on two books for children dealing with the theme of death and dying.

Luděk Korbel-Gabriela Sittová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Klára Fidlerová-Michaela Lažanová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Markéta Nedevová-Marta Žilková: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 46

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika brings the script to one of the most inspiring performances played by youngsters in the last year. The performance called The Naked (Nazí) is based on a great psychological novel of the same name written by Iva Procházková. This story of several teenagers was staged by the BUDDETO! group from Pilsen led by Michal Ston. In his report on the 2014 Insights festival, where the performance was also seen, Vladimír Fekar characterises it in the following way: „Both the monologue form and the stage design underline the solitude of the characters and the difficulties they experience while relating to the surrounding world. In The Naked, we see the coyote as a symbolic creature – a wild, but free and vulnerable animal which cannot survive in captivity. The Naked is a play about seeking one’s own self, about the necessity to achieve the inner, not just outer freedom.“ The script is accompanied by dramaturgic and methodological notes by the theatre group describing the development of the performance.

 

SUMMARY 2014/3

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Anna Hrnečková: Dramatising Extensive Epic Material for Children’s Groups  – This text brings an overview and analysis of the dramatisations that appeared in Czech children’s theatre during the last two or three decades. Its author has examined scripts (both manuscripts and published scripts) as well as videos archived at the Dpt. of Drama in Education of the Faculty of Theatre in Prague. It is her belief that in assessing the quality of texts for the theatre with children, one has to combine theatrical and theoretical points of view with the knowledge of developmental psychology, especially the developmental stages of children’s acting. „The theatrical potential is not all that matters,“ she points out. „The educational potential, or in other words what children learn in the process, is equally important. Besides the themes and situations that children discover and the knowledge they gain, there is the benefit of them being confronted with different principles of artistic expression. One can also assess a text with regard to the target group (audience). A very important aspect is considering how suitable the text is for the given group of children.“ Anna Hrnečková also deals with the relationship between the dramatic text and children’s acting, briefly outlines the history of dramatisation work in Czech children’s theatre, but the core of her work consists in analysing selected scripts including their structure (drama structure vs. epic principles), discusses various ways of employing the narrator and constructing characters (paying attention to adult characters in theatre with children), metaphors, etc. The study is a part of a master’s thesis presented at the Department of Theatre Studies of the Philosophical Faculty in Prague.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Václava Makovcová: 13th World Festival of Children’s Theatre – That’s Where We Have Been! – A participant’s of the the World Festival of Children’s Theatre held at the turn of July and August 2014 in Lingen, Germany. The reporter is one of the two leaders of the children’s theatre group Tři boty (Three Shoes) from the Czech town of Třebotov, who participated at the festival with their performance called Nu vot!, an adaptation of the classic Russian fairy-tale The Tsarina Frog. The reporter appreciates the excellent organisation of the event and comments on several of the festival’s performances.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

One Plus One is More than Two or What is "Visual Arts Drama" ? – Continuation of the series on combining the methods of drama and visual arts education. This issue of Creative Drama (Tvořivá dramatika) brings the contribution by Martina Černá Possibilities and Benefits of Combining Visual Arts and Drama in Teaching – Drama teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Jesenice discusses interrelations between theatre and visual arts both in regular school lessons and gallery workshop.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Anna Hrnečková: The Menteatrál Festival – The editor of Tvořivá dramatika reports of an exceptional event that took place in summer 2014 in Neratov, a little town in the Orlice mountains, where several drama groups of mentally handicapped people met. She shares her impressions from what was for her the most powerful theatrical experience, the performance Romeo + Julie = VSL jointly created by students of theatre schools and handicapped clients from the Neratov social centre. It bore witness to the fact that during the two-week workshop that preceded the performance, a total symbiosis of “healthy” and “handicapped” actors was achieved. It was therefore not theatrical work of one group led by the other, but a truly common creative process. “Creative” refers not only to play enjoyed by all participants, but especially the shared view of the world and theatre communicated to the audience.

Kristina Procházková: The Great Expectations of the Czech Board Book? – Information on the activities of the newly founded Prague-based little publishing house Běžíliška, which has the aim of producing quality books for little children, with attention paid both to text and illustration. This ambition is witnessed by the first two picture books published: a book of poetry by Petr Borkovec Všechno je to v zahradě (It’s All in the Garden) with poetic illustrations of Filip Pošívač, and a mini-story by Robin Král and the artist Andrea Tachezy about a lost bat called Ferdinand! The article is complemented by the reporter’s interview with the founder of the publishing house, František Havlůj.

Luděk Korbel: Anna and the Poetics of Jostein Gaarder – A study on the book Anna: A Fable on the Climate and Environment, which the reviewer sets into the context of this well known Norwegian writer’s work.

Ivan Adamovič–Gabriela Sittová–Michaela Lažanová–Markéta Nedevová–Jindřiška Bumerlová–Lucie Šmejkalová: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 45

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) brings two scripts written by Hana Nemravová, drama teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Uherské Hradiště, whose performances with children and youngsters have ranked among the most interesting in the past few years. The dramatisation of the novel by Zdeňka Bezděková Říkali mi Leni (I Was Called Leni) has successfully dealt with the problem of dramatising a psychological story with a child heroine for a children’s group. In this case, the main character is a Czech girl dragged to captivity in Germany during the second world and seeking her identity. (The dramatisation is one of those analysed by Anna Hrnečková in the initial study of this issue, where it is highlighted as one of the best-quality scripts for children’s groups.) The other script, O Janě E. (On Jane E.), is a dramatisation of the first part of the classic romantic novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Both performances appeared at the Children’s Stage national festival – the first in 2003, the other this year.

 

SUMMARY 2014/2

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Anežka Navrátilová: Reflection in Drama Education – Reflection represents one of the grounding stones of every well-prepared drama lesson, be it process drama, devising theatre, workshop of theatre games or drama in education. Reflection significantly enhances the efficiency of the learning process. It can take on various forms and scopes, but it should never be missing entirely. The present study, presented as a diploma work at the Dpt. of drama in education of the Faculty of Theatre in Prague, deals with the following issues: Defining reflection, Identifying the goals both of the lesson and its reflection part, Organisational forms of reflection, Methods of reflection and Issue of formulating questions.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

František Zborník: Children’s Stage No. 43: Craving for Storytelling – Critical notes on the 43th Children’s Stage national festival held in June 2014 in the East-Bohemian town of Svitavy. František Zborník, who was himself one of the lecturers, provides an overview of performances, paying special attention to the ones he found particularly inspiring: Jednou v Chelmu (Once Upon a Time in Chelm) written to the motives of a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer and performed by children from the Basic School of Arts in Liberec; Karkulkoviny, variations on the well-known story of the Little Red Riding Hood staged by the Basic School of Arts in Prague 3; Bert and Naďa, devising theatre by the Basic School of Arts in Turnov; Jó, ty matky (These Mothers...), a dramatisation of a horror story by Brian Jacques performed by the group from the Basic School of Arts in Ostrov; and Trpaslík byl lesa král (The Dwarf was the King of the Forest), a theatre and dance performance by a group from Prague 5.

Gabriela Sittová: Where we Learn Most about Children’s Poetry Reciting – Notes on the forms of children’s poetry reciting and its purpose, ensuing from the national workshop in Svitavy. The author ponders over ways in which poetry reciting can stimulate children’s interest in poetry and fiction.

Klára Fidlerová: Teacher to Teachers, Teachers to One Another – Report on a workshop led by the British drama teacher Michael Supple during the Children’s Stage national festival. The reporter, a drama teacher at the secondary school of pedagogy in Čáslav, describes in detail the course of the workshop and the steps taken by its leader, appreciating most of all his systematic planning and structuring of various types of drama lessons.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Eva Machková: One plus one is more than two or What is it "visual arts drama" ? – Professor of the Dpt. of Drama in Education (Faculty of Theatre, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague) prepared an enquiry about possibilities of combining methods of drama and visual arts education. The Creative Drama (Tvořivá dramatika) presents the first two contributions – one by Martina Lachmanová, lecturer of the National Gallery Prague, the other one by Veronika Blažková, teacher of the visual arts from Basic School of Arts, Olomouc.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Aleš Povolný: Joining Music with Drama Education – A review of the book by the Slovak drama teacher and music composer Belo Felix.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Anna Hrnečková: Can Theaters and Schools Collaborate? A Few Notions from the Symposium “Ways towards Collaboration between Theaters and Schools within Czech and German Context” – On the first day of this symposium organised by the National Moravian and Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, three lecturers from German-speaking countries shared their experience: Constance Cauers, theatre lecturer from the Schauspielhaus Graz, Michael Hess, dancer and choreographer from Germany, and Daniela von Vorst, a Czech teacher of drama working in Hamburg. The event was held with the support of the Czech-German Fund for the Future, NIPOS and the Goethe Institut. It proved that education through theatre is no more a novelty in the Czech Republic. „There are theatres offering educational courses, there are university-educated professionals in this field and there are artists focusing on theatre education. However, an equally important finding is that there are also schools and teachers who participate in this education with their students,“ writes the reporter. Feedback from participants showed that they have progressed beyond gathering general information on the principles and benefits of theatre education and seek particular examples and ways of applying it actively in their work.

Marta Žilková: Encounters (Stretnutie, Setkání, Spotkanie, Találkozás) 2014 – Report on the 16th festival of theatres and theatre schools held in Nitra, Slovakia, focusing particularly on theatre for children and youth.

Jaroslav Provazník-Gabriela Sittová-Klára Fidlerová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Jakub Hulák-Michaela Lažanová-Marta Žilková-Markéta Nedevová: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth – Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 44

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) brings the script to the performance Jednou v Chelmu... (Once Upon a Time in Chelm), which ranked among the most interesting ones at this year’s Children’s Stage festival in Svitavy. Drama teachers from the Basic School of Arts in Liberec Libuše Vrtišková Hájková and Michaela Homolová have dramatised the story Lemel & Tzipa written by Isaac Bashevis Singer to stage it with their children’s group. The script is accompanied by methodological notes on the genesis of the performance and the source – the original literary text which the children worked on together with their teachers.

 

SUMMARY 2014/1

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Vojtěch Maděryč: Sources of inspiration for teaching acting to children in drama groups – Drama education is taught as a subject at some of Czech primary and secondary schools, but children also have the possibility to visit various free time centres or schools of art where they can do drama and theatre. The place where they can pursue this interest most systematically and thoroughly is the network of Basic Schools of Art all over the Czech Republic. The characteristic feature of work at these schools is putting equal emphasis on aesthetic and artistic values as on personal and social development of children. Pupils learn to understand theatre as a collective artistic expression, gradually becoming acquainted with particular elements of theatre. Vojtěch Maděryč, a teacher of literary and drama  education and headmaster of the Basic School of Arts in Jindřichův Hradec, South Bohemia, discusses the ways in which various acting schools and personalities can contribute to and inspire the acting skills of children and youth. First he examines the typology or role-playing in relation to ontogenesis and then characterises the work of three Czech personalities of drama education and theatre who dealt with ways in which children and youth can approach acting: Miloslav Disman, Soňa Pavelková and Václav Martinec.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Dominika Špalková: Insights 2013: Intensive experience thanks to creative and personal encounters – Pondering over Insights, the 24th national festival and workshop of secondary school drama and young theatre held in October 2013. The author appreciates the programme which included not only successful performances from other festivals, but also unfinished pieces or performances which arouse doubts or controversy. She also points out that there were enough opportunities for reflection: participants could not only discuss the performances, but also express their opinions and attitudes in practical workshops.

 

APPLIED DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Anna Hrnečková: Whatever Life Brings to the National Gallery... A Mosaic of Observations on Drama at the National Gallery in Prague (including one interesting book) – In the past few years, the National Gallery in Prague has offered a number of programmes to schools and parents with children, in which elements various drama techniques are used. This type of programme was introduced into the gallery in 2001 by then-students of drama in education at the Faculty of Theatre at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts, Jana Machalíková and Hana Šimonová. Since then the number of lecturers who are able to use drama in the gallery programmes has raised significantly.

Jana Machalíková: The Story of Jana and Hana: Bringing Drama to the National Gallery – The author recapitulates the development undergone by the National Gallery programmes which take advantage of drama, from the beginnings to the present day.

Anna Hrnečková: Lecturers Build Bridges and Open Doors. An interview with Monika Sybolová from the Lecturer’s Department of the 19th-century art collection of the National Gallery in Prague – Monika Sybolová points out that drama has significantly enriched the programmes offered by the National Gallery, but emphasises that these need to be led by well-prepared and experienced lecturers.

Michaela Matysová-Jana Machalíková--Anna Kotrbová Rejchrtová-Veronika Výprachtická: On Guard – A description of one of the programmes designed by the lecture department of the National Gallery. It is a programme aimed mainly at pre-school children and relating to the sculpture Heracles – The Archer (1909) by Emile Antoine Bourdelle. Children learn to observe a piece of art, name its characteristics (size, colour, shape, material), use their voice and develop their cooperative skills and sensory perception in movement sketches.

Jana Machalíková: When a Lecturer Becomes Actor, Narrator and Improviser – A lecturer’s account of her experience with leading workshops for various age groups at the National Gallery.

Kristina Procházková: „Browse, look, imagine...“ – A review of a book published on the occasion of an exhibition of František Kupka, which is not a traditional catalogue, but a collection of activities to do with children.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

Klára Jíchová: The History (and the Present) of a Fairy-Tale Play – A review of a monograph by Eva Machková, teacher at the Dpt. of Drama in Education of DAMU, Prague, called Between Reality and Dream: Chapters from the Poetics of a Fairy-Tale Play.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Anna Hrnečková: Mapping Contemporary Theatre for Children. TOY MACHINE – The editor of Tvořivá dramatika introduces another theatre group who has been making performances for children and youth since 2010.

Anna Hrnečková: Puppets are Better Actors than I – An interview with Tomáš Běhal, director and actors of the TOY MACHINE theatre.

Gabriela Magalová: On the Meditative Fairy-Tale – A teacher of the Department of Slovak Language and Literature at the Pedagogical Faculty in Trnava, Slovakia, writes on fairy-tales with religious motives and stories that are labelled as philosophical.

Klára Fidlerová: Between Adult and Childen Fiction – A review of two inspiring books, one for adults and the other for youth, published recently by the Argo publishing house: Markus Zusak’s The Messenger and The Giver by Lois Lawry.

Lucie Šmejkalová-Anna Hrnečková-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Eva Davidová-Michalea Lažanová-Michaela Korcová-Luděk Korbel-Karolina Plicková: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth - Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 43

The Children’s Stage national festival held in the town of Svitavy in June 2013 saw an interesting puppet performance by a children’s group from Vsetín called Why Does Something Always Go Wrong for Me? A dramatisation made by the group leader Barbora Dohnálková based on a children’s book by the Hungarian author Éva Janikovszky, is published as a text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika and accompanied by a commentary, in which Jaroslav Provazník points out the particular qualities of the performance.

 

SUMMARY 2013/3

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Eva Machková: The Matter of Drama Education 3: The Sources – The essential material put together by a teacher of the Dpt. of Drama in Education (Faculty of Theatre, Prague) discusses and classifies the contents and objectives of drama in education teaches and suggests what participants can gain from it for their present and future lives. In the final part of her series, she discusses the types of sources that offer topics for drama. Regardless of the type, all these sources deal with relationships, characters, attitudes, values and/or ethics. Eva Machková points out that teachers of drama or teachers who just want to take advantage of drama methods in teaching other subjects may draw inspiration from ancient literature, myths, aboriginal mythology, medieval epics, folk fairy-tales and legends as well as various kinds of literature for children and youth, drama pieces on TV, fine arts, music and history. As Eva Machková concludes, drama in education nowadays takes two different directions. The first (and most important) is drama as an independent subject while the other is represented by drama methods used in the teaching of other subjects. The main focus of the latter is of course communicating the learning matter of the relevant subject, drama being used as a tool to achieve this. Both forms have their rightful places in the present educational system and can mutually inspire each other.

 

DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Gabriela Sittová–Veronika Krátká: A Conference in the Spirit of Dorothy Heathcote – The reporters provide a detailed description of the National Drama International Conference 2013 organised by the British association National Drama which took place at the University of Greenwich, London, from 4 to 7 July this year under the name Heathcote Reconsidered. The conference was conceived as a tribute to Dorothy Heathcote, with the aim of assessing the contribution of this remarkable personality to the field of drama and drawing attention to the legacy she has left behind. About two hundred people from all over the world including drama teachers, university teacher trainers in the field of drama in education as well as post-graduate drama students took part in this work-oriented meeting which, in the reporters’ opinion, was of high quality and well organised.

Dorothy Heathcote: Contexts for Active Learning: Four models to forge links between schooling and society – In her article of 2002 published here courtesy of the British field periodical The Journal for drama in education, Dorothy Heathcote describes and explains four models of teacher/student activity she developed and refined throughout her career: Drama Used to Explore People, Mantle of the Expert, the Rolling Role and the Commission Model.

Eva Gažáková: 8th IDEA World Congress, this time under the name From One World to Another: arts education for tomorrow or Dramachaos à la française – The work congress held in Paris and organised by IDEA (International Drama/Theatre and Education Association) consisted of lectures, debates (round tables), practical workshops, artistic, educational and research presentations as well as youth theatre performances from around the globe as well as a presentation of the IDEA project. The reporter appreciates the rich programme, but also mentions the flaws in organisation that impacted the event negatively.

Michaela Lažanová: Report from the Festival/Conference Theatre of Languages – A brief report on an event focusing primarily on foreign language performances and held in Prague for the third time.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Anna Hrnečková: Nothing but Storytelling – A review of an interesting programme Waking Up the Czech Language put together by the Prague-based group “Slovosledi”. Using the technique of storytelling, they introduce great personalities of the 19th century Czech national revival such as the linguist and writer Josef Jungmann, the female writer and author of cookery books Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová and the greatest Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha. This article by one of the editors of Tvořivá dramatika is complemented by an interview with the leading personality of the project Barbora Voráčová who founded the Storytelling association in the Czech Republic. Its aim is to make Czech audiences acquainted with storytelling both in theatrical and educational setting, create a network of storytellers through workshops and storytelling performances and establish contacts with similar groups abroad.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

The first block of this section, FIELD LITERATURE, brings two reviews:

Under the title Lost in the Fairy Tale, Hana Šmahelová from the Philosophical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague reviews the book put together by a group of Brno-based authors led by Milena Šubrtová, Fairy Tale Stories in Czech Literature for Children and Youth 1990-2010 published by the Masaryk University in Brno in 2011.

Vítězslava Šrámková from the National Culture Information Centre (NIPOS) reviews the monograph by Kateřina Řezníčková called Czech Theatre for and with Children in the First Half of the 19th Century, finding it quite exceptional and valuable. In her review Beginnings of the New Czech Children’s Theatre (published in the DISK edition at the Faculty of Theatre – DAMU), the reviewer points out that the author of the monograph focuses on theatre played by children and for children during a period that had hitherto been paid very little attention. Kateřina Řezníčková examines published dramatic texts for children as well as dialogue texts and scripts published in the first Czech pedagogical journal Přítel mládeže (The Friend of Youth).

The section ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH contains the following materials:

Gabriela Sittová: The Story of a Sad Factory in Jizera Mountains – A review of The Sad Factory, an interesting book for children written by Radovan Lipus and published by the Meander publishing house in Prague.

Luděk Korbel-Eva Davidová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Gabriela Sittová-Michaela Lažanová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Michaela Korcová: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth - Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 42

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) brings the script to the performance Nerudárium. It has been rehearsed and staged by the pupils of the Primary school in Bechyně under the leadership of František Oplatek and based on three short stories by the Czech 19th century writer Jan Neruda found in his book Tales from the Lesser Town, one of mandatory books read by all Czech schoolchildren. The performance was one of the best at this year’s Children’s Stage national festival in Svitavy and was also highly acclaimed by the participants of the national workshop Drama in Education held in September in the town of Jičín. The script is followed by an article by František Oplatek called From Mandatory Reading to a Theatre Performance, in which he describes the development of the performance. The leader of the theatre group, who is also a teacher of Czech language and literature, points out that thanks to working on this performance children got much closer to this classic author than is usual at schools.

 

SUMMARY 2013/2

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Eva Machková: The Matter of Drama Education 2: Subjects and Themes for Drama Education – Essential material put together by a teacher of the Dpt. of Drama in Education discusses and classifies what drama education teaches and what participants can gain from it for their present and future lives. The previous part had dealt with skills, i. e. such areas of the subject matter that can be “mastered”. The next part will discuss areas where learners need to “know and understand” – subject matter that aims to develop attitudes, values, interests and orientation in the human world and, in many cases, also the gaining of knowledge. In choosing the appropriate topics, teachers have to bear several criteria in mind. Firstly, the aims and programmes of the institution where their drama work takes place need to be taken into account. Another area is represented by the characteristics of the target group such as the pupils’ age, interests, mental abilities and the amount of their experience with drama as well as their social, economical and ethnic background. While respecting the “pupil-oriented goals” one needs to bear in mind another set of criteria that might be called “teacher-oriented goals”. These include answers to the following questions: 1. What does the subject matter offer in terms of themes related to interpersonal relationships, conflict solving  and dealing with essential situations of human lives? 2. How suitable is the subject matter for drama work, i. e. does it contain a conflict, interesting situations and characters?  3. What does it demand of the participants, i. e. is it appropriate to their age, knowledge, experience and physical abilities? Will they be able to work it out and transform it into a dramatic shape?

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

František Zborník: Theatre Played by Children: looking for the key to making theatre where children will stay children and not imitate adult actors while maintaining theatrical element attractive for the audience – Pondering over performances shown at the 42nd Children’s Stage National Festival held in June 2013 in Svitavy. The reporter found this year’s festival very successful, presenting several performances using innovative theatrical and methodological techniques of working with children. He pays special attention to the original dramatisation of the classic Russian fairy-tale The Tsarina Frog played by the “Three Boots” group of younger children from Třebotov under the name Nu vot! Other performances he found inspiring include the staging of three realistic short-stories by the classical Czech 19th century author Jan Neruda presented by children from the Primary School in Bechyně under the name Nerudarium, as well as a mosaic of motives from the book by René Goscinny The Little Nicholas called Tátové a mámy musí tu být s námi (Dads and Moms Need to Be Here with Us) performed by the dance group Light from the Basic School of Arts in Prague 5. The last performance he considers noteworthy is the music and dramatic play Balón aneb Létat je snadné (The Hot-Air Balloon or Flying is Easy) by an age-heterogeneous group from the Basic School of Arts in Prague 3. „This year’s Children’s Stage was a good demonstration of diversity,” concludes the reporter. „It is not important whether a story is told through the action of dramatic characters, rhythm, music, dance or primarily by visual means. It is not important whether we simply take the situations of children’s play and transfer them into the chosen dramatic shape, use associative cumulating of images or exploit any other principle. The crucial thing is to make a decision and stick to the chosen key consistently. Any method is justified if we manage to transfer to the audience emotions such as joy, fear or sense of being together acquired during the collective searching.“

Vít Poláček: Opening Ourselves to What is Coming and Losing Control over the Outcomes: On a performance with children actors staged in the Belgian city of Antwerp – A student of the Film Faculty of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) reports on the performance The Ship created in collaboration of two theatre troupes, Laika and the social cultural theatre KunstZ in Antwerp. The performance was one of the highlights of the 3rd Blok-Bloc festival that aims to bring together neighbours in the multi-cultural and socially diverse quarter of Linkeroever on the left bank of the Schelde river in Belgium’s second-largest city.

 

DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Anna Hrnečková: The 19th World Congress of Drama in Education – From 22 to 27 March, the 19th world congress of drama in education took place at the Retzhof castle in the little Austrian town of Leibnitz near Graz. This event is organised by the international association of amateur theatre AITA/IATA together with the Austrian ÖBV Theater. The bombastic sounding name „world congress“ in fact refers to a pleasant, practically oriented workshop led by lecturers from several countries. This year’s topic was social media, i. e. the very up-to-date phenomenon of modern communication technologies seen through the eyes of drama education. As usual, participants were divided into three groups. The reporter especially praises the workshop led by the Canadian lecturer Kimberley M. Snider from Rosedale Heights School of the Arts in Toronto, a young student and colleague of Jonothan Neelands. In the reporter’s opinion, it was Paul Sutton and his assistant Max Allsup from the United Kingdom who approached the topic most closely. The C&T company whose projects they presented has intensively worked with modern technologies in the past few years, creating model projects that they now offer to schools worldwide. Each project has its own web site and every school that orders it automatically becomes a member of the network of participating schools. The reporter then mentions the workshop on Playback Theatre led by the Austrian lecturer Margarete Meixner. However, she believes the lecturer has failed to clearly formulate the meaning and the goals of this technique, which brings the reporter to the conclusion that it is not enough to master methods and techniques, but one needs to be aware which purpose every single of them is to serve at any given moment.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

The first block of this section, FIELD LITERATURE, brings two reviews:

Soňa Koťátková from the Pedagogical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague reviews the new book Drama Education with Younger Schoolchildren. Edited by Eva Machková, it consists of projects that the students and graduates of the Dpt. of Drama in Education of the Prague Faculty of Theatre have created and carried out in various schools of the Czech Republic.

In her article Let’s Read Together! Veronika Rodriguezová, a teacher of drama at the Pedagogical Faculty of Masaryk University in Brno, reviews the almanac Collaboration between Younger and Older Schoolchildren in Promoting Reading Skills: A Handbook of Practical Examples put together by Anna Tomková, Radek Marušák and Jaroslav Provazník and published by the Pedagogical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague.

The section ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH contains the following materials:

Anna Hrnečková-Gabriela Sittová-Jaroslav Provazník: What Czech Theatres Can Offer to Children and Youth: Notes on Performances Shown at the Festival Held on the Occasion of the 2013 International Day of Children and Youth Theatre – Brief reviews of performances seen at the 13th year of the festival organised by the ASSITEJ together with the Association of Creative Drama in March 2013 in Prague. According to the reviewers, one of the highlights was the performance Hamleteen played by the professional theatre Alfa from Pilsen; worth noting was also the scenic collage Gagarin performed by the professional Czech-Slovenian puppet group Športniki, Faust by the amateur puppeteer Tomáš Hájek and three pieces played by children’s groups: Smolíček Pacholíček from the Basic School of Arts in Liberec, Navštivte Máchův kraj (Where the Poet Mácha Lived) and Tančírna (The Dancing Room) by the Basic School of Arts in Prague 3.

Klára Fidlerová: Listování (Leafing Through) – The author of the article reports on an interesting literary and drama project carried out by a group of actors led by Lukáš Hejlík. The project consists in scenic reading based on interesting new books. There are usually two or three actors on stage who take turns entering various roles including that of the narrator. During the ten years of the project’s existence, the young actors have “leafed through” almost 80 books including 36 novels for adults, 20 books for children and youth, seven books of short stories, but also a book of travels, a correspondence book, a biography of a sportsman, a book of essays, a book on economics, beatnik poetry and a cookery book.

Klára Fidlerová: Our Specialisation is not Specialising in Anything – An interview with the actor and initiator of the Leafing Through project Lukáš Hejlík.

Kristina Procházková: Bylo nebylo (Once Upon a Time) – Information on books published by the new non-commercial publishing house Bylo nebylo which focuses on books for children and youth with original and creative illustrations and graphic layout.

Kristina Procházková: Every Theme Has its Own Time – An interview with Anna Pleštilová, director of the above-mentioned publishing house.

Magdalena Klímová: Four Seasons in Jan Vladislav’s Work for Children and Youth – In March 2013 the Czech literary scene commemorated the 90th birth anniversary of the poet, essayist, translator and author of books for children Jan Vladislav. This article brings an overview of his major works, paying special attention to his adaptations of fairy-tales from all over the world which rank among the top works of their kind in Czech literature.

Eva Machková: The Giant with No Heart – A review of the translation of the fundamental Norwegian fairy-tale collection by Peder Christian Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, translated into Czech by Jarka Vrbová and published by the Argo publishing house under the title O obrovi, který neměl srdce v těle (The Giant with no Heart).

Jaroslav Provazník-Michaela Korcová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Michaela Lažanová- Jindřiška Bumerlová-Gabriela Sittová-Eva Machková-Klára Fidlerová: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth - Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 41

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) brings the script to the performance Nu vot!, an adaptation of the classic Russian fairy-tale The Tsarina Frog. It has been dramatised by Václava Makovcová and Jana Barnová and rehearsed with their group Tři boty (Three Boots) from the Primary School in Třebotov. The performance was one of the highlights of this year’s Childen’s Stage festival in Svitavy. The script is accompanied by a methodological note titled Where to Start and Where to Go?, in which the two teachers and group leaders explain how this remarkable performance was prepared and to what extent children participated in it.

 

SUMMARY 2013/1

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Pavel Němeček: The Association of Drama Centres in the Czech Republic: Why?- In 2011, a group of four drama centres in the Czech Republic (The Centre of Creative Drama, Prague; The D Association, Olomouc; Labyrint, Brno; and Johan, Pilsen) decided to establish the Association of Drama Centres. Pavel Němeček, a representative of the association, explains the motivation, goals and tasks behind the founding of the association. He points out that the Redbridge Drama Centre in London served as an important source of inspiration for this venture.

 

DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Eva Keroušová: The First Gathering of Drama Centers of the Czech Republic, Ostrava, 15–17 November 2012 – A report from the first gathering of Czech and Moravian Drama Centres who introduced their programmes for schools in the Puppet Theatre of Ostrava. The lesson focusing on the development of literacy, led by the student of the Dpt. of Drama in Education (Faculty of Theatre, Prague), was based on the popular book The Garden written by the Czech author, artist and film-maker Jiří Trnka. A lesson of the Drama Centre in Ostrava was intended for handicapped students. The centre from Olomouc presented two programmes – one on bullying based on the motives from a short story by Brian Jacques, the other focusing on mass media education. The head of the Brno drama centre led a programme working with a documentary film. A complementary part of the gathering was a workshop led by Keith Homer, director of the Redbridge Drama Centre in London.

Eva Machková: The Matter of Drama Education – The first part of essential and valuable material put together by a teacher of the Dpt. of Drama in Education discusses and classifies what drama education teaches and what participants can gain from it for their present and future lives. The author divides the subject matter of drama education into two areas: competences and topics. In the first part of her study, Eva Machková deals with mental functions and skills, illustrating the teaching of these competences on examples taken from books by various drama teachers (Miloslav Disman, Hana Budínská, Eva Polzerová, Brian Way, Viola Spolin...). The author concludes the first part of her article by outlining the current form that the subject of drama has in the official educational framework mandatory for Czech primary schools.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Hana Cisovská: Peeking into Young Theatre Maps in Bechyně – A pedagogue from the University of Ostrava reports here on the 2012 Insights (Nahlížení) workshop of secondary school theatre held in the south-Bohemian town of Bechyně in October 2012, running its 23rd year. It was not only a festival of performances, but also an opportunity to hold numerous discussions and peeking inside the “backstage” of the performance development and the ways in which the participating groups work.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

The first block of this section, FIELD LITERATURE, brings a review called Drama Education Projects for Secondary School Students by Hana Kasíková from the Philosophical Faculty of the Charles University, Prague. The author reviews the new book by Eva Machková, Drama Education Projects for Secondary School Students composed of projects that the students and graduates of the Dpt. of Drama in Education of the Prague Faculty of Theatre have put together and carried out in various schools of the Czech Republic.

The section ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH contains the following materials:

Anna Hrnečková: Mapping Theatre for Children – The first part of the series on theatre groups playing for children and youth introduces the free association Damúza from Prague and their performances.

Kristina Procházková: 11 Worlds: The Contemporary Czech Illustration for Children – The Museum of the Capital of Prague hosts an exhibition of eleven Czech illustrators who rank among the most prominent personalities of contemporary Czech illustration for children. The reporter characterises each artist and appreciates the interactive nature of the exhibition.

Iva Lubinová-Klára Fidlerová-Luděk Korbel-Gabriela Sittová-Antonín Šimůnek-Lucie Šmejkalová-Jaroslav Toman-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Michaela Korcová: Reviews of new books and performances for children and youth - Reviews of new books and performances for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 40

Short stories from the book Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales written by the English author Brian Jacques have been dramatised by several Czech theatre group leaders during the past two decades. Irina Ulrychová, a teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Brandýs nad Labem and a pedagogue at the Dpt. of Drama in Education of the Faculty of Theatre in Prague, has dramatised several short stories by this author, two of which are published in the text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika. Jamie and the Vampires was on the programme of the 2007 National Festival of Basic Schools of Arts in Hradec Králové. The short story The Lies of Henry Mawdsley was dramatised twice by Irina Ulrychová, each time for a different group. One of these dramatisations - The Henry’s Lies - also appears in this issue of Tvořivá dramatika. The scripts are accompanied by Notes on Dramatisations, in which Irina Ulrychová not only explains the circumstances under which both performances came into being, but also explains which specific factors need to be taken into account when dramatising a text for a children’s group.

 

SUMMARY 2012/3

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Veronika Krátká: The System of Teaching Drama in England and Wales - A drama teacher from the English International School of Prague introduces the system of teaching drama in English and Welsh schools. In this text based on her M. A. thesis, she drew on her good knowledge of the situation in the United Kingdom as well as consultations with dr. Andy Kempe of the University of Reading. The article characterises the educational system of England and Wales, explains the specifics of the National Curriculum and, most importantly of all, discusses the position of drama in the curricula of various school levels from kindergarten to secondary school. One of the most important parts is the chapter on drama teacher education including the competences the trainees should acquire to qualify for teaching drama. The author points out that there are currently eight colleges and universities in England that offer one-year study courses wound up by the acquisition of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education - Secondary drama enabling the graduates to teach drama at middle and secondary schools. These are the Goldsmiths College in London, the Central School of Speech and Drama in London; the University of Chester; Middlesex University; Birmingham City University; Manchester Metropolitan University; the University of Reading and the University of Plymouth. The author also mentions that there are currently no specialised university courses for teachers who want to teach drama at primary schools. The article ends with a detailed description of the study programme for drama teachers at the University of Reading.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Anna Hrnečková: Is the South Housing Estate Brutal? Interview with the dramaturg Lukáš Jiřička on the performance South Housing Estate - a Dream City - The large Southern Housing Estate in Prague, which was built in the 1970s and 1980s, hosts the annual festival Street for Art. The main theme of the 2012 festival was „culture at the place where we live“. The audience had the opportunity to witness the premiere of the theatre project South Housing Estate - A Dream City created by a team led by the young director Petra Tejnorová in collaboration with six local children aged 10 to 16. It was a film and theatre project dealing with the life of teenagers created as a report on their present and future life in this housing estate area. Anna Hrnečková, a reporter of Tvořivá dramatika, interviewed the project dramaturg Lukáš Jiřička to find out how the project came into being and ask him about the motivation, methods and aims of the creative team who decided to work with children.

Zdeňka Kučerová: Doing Theatre with Problematic Adolescents - A graduate of the Theatre and Education Studio at the JAMU in Brno describes her experience of doing theatre with teenagers with problematic behaviour who are mostly placed in remedial educational institutions. „I first entered a remedial educational institution in 2007,“ writes the author. „My searching for theatrical work with the clients of these institutions has led me to multi-media projects. I have tried two forms of work: long-term (regular lessons run once a week in the course of seven weeks) and short-term (an intensive weekend workshop), both with the same contents and the aim of creating a photo-story and a video clip… This first experience has convinced me that working with this target group might not be a utopia. In 2009 I therefore decided to start a more extensive project. After a month spent by searching for inspiration in the school, I decided to make a film with the young people.“ The author admits that multimedia represent only one of many possibilities of leading adolescents with problematic behaviour to theatrical work. In this case, however, the medium chosen seemed to be the right one for the given context.

 

DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Anna Hrnečková: Children, Theatre and the Himalaya Mountains - A description of a unique experience that the reporter of Tvořivá dramatika had while teaching drama at the Spring Dales Public School in Mulbekh in the region of Ladakh (India), where she stayed in July 2012 as a member of a volunteer group participating in the Extreme Boundaries project. Czech volunteers design and build new schools there, helping with construction, fundraising and organisational work as well as teaching. Besides long-time volunteers, a group of teachers visits every year to spend two weeks there. This year the group included two teachers of drama. „The core of volunteer work,“ writes Anna Hrnečková, „should be unselfish help to those who need it. Many people asked us if it had not been more meaningful to send the money spent on the trip to Ladakh to the bank account of the school in Mulbekh, especially when the subject taught is as ,impractical‘ as drama. Others wondered whether our visit did not harm the unique character of the Ladakh culture by importing ,western approach‘. Such concerns are understandable, but I certainly do not consider our ,trip‘ useless. Instead of doing anonymous charity, we have invited children to shared collaboration and mutual enrichment. We have paid for both their and our experience, gaining new skills for further work… Besides presenting fragments of our culture, we have enabled them to perceive their own world from a different perspective.“

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

The first block of this section, FIELD LITERATURE, brings a review called Reading on Communication in Classroom. It written by Veronika Rodriguezová from the Primary Education Department of the Pedagogical Faculty in Brno who reviewed the monograph Communication in Classroom that summarises the outcomes of two-year research carried out by a team of scholars from the Institute of Pedagogy at the Philosophical Faculty of the Masaryk University in Brno. Communication in Classroom is a modern scientific publication of international impact leaning on constructivist theories applied to real life experiences and used to analyse the present educational practice… The book is intended for all the brave individuals who have to manoeuvre between the Scylla of debates and Charybdis of examination, those who do not want to pass on fusty truths to their pupils, but rather make knowledge alive by the vitalising potion of mutual dialogue and engaged thinking.“

The section ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH contains the following materials:

Hana Galetková: Everything Has a Meaning, says the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder. An interview with Jostein Gaarder - The important Norwegian author writing mostly for children and youth, philosopher, humanist, environmentalist and founder of the Sophie Foundation makes it clear that the world keeps surprising, attracting and entertaining him. His book Sofie’s World soon became one of the best-selling books not only in Norway, but also around the world. In the Czech Republic, it too became one of the most widely read books... The interview with this famous author was conducted during his visit to the 9th International Puppet Theatre Festival Spectaculo interesse at the Theatre of Puppets in Ostrava, which has a performance based on one of his books, The Girl with Oranges, on the programme.

Eva Machková: No Lies and Little Truth: Legends for Drama 3 - The last part of a study on legends and the possibilities they offer to theatre and classroom drama.

Marta Žilková: The Metamorphoses of the Radio Fairy-Tale - A teacher at the Institute of Literary and Art Communication, Philosophical Faculty in Nitra, Slovakia, reviews several new Slovak radio plays for children and youth.

Eva Davidová-Jindřiška Bumerlová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Klára Fidlerová-Gabriela Sittová-Michaela Korcová-Luděk Korbel-Jaroslav Provazník: Reviews of new books - Reviews of new books for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 39

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika brings three dramatisations of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Swineherd, illustrating three different ways to put the still up-to-date story on stage. The oldest of the three dramatisations was performed as early as the 1960s by the children’s puppet theatre group led by Hana Budínská, and was played by glove puppets. The dramatisation by Milada Mašatová, who was a teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Olomouc, also counts on puppets. The characters of Emperor and Prince were played by live actors, while the Princess was represented by a life-sized rag doll. Using this puppet made it possible to stress the punishing of the Princess (being abandoned by all) by leaving the puppet on stage all alone in the end. The third dramatisation was made in the late 1970s by Dana Svozilová, another important personality of Czech drama in education and theatre with children. Her performance called Andersen’s Fairy Tales, which she put together with the children’s theatre group PIRKO from Brno, ranked among the most successful performances at the 1981 National Festival of Children Theatre - Theatre Summer Festival in Kaplice.

 

SUMMARY 2012/2

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Hana Kasíková: Becoming a Teacher. How Can Educational Drama Help? - The author discusses here ways of using drama in the training of teachers, including those who are not to become specialists in drama but subjects such as physics, chemistry, foreign languages, etc. She focuses on drama as a tool that can help teacher trainees understand the core of the teaching profession and professionalism and form their own identities as teachers. The core of the article lies in the presentation of a drama structure that can be used in the professional development of teachers. The theme of the drama is a situation where a teacher in a school has won the all-nation Golden Amos competition in which pupils and students vote for the most favourite teacher (this real competition is named after Comenius, whose first and middle names were Jan Amos). In her article, Hana Kasíková builds both on her professional experience as a teacher trainer at university and leader of in-service teacher training events off university ground, but also on her own work as a teacher of educational drama. In the combination of these two areas, the academic world fruitfully meets the world of art, imagination and group creativity.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Children’s Stage 2012 - The programme of the Children’s Stage (Dětská scéna) national festival held in Svitavy in the middle of June 2012.

Eva Keroušová: Fabrika and the Parish Barn or the Dancing Room of Albert Kyška - A reflection on performances shown at the Children’s Stage national festival and the impulses that they brought for the development of educational drama. The title of the article suggests the importance of the two spaces that the town of Svitavy offered to the festival (which is the most prominent annual event of its kind in the Czech Republic). Fabrika is a new multi-functional centre where most performances of children’s groups from all over the country took place, while the parish barn hosted the daily discussions related to the performances, which are no less important part of the festival than the performances themselves.

Radka Fidlerová: Rives Collins: Therapy for Tired Drama Teachers - The programme of the 2012 Children’s Stage national festival in Svitavy also included a workshop led by the American professor of drama and storytelling Rives Collins of the Northwestern University in Evanston, which was called The Drama/Theatre Continuum: Process and Product in Theatre for Young Audiences. The reporter, who participated in the workshop, describes its contents day by day, comparing the lecturer’s style of work with the one that drama teachers in the Czech Republic are used to. She appreciates his ability to improvise as well as the fact that he made participants acquainted with the whole range of methods and techniques of drama work including such that can be utilised in making theatre with children.

 

DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Zuzana Zapletalová-Alžběta Kratochvílová: Stewarding Stories - A report on a week-long workshop given by the British lecturer of drama Andy Kempe of the University of Reading, an event organised by the Association of Creative Drama (Sdružení pro tvořivou dramatiku) and the Department of Drama in Education of the Theatre Faculty (DAMU) in January 2012 in Prague. The reporters recognise Andy Kempe as a first-class professional in the field of drama. They have found the way in which he led the workshop remarkably dynamic and inspirational, but at the same time systematic and well-designed. Among the workshop participants there were university teachers and students of drama from all over the Czech Republic, including leaders of national courses of drama. During the week, they participated in lessons inspired by real-life stories, newspaper articles, reports or interviews, urban legends, fairy-tales as well as fiction, such as David Almond’s novel Skellig.

František Oplatek: Developing Reading Literacy in Primary School Pupils by Using Drama Methods - This article is a part of a master’s thesis presented at the Dpt. of Drama in Education of the Theatre Faculty in Prague which examines the potential of drama methods and techniques for the development of reading literacy, especially within Czech literature lessons in primary schools. In the introduction, the author presents the components of reading literacy and factors influencing it. The core of the work lies in an overview of specific drama methods and techniques that can promote the reading literacy of primary school pupils, for example in finding links between the text and oneself (activating the pupils’ previous knowledge and experience), the skills of asking questions, creating mental imagery, developing judgement and anticipation skills as well as summarizing and systemizing what has been read. The author, who is a teacher of drama, literature and other subjects at a primary school in the south-Bohemian town of Bechyně, concludes by saying: „Although I had to face various difficulties in presenting lessons conceived with the above-mentioned focus, I believe I have proven the benefits and meaningfulness of using certain drama methods in promoting the pupil’s reading skills. However, there is a precondition of preparing the class for this form of learning and the specifics it brings… Thanks to the long-term work I have done in this field I can not only observe a clear positive effect in the quality of reading in some pupils, but also increased motivation of my classes to read… I have benefitted from the interaction of reading and drama both personally and professionally, which makes me believe this form of education creates another channel for drama to make its way both into the curriculum framework and the minds of pupils, teachers and parents.“

František Oplatek: The Present - One of lessons implemented by the author in teaching literature to six-graders. It is called The Present and based on an excerpt from John Steinbeck’s book The Red Pony.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

The first block of this section, FIELD LITERATURE, brings a double-review by Martina Turková and Kateřina Řezníčková discussing three monographs on Jesuit theatre: Kateřina Bobková-Valentová: The Everyday Life of Teacher and Student at the Jesuit Grammar School, Magdaléna Jacková: Theatre as the School of Virtue and Piety: Jesuit school drama in Prague in the first half of the 18th century and Petr Polehla: Jesuit Theatre in the Service of Piety and Scholarship. Among the other reviewed books are several volumes of methodological and learning text for future teachers of aesthetic education put together by the Institute of Literary and Art Communication at the University of Nitra (Slovakia). In her article Aesthetics the Nitra Way, Gabriela Magalová not only reviews the aforementioned publications, but also makes readers acquainted with the concept of the inter-disciplinary subject of aesthetic education that was established at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovakia.

The section ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH contains the following materials:

Anna Hrnečková: Take Your Parents to the Theatre! Reflections from the festival accompanying the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People from 18 to 22 April 2012 - The festival accompanying the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People is organised annually by the Czech centre of the international children and youth theatre organisation ASSITEJ in collaboration with the Association of Creative Drama (Sdružení pro tvořivou dramatiku). The reporter pays attention mainly to the issues of communication between performances intended for children and the audiences (both young and adult). Among the most remarkable plays she mentions Neklan.cz by the Naive Theatre from Liberec, working out an old Czech legend in an original manner, Back to Bullerbyn played by the Czech-Slovenian puppet theatre group Športniki from Maribor and a family fairy-tale performance The Fiery Bird and the Red Fox & Us my played by the puppet theatre group C from Svitavy and a piece of devised theatre on holocaust The Angel Has Not Come? performed by the secondary school student group Roztočená Vrtule from Slaný.

Eva Machková: No Lies and Little Truth: Legends for Drama 3 - The last part of a study on legends and the possibilities they offer to theatre and classroom drama.

Marta Žilková: The Metamorphoses of the Radio Fairy-Tale - A teacher at the Institute of Literary and Art Communication, Philosophical Faculty in Nitra, Slovakia, reviews several Slovak radio plays for children and youth.

Eva Davidová-Luděk Korbel-Klára Fidlerová-Lucie Šmejkalová-Jindřiška Bumerlová: Reviews of new books - Reviews of new books for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 38

In the 1930s, the Czech writer Karel Čapek published a book of modern fairy-tales called The Nine Fairy-Tales, which has become one of the classics of Czech literature for children. One of these - The Postman’s Fairy-Tale - inspired the theatre group leader Irena Konývková from the Basic School of Arts in Ostrov to dramatise and stage it with a group of children aged around 10. The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika brings the script accompanied by a few methodological notes that throw light on the way from the literary text to the final shape of the performance as well as the way of working with children. The performance was presented at this year’s Children’s Stage festival. However, it was not the first time that a children’s theatre group attempted at a dramatisation of this text. In 1989, The Postman’s Fairy-Tale was dramatised and staged with a children’s theatre group by Eva Kaderková-Venclíková, who then was a teacher at the Basic School of Arts in Žatec. It also ranked among the most valued performances at the time and was chosen for the Kaplice Theatre Summer national festival (the predecessor of today’s Children’s Stage) and the national festival of basic schools of art held in Most.

 

SUMMARY 2012/1

REFLECTIONS-CONCEPTS-CONTEXTS

Jaroslav Provazník: Does art belong to schools? And does drama education? - „It has been twenty years since drama entered Czech primary and secondary schools,“ introduces the author his article. „Although it has gradually ceased to be seen as an oddity, it still has to overcome barriers of stereotypes and prejudice.“ Only few schools have introduced drama as a subject - the most common form is drama as a method used in the teaching of other subjects. The author points out that the Czech primary school curriculum includes visual arts and music, whereas drama or dance are only optional subjects, which means schools can, but do not have to make them part of their curricula. Yet school education should provide a holistic picture of the field of arts. „Why is it important for all children to get in contact with drama, not only for those who do it as a leisure-time activity? Each of us is confronted with dramatic art or its various elements from childhood on, be it in film, television, video or computers. And yet children get minimum opportunities to find their way through this jungle of dramatic and stage features, to learn to perceive and understand it. One of the desired skills is the ability to identify bad taste and manipulation, which intentionally tries to blur the clear borderline between reality and fiction.“ The author concludes by proposing several issues to be discussed: He believes the time has come to include drama as a regular subject in the primary school curriculum. This would necessitate the founding of new specialised departments of drama at pedagogical faculties that would complement the two existing drama departments at the faculties of theatre in Prague and Brno, which have been successfully working for the past two decades. The last thing the author calls for is encouraging ministries to establish professional drama centers similar to those existing in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and other countries.

 

DRAMA-ART-THEATRE

Zuzana Jirsová: Insights 2011 (Nahlížení 2011) - A report on the 22nd workshop of youth theatre held in October 2011. The author appreciates that the dramaturgy of the festival included a rich programme that enabled the audience to get acquainted with the up-to-date forms of theatre played by youngsters. A special feature of the event is the fact that even unfinished performances can be presented there, which enables participants to discuss possible ways in which they could be developed and completed. Among the most inspiring the author mentions the Spiegel Cabaret by the group Divadlo Vydýcháno from the Basic School of Arts in Liberec, which was based on dada texts, or the performance The Angel Has not Come?! played by the Roztočená Vrtule group, which dealt with the subject of holocaust and was targeted mainly at teenagers. (The script is published in the text supplement of this issue of Tvořivá dramatika.)

 

DRAMA-EDUCATION-SCHOOL

Dominika Špalková: The Power in us…? A Look Back at Drama in Education 2011 - The subject of the world congress organised by AITA/IATA in the Austrian town of Retzhof in April 2011 was Power and Powerlessness. The author of the article who works at the DRAK puppet theatre in Hradec Králové, where she organises and leads workshops for classes of schoolchildren, gives an overview of this traditional European event. Each day, participants worked under the leadership of another lecturer. These included Judith Acroyd from the United Kingdom, György Vidovszky from Hungary, Alexander Fedorov from Russia and Brendon Burns from the United Kingdom. „Although the techniques presented at the workshops were not unknown in the context of Czech drama in education, the topic of the conference proved to be very meaningful. One of the things discussed at the conference was the fact that the worst situation is one in which one person or group abuse their power over another one to such an extent that people start taking it for normal and adjust to it. The article is followed by a description of the workshop led by György Vidovszky, which was inspired by Lars von Trier's film Dogville.

Marie Pavlovská-Lenka Remsová-Dušan Klapko: The First Steps to Research in Interactive Theatre with John Somers - John Somers, professor emeritus at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, playwright and founder of the Research in Drama Education journal, led a week-long workshop on interactive theatre at the Pedagogical faculty in Brno in 2008. This became an impulse for the teachers and students from the faculty to initiate a project of researching possibilities of interactive theatre as a method of dealing with negative social phenomena and developing personal and social competences of primary school pupils. The article describes the respective stages of the project, illustrating them by a script of an interactive theatre performance about a girl who gets into a critical situation and decides to solve it by suicide.

Markéta Popelová Nečasová: Drama Education as a Way to Children's Literacy – A description of a project in which the author explored ways of using drama methods in developing children's literacy. First she deals with elementary exercises, proceeding to structuring drama work, as this type of drama offers tools to examine the theme, problem situations, characters, time, environment and language in a literary text. Special attention is of course paid to theatrical work, especially one that has the nature of devising theatre, and poetry reading. „Certain works may be unaccessible for children as literary texts,“ concludes the author, „but if they can share the themes that a book raises in group work, examining them through action, they can get into its heart and understand it.“ At the end of her article the author presents two drama lessons based on literary texts: A Space Where Imagination Thrives (a lesson for 4th grade pupils based on Astrid Lindgren's book Ronia, the Robber's Daughter) and Language Tools (a lesson for 4th grade pupils based on Edward Lear's rhymes).

Klára Fidlerová: Poetry for Teenagers… Another sample lesson based on literary texts, this time aimed at teenagers. It was designed to take children under the surface of reflexive lyric poetry.

 

REFLECTIONS-REVIEWS-INFORMATION

The first block of this section, FIELD LITERATURE, brings a review by Eva Machková called The Story of Creative Drama in Kindergarten. She appreciates that the reviewed book Drama Education Methods in Kindergarten (Praha: Portál, 2011) written by Eva Svobodová and Hana Švejdová is well-researched and broadly conceived. Its authors „have dealt with all essential elements of drama for pre-schoolers, enriching it by their own experience. They have not only combined theory and practice, but found meaningful links between them. The style of the book is accessible and easy to understand both for experienced teachers and teacher trainees and as such is likely to awaken their interest.“

Eva Svobodová-Hana Švejdová: Terrorists in Kindergarten - A sample chapter from the book reviewed above.

 

ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Jaroslav Provazník: The Contemporary Poetry for Children - a New Golden Age? - This overview of Czech poetry for children written in the last decade, which the author sees as fruitful as far as poetry for children is concerned, consists of the following chapters: Continuity, force of habit and… vacuity (on authors building on the previous period, e.g. Josef Brukner, Věra Provazníková, Karel Šiktanc, etc.), The return of lyric poetry (especially in the work of Radek Malý), The tired and the revitalised nonsense poetry (Pavel Šrut, Jiří Žáček, Petr Nikl…), Ways to the roots of nonsense poetry and adventurous journeys behind its horizons (Ivan Wernisch and Daniela Fischerová) and The degenerated nonsense, where the author of the article deals with trashy forms of nonsense poetry.

Eva Machková: No Lies and Little Truth: Legends for Drama - The second part of a study on legends and the possibilities they offer to theatre and classroom drama.

Daniela von Vorst: KinderKinder. The 25th International Festival of Theatre and Music for Children in Hamburg - A report from the festival that annually provides children in Hamburg with the opportunity to see about sixty theatrical and music performances from all over the world. What makes the KinderKinder festival so attractive is its inspiring and colourful dramaturgy and high-quality performances. The author describes in more detail the Physical Music performance by the American group Lelavision, the Belgian performance Bramborry by the De Spiegel group, and especially the Jeg ved - hvor din hus den bor! (I Know Where your House Lives!) by the Danish group Åben Dans.

Luděk Korbel-Eva Davidová-Antonín Šimůnek-Lucie Kudělová-Andrea Pavlíčková: Reviews of new books - Reviews of new books for children that might inspire drama teachers and leaders of children’s theatre groups.

 

CHILDREN’S STAGE 37

The text supplement of Tvořivá dramatika (Creative Drama) brings the script to the performance which dealt with the subject of holocaust The Angel Has not Come? by Kateřina Oplatková Rezková she created together with her secondary-school theatre group Roztočená Vrtule from the town of Slaný. The performance was shown with great success at the National Festival of Young Theatre as well as the Insights workshop of youth theatre and drama in Bechyně in October 2011. The script is accompanied by detailed methodological commentary describing the genesis of the performance.