Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah strongly identifies as Theatre in Education, with enquiry, exploration, engagement, participation and purposeful artistry at its core. This goes beyond simply making learning fun or providing theatre in schools as an ‘enrichment’ activity, instead the Company’s work seeks to involve children and young people in a creative experience that connects to the school curriculum and resonates in some way with their lived experiences, supporting them to develop deeper understandings about themselves and the world.
As such, the Blahs is one of a small number of organisations both nationally and internationally to define Theatre in Education practice in this way. However, current educational policy is increasingly orientating towards instrumentalism, with educational attainment framed as a series of fixed learning outcomes, and schools being measured by their ability to meet these. Despite some schools continuing to offer rich opportunities to learn through the arts, the overall level of arts activity in schools, provided either by specialist teachers or cultural organisations, has significantly fallen. (1)
In spite of the current challenge of working in and with schools, the Blahs remain committed to engaging teachers and students in school settings. The Company believes that in our current global and technological world, Theatre in Education remains a vital, humanising art form, that enables young people to distil, reflect and question; to see connections between past and present, between self and others and to imagine themselves and the world differently. This act of shared imagination develops empathy and fosters critical engagement – essential skills for a modern, diverse society in which new media streams information 24 hours a day.
Theatre in Education is both a means by which to support teaching and learning linking to the curriculum and stimulating classroom activity, but it is equally a way of learning in its own right, preparing children and young people for the world beyond statutory testing. (2)
(1) 2015 Report by The Warwick Commission http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/research/warwickcommission/futureculture/finalreport
(2) For links to research on the impact of the arts in education: http://www.culturallearningalliance.org.uk/evidence