Stages Theatre Group is taking steps to launch a sustained Arts Education project that will run parallel to and be integrated with its other work in theatre.
The binding concept of the Stages Theatre Group Arts Education project is that we actively involve students and teachers in the creative and critical thinking process in the arts, using the skills and insights that we can draw on from our experiences as dramatists.
The Stages Arts Education project comprises of:
Stages Theatre Group has always enjoyed working with school children in various productions – most of them devised original works.
However, we have now made a commitment to conduct ONE DEVISED THEATRE PRODUCTION with a selected school every year. The production will be preceded by a series of drama workshops.
In 2014 we worked with Ananda College for over eight months and created the critically acclaimed theatre production GREASE YAKA.
2. Student workshops conducted by international theatre artists collaborating with Stages Theatre Group
Stages Theatre Group has created links with several theatre artistes from India and the USA, who will be visiting Sri Lanka for work and collaboration with the artistes of Stages Theatre Group the upcoming months.
Integrated into these artistes’ programmes will be a strong education component, where the artiste will be expected to share his/her skills with school children through a number of workshops.
3. Conducting workshops for students of drama – in and outside of Colombo, by Stages Theatre Group
Stages has a number of workshops that it can provide school children with, for either sustained, long periods of time or as one-off workshops.
These workshops offer training in all practical skills in theatre and also can be designed to help students offering Drama and Theatre as a subject at the A/L exams.
The workshops are available in English/Sinhala and Tamil.
4. Conducting workshops for children with disabilities by Stages Theatre Group
Stages also undertakes workshops for children with disabilities.
We are currently in conversation with the Ratmalana Deaf and Blind School about a series of workshops for its children.
Stages Theatre Group artists will also be investing in training in Sign Language in preparation for our work with children with disabilities.
5. Story-telling for young children
This programme is aimed at children below the age of ten. The idea is to introduce children to ideas and themes in life through simples and deep stories – using live performance.
This is a simple, easily transportable programme that we hope to take around the country. The stories will be performed by actors in all three languages.
We are currently developing this concept.
6. Creating a resource pack and workshop programme around each theatre production
This is a new commitment made by Stages Theatre Group aimed at documenting our creative process so that others can learn from it – and we can teach it to students.
In practice, this means that we will create ‘teaching packs’ on all of our theatre productions for use in schools and universities and we will conduct workshops around these teaching packs in schools before our new shows open to the public. We will also have a special drive to bring students into the theatres to watch our shows and involve them actively in our creative work.
The purpose of this is to create enthusiasm and insight within the next generation for the performing arts.
Through the Resource Pack and Workshop Programme:
1. Students and teachers will be actively involved in the creative process of making a play. They will be given ‘privileged’ access to and insight into the process and end product of a play.
2. Students and teachers will be educated on the themes and social issues addressed through the plays we create.
3. Students and teachers will be educated on the creative process of creating a play – how an idea becomes a piece of art.
4. Students and teaches will be provided with subsidised (or free) access to all our plays.
5. Students and teaches will be provided access to artistes within the theatre.