Thank you to company member Jennie Rawling for allowing us to share her blog post here. You can read more of Jennie's blogs at: www.scribblesandshakespeare.wordpress.com
New company EN-gage Theatre Arts recently ran a one-day training workshop at The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre in Manchester for its band of drama facilitators, including yours truly!
The company, run by performer and facilitator Hebe Reilly, delivers drama projects in English for non-native English-speaking students. These projects are tailor-made to the school or students’ requirements, and give the young people taking part a fun and educational experience where they can practise and develop their spoken English with a native speaker, make new friends, and gain creative and life skills through drama.
I first met Hebe working on an English summer camp in Russia, and we were instantly united in our passion for sharing the joys of theatre with young people and our love of travel.
The goal of the training session was to share activities and facilitation tips, but also to establish a common language and mission statement for EN-gage Theatre Arts. The company already has two drama projects in Russia under its belt, and it brings together a group of theatre professionals with a wealth of experience in teaching drama, both in the UK and abroad, but Hebe felt it was important to try to establish a set of common principles that all EN-gage practitioners share. While retaining the individual skill sets of each company member, what is it about the EN-gage experience that all clients will get when they book a project with us?
As soon as we’d done the warm-up and kicked off the session with some drama games I was filled with joy at getting to just play. I’d almost forgotten what this felt like!
Throughout the day we took part in group activities that involved devising and planning theatre projects in English for different age groups. This was interspersed with leading the group in various games and activities we had each prepared for the session, sharing ideas and experiences.
Training sessions like this are so important, not just for sharing knowledge (and of course having fun!), but for building a strong company where all members feel part of a whole and support one another. Acting is obviously a very social activity in itself, but leading drama workshops can be a more solitary activity, in that you’re not surrounded by your peers every day if you’re a freelancer, so it’s great to feel part of a collective.
I left the training very much having a sense of us being a team, and hope that having this support network of fellow facilitators will greatly enhance the projects I do through EN-gage Theatre Arts and my professional development as a whole.