Digital Drama Workshops
an international project on producing skills and resources for online theatre
Erasmus+ Key Action 2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. March 2021 – February 2023
Since the global COVID-19 pandemic, many youth theatres have closed due to social restrictions. Youth theatre is considered a highly interactive activity, needing an in-person presence and live involvement. It involves physical, emotional and embodied practice to be most effective. And thus it, and other theatre activities, were among the first sectors to close across the world. Since stopping their practice, young theatre makers have not had the chance to develop their skills collaboratively, and cultural youth workers in this sector have been out of work for months as employment is precarious and depends on having access to a group to happen.
The Digital Drama Workshop project aims to offer theatre makers skills and materials to conduct
their work online during times when they cannot meet (and so avoid closure, loss of earnings, and
loss of creative interaction for young people).
This programme is funded by Erasmus+ as a multi-year KA2 project under cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.
Digital Drama Workshops will create and distribute 30 two-hour drama sessions (workshops) that can be carried out online. A further 10 two-hour sessions will be created for in-person socially distanced work. The project will create and upload 10 videos about collaborating online, and contextualising youth theatre in the youth work realm.
Each workshop plan will be for a two-hour workshop. The 30 workshops can be arranged in 5 units to comprise a 6-workshop programme for established groups of young people in a youth theatre. They can also be arranged to provide a 30-week programme, building upon each other and developing a range of skills over time.
Together they will develop practices that will be tested by our participating theatre partners (see below) before being freely shared online, and available to download in a free Resource Book called Digital Drama Workshops.
The creation of the project’s resources is expected to directly involve up to 70 participants from 4 different partner theaters.
Even if COVID disappears, the resources produced by the Digital Drama Workshop as aforementioned, will still be useful for youth theatres to involve:
CORE PROJECT PRINCIPLES
The Digital Drama Workshop project is underpinned by four key principles:
1) Collaboration and creativity:
All involved in this project believe that all people have the right to be creative and to practice their creativity together. The project highlights the role collaboration serves in human growth and development. The online activities therefore will enhance this feature and not become a space in which individuals merely do ‚individual‘ things passively while being together. The workshop plans and resource material focuses on participants being engaged collaboratively, working actively to create meaning together using an online platform to do so.
2) Being social – moving towards community:
All involved in this project acknowledge that social isolation is a major problem across Europe, and that many young people cannot take part in group creative activity due to distance, travel restrictions, mobility issues, health, detention, and a host of other reasons. Therefore, the workshop plans encourage participants to work in groups or in pairs, and to focus their attention onto the social more so than onto the personal. In addition, the project appeals to young people from anywhere with wifi to take part in a group activity without having to travel.
3) Open access:
The Digital Drama Workshop’s resources are free. Available to all. Culture, and access to it, is a human right. The materials in this project make access to theatre-making easier. And therefore they are free and readily available.
4) Participation and not consumption:
The project spotlights ‚learning by doing‘ or embodied learning in its materials. The risk with online drama is that it becomes passive (participants watch videos, listen to speeches, and read material). This project focuses on active participation, moving, writing, sharing, engaging, and collaborating in so far as it possible to do in a digital arena. The goal is to help young people create meaning rather than consume opinion.