Autumn 2021 Letter to Schools

Dear Head of Drama,

Two years since the last mail-out. I hope you have all weathered what must have been the hardest period in living memory for theatre and a very testing time for all examinations with performance components.

Things are changing for me too. For twenty-one years Dramaworks has been supplying resources, friendly advice and, for a large number of those years, workshops and inset training for teachers. Now I am in my seventies and in three years’ time, Digital Theatre will own the Dramaworks resources. So they will still be available digitally, but only digitally and only through DT+. No more hard copies.

This is to say that until June 2024 is your last opportunity to make sure you have hard copies stowed in your drama library. These can only be bought directly from me. As well as the 45 resources already available, I have added a Styletasters 4, on Jean-Louis Barrault and Steven Berkoff. Barrault was a huge influence on Berkoff and those practitioners that are the subject of Styletasters 3 [Laban and Lecoq] were former teachers of his, so you can see I have been on a lengthy Berkoff-related mission, at last completed. I have also completed Exploring Theatre: Stanislavski, which is very comprehensive, repeats no former exercises, and is addressed more to the students themselves.

I am aware that a number of schools cannot afford Digital Theatre, so the next three years are also the last opportunity for you to buy either hard copies [highly recommended and no more expensive] or digital copies from the Dramaworks website. This includes the Plays for Student Performance, which DT are not taking on. These are numerous and include many plays especially written for examinations and many for large casts. Have a look at the teaching resources for sample pages.

Let me remind you that they are all grounded throughout in practical work. They are very full and thoroughly tried and tested. Theories are always clearly explained and then explored through practical work. My mantra is always ‘through practice’, whether exploring practitioners or play texts. For the latter I work through a whole play, line by line, from the design, directing and acting points of view, always showing more than one approach to encourage students to explore for themselves and to understand that there is never just one way of bringing a play to life.