Some Reminders!

Calling all Drama teachers! You only have two more months to buy resources from Dramaworks, closing on June 13th 2024.

From now until June 13th 2024, all resources will be only £40.00 (excluding plays which remain at the same price). Enjoy!

All the plays will be continuing and available on a new site called Plays for Student Performance, which will open as soon as the Dramaworks website is gone. More plays from teachers please!

Send them digitally to [email protected] (I’m retaining my email address) or by post to Jeni Whittaker, 2 College Wood, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 8NB.

Styletasters 1 [Stanislavski, Artaud, Grotowski], Brecht Through Practice and Devising Skills for £10 each!

Just before I opened the digital branch of Dramaworks, I ordered several hundred more hard-back file copies of Styletasters 1 [Stanislavski, Artaud, Grotowski], Brecht Through Practice and Devising Skills, because I was running low on these three. Though some were bought, most teachers flew happily to the Digital Store with the result that I have loads of these left over. It would break my heart to take them to the tip, which I must do if there are any left on June 13th. I can assuage this a little by offering them at £10.00 each [to cover postage] just to ease my heart. They’d make great permanent resources for your drama cupboard and would make me happy, not to mention avoid such a terrible waste.

DramaWorks will be closing on 13th June 2024

DramaWorks is coming close to the end of its time. On June 13th 2024 Digital Theatre will have bought the rights to the digital content of DramaWorks and this website will cease to exist.

Thereafter there will be no more hard copies either. Digital copies only will be available from DT+. If you haven’t been able to afford to join DT the next few months are the LAST CHANCE to buy my resources. Look at the volume of the content and make sure you are not left without.

I started DramaWorks up at a difficult time in my life, with no husband and young children, but a need to make a living. As a Head of Drama in a busy college with five productions every year [with rehearsals at weekends and in the evenings] not to mention A levels and GCSEs, it was no longer feasible to continue in the job I loved.

Luckily I had been for a number of years both an Examiner and a Chief Examiner, worked on various committees and Government quangos to do with the setting up of new types of exams and their content, so was quite high profile as a drama person with many teachers knowing at least of me and often, because of the need for a Chief Examiner to examine other Examiners wherever they worked in the UK, they could put a face to my name too.

So writing resources for teachers to use with their students appeared the way forward and I was astonished at how successful it was right from the start. There clearly was a need and for the first few years I found it hard to write enough to keep up with demand. Now, twenty-three years on, there are more than fifty resources, all written by myself, all with the focus on ‘through practice’: that is theories or whole texts tried and tested through helpful and creative exercises, plus background and context clearly explained. Anyone who has used any of these will already know how easy they are to use.

Please note that I do have some hard copies still so watch the website for offers. I still have considerable numbers of some hard copies and am considering offering them at a very reduced price so that I am not left with huge numbers that would have to be destroyed after that June 2024 date.

About five years after DramaWorks began I put out a request for plays. The result was the highly successful Plays for Student Performance, often written by other teachers who know what the demands for A level and GCSE examinations are. Many of the plays were specifically written for exam demands but there are also a number for the School Play and for young performers to cut their teeth on. Unlike the other resources which are aimed exclusively at secondary schools and colleges, a number of the plays are written for younger students from 7-8 years old upwards, though most are for secondary level.

Digital Theatre is not interested in the plays so I am putting up a website, when DramaWorks closes down, devoted exclusively to these. They include seven written by myself.

I am therefore inviting submissions to teachers to send me plays suitable for any age group. They can be short or full- length, though the plays that are most popular are still the ones suitable for examination purposes. These need to have good roles for smaller numbers – every character has to be examinable. Look at the sample sheets for the plays already there to see the sort of cast sizes and length of script. Sales won’t make you rich but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that someone somewhere is performing something you wrote. You will receive a quarter of the play sale, which will be paid at the end of every academic year. It would be good to have some new up- to-the-minute scripts.

Nearer the time I will tell you the name of the new site for the plays. Meanwhile don’t hesitate to dust off any plays you have written and e-mail them to me with your name and contact details clearly displayed above the body of the text. Send texts as attachments in Word or PDF Format please.

Obviously this is not the last you will have heard of DramaWorks. But I do not want to close this foreword to the future without thanking so very much the many loyal teachers who have continued to buy from me and support what I do. So many happy memories of visits to schools, inset days with teachers and workshops for both teachers and students.

THANK YOU and best wishes to you all, Jeni

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.

A Real Midsummer Night’s Dream

So last Thursday I went to the live screening of A Midsummer Night’s Dream knowing it was going to be good because of the rave reviews but not realising just how good. Wish I’d been able to see it live and immersive. I liked the way Nicholas Hytner referenced Peter Brook in the interview and how he used that production – which he had loved so much that it had frightened him away from directing that particular text – as a building block upon which to create something else. It was a Brook-like Dream for a modern age. How do I know – well, like Hytner, I was at that production in Stratford in 1970/1 (can’t remember which year now, but it was towards the end of my time as a student at Exeter university). It was the most wonderful piece of theatre I had seen to that date and, like Hytner, I’ve never forgotten it.

Brook asked the question, what are we when we are asleep? His Theseus and Hippolyta wore loose robes which as they closed their eyes for sleep slipped gracefully off them and puddled at their feet. Underneath they wore the costumes of their fairy counterparts. The idea of having the court doubling as fairies was one of the things adopted by Hytner, and the idea of what are we when we are asleep is given enormous comic impetus. Using beds as scenery was masterly in this modern take, especially as a way of disappearing as Puck does by jumping through a mattress. The scenic device kept the idea of sleeping and dreaming to the fore as well as emphasising the sexuality inherent throughout.

Hytner credits the aerial acrobatics of Brook’s original but took it to another level with sexy athletic fairies and a masterly Puck, who like the lizard or chameleon he was based upon (slow blinking eyes, flickering tongue, contortions of the feet and toes) hung and twirled on his trapeze playing with his fingers and toes in an uncannily prehensile way.

The end of Brook’s first act had a red nosed Bottom lifted triumphantly on high by the fairies, one of whom stuck his arm ending with a closed fist through Bottom’s legs like a vast erect phallus. At the time it was the funniest and most shocking thing I’d ever seen on the stage (and this was the old main stage at Stratford before modernisation). Never before had I experienced so many in an audience who stayed in their seats throughout the interval enjoying banter with the fairies who were sweeping the stage clear of confetti and nuptial flowers. Never before had I experienced such a joyous ending either, where the whole cast came down into the audience and congaed around the auditorium with the audience climbing over the seats and joining on. How Brook would have enjoyed Hytner’s joyously immersive ending. Maybe he saw it, who knows? Thanks to Hytner for his tribute to Brook which has given us a Dream to stay in the memory of all those who saw it…

Vibrant and Deadly: Two Contrasting Shows

Emma Rice’s Wise Children and Coward’s A Song at Twilight

Last week I travelled up to Bristol Old Vic to see Emma Rice’s latest show Wise Children, from Angela Carter’s book of the same title. Rice’s new company is also going to bear this name, and this is the opening show.

Arriving early, I had time to enjoy the changes to the Old Vic itself – wonderful. It has expanded enormously, but without losing the charm of the old theatre with its Georgian boxes and intimate feel. You sit in the bar or have a meal as if sitting in an old street of Bristol looking up at the outside walls of the theatre. ‘Streets’ appear to lead here and there – but it is all undercover, glassed in so cleverly that you really feel you are outside. In this way, the architects have cleverly preserved the outside walls of Britain’s oldest theatre building.

Once inside, I found my seat in the stalls – not quite as far to the front as I normally like, especially with productions done by Kneehigh or by Rice – well, actually always! My friends laugh at my need to be as near to being on the performing space as I can possibly be! And some don’t like it, feeling they want to keep at one remove. But me, I want to be immersed. And that is what this production does. Not Kneehigh, but in many ways it could have been. The stamp Emma Rice made on Kneehigh and that Kneehigh made on Emma Rice is clear. 

There is music: Stu Barker and Ian Ross, both longtime musical directors for Kneehigh. Have they moved over to this new company, or is there always going to be crossover between Kneehigh and Wise Children? It’ll be interesting to see. The people who work with Kneehigh have always retained a loyalty for it, so I suspect there will always be a working relationship between the two companies.

There are names that have worked with Rice either at Kneehigh or at the Globe, notably Etta Murfitt, both an actor and a choreographer for many shows, plus almost all the actors. Rice is a director who pulls people in to want to work with her. All these actors are multi-skilled: dancers, singers, often with circus or acrobatic skills. Many play instruments. Many are skilled at working with puppetry. All of them have an energy and joyousness that carries an audience with them. This is enhanced, as always, by a constant acknowledgement of the presence of the spectators, a kind of humorous collusion, so that we, the audience, feel a part of the show. And that is a very special quality.

All of these things are features of Kneehigh too, but why not? There must surely be room for more than one theatre group offering a similar style of show.

Both companies, on this showing, use theatre to expose a fairytale world with all its tangled and complex messages. This is the kind of world that Artaud talks about when he writes of accessing the audience’s ‘double.’ He cites the shared mythology and archetypes that haunt humanity everywhere, which people their dreams and trouble their subconscious. This shared understanding of the world beneath the logical world of everyday life, can be awoken, in Artaudian terms, through shock tactics, through bypassing the barriers set up by our own intellect. But it can also be accessed by the craziness of the world of mythology and fairytales itself. The sheer exuberance of this production [and of many Kneehigh productions too] breaks through our stuffy attitudes and our many barriers of logic and resistance, so that we are swept into the same magical world of the show, where there are different rules, where dark and frightening things happen, but where, also, there is a kind of rightness offered, a conclusion that is satisfying.

Emma Rice has tackled Angela Carter before. I saw her Nights at the Circus in Plymouth many years ago. Carter, who sadly died too young, often wrote about the magic that lies behind reality and all her work is coloured by her love of fairytales. The same passion has formed much of the work done by Rice too. She too loves to expose the darkness seaming through these tales and the human truths that are exposed by them.

As always with a production of this kind, I left the theatre feeling high on the confection that it offers us. I would happily see it again, knowing that it will be subtly different each time, as any show that uses the audience to bounce off will be. I wondered what my following night’s theatre adventure would prove to be like.

Having travelled up from the far West of Cornwall to Bristol, I didn’t want to waste the opportunity to see something else in the vicinity. Nothing on offer at the Tobacco Factory leapt out at me this time, so I went to the only other show on at a reasonable distance, Noel Coward’s A Song at Twilight at Bath’s Theatre Royal.

Oh dear!

Normally a show of this kind would not attract me, but at least this was a play I had not seen and, having done a little research, I felt it would be interesting – it was Coward’s last full-length play [part of Suite in Three Keys 1965 in which it is the only full-length offering alongside two one-Acters.] More interestingly it is about a homosexual who has hidden himself behind the shield of marriage – more still, having pushed away his one true love, he has locked himself into a state of lovelessness where he allows no one close – everyone, including his wife are kept distant by his barbed tongue; it is therefore clearly a kind of self-confession, although Coward’s own ‘marriage’ was to the theatre. Still, as a homosexual at a time when it was still illegal, Coward’s own sexual preferences would have been kept under wraps. By 1965, when the play was written and Coward himself was growing old [he died in 1973], the legality of homosexuality was being ardently debated in Parliament and it was only a couple of years later when the ban on it was lifted. This must have had something to do with the writing of this play.

So I was interested enough to decide to go and watch it, despite the fact that Simon Callow was to be the lead role. Though I do not personally like Callow as an actor [to me he appears always to be playing himself, with a range of precisely annunciated words broken up with little hisses between his teeth and clicks of the tongue which I personally find gets in the way of any potential characterisation] I did think that it would at least be professional and, since Callow is himself homosexual, might show an honesty in the performance that could be engaging.

BUT …. Simon Callow didn’t know his words. All through the first scene, he filled gaps with explosive sounds and stutters but his poor partner in the scene [Jessica Turner playing his wife] had little to work with. Result … gaps … flagging pace … embarrassment …

Opening night nerves [it was the first performance]? That doesn’t justify the price of the ticket – considerably more than for the Old Vic. And from such a professional?

Things got better when the ‘flame from the past’, with her series of bombshells which force Callow’s character to face up to the lies and concealments of his life, entered – Jane Asher. At least the words appeared sound from now on. But Asher, also an actress of experience, was lacklustre – going through the motions and trying to engage with Callow who appeared locked into his own little characterisation, without truly engaging with her.

Is this the real reason why Callow does so many one-man shows? No one will act with him? Or he is locked so much into his own ego and outer persona that he is impossible to act with? He gave his co-actors so little – in this production, that is what I felt, a lack of engagement from Callow with anyone other than himself.

And this was very disappointing. The pace was too even, lacking variety. No one appeared to be on top of their characters. Jessica Turner was the best, but she had little help from the others.

It made me angry. The contrast between this dreary production and the vibrancy of Wise Children on the previous night. The difference in the audiences too – who didn’t appear too concerned by the Coward play, but certainly didn’t exit the theatre animated and sparky as those leaving Wise Children had done. Then it struck me, used as I am to the many wonderful productions I have seen over the last years [and no, they haven’t all been Kneehigh! But have included the wonderful Hedda with Ruth Wilson, the extraordinary View from the Bridge with Mark Strong and Nicola Walker, and many revelatory Shakespeare’s] – it occurred to me that for the first time in many years I had seen in the professional theatre – shame on them – an example of Peter Brook’s Deadly Theatre.

Kneehigh Theatre

When I said I’d do a Styletasters resource on Kneehigh Theatre, I’d no idea how hard it would be! I thought: I live in Cornwall, I’ve seen nearly all the shows in the last twenty years, absolutely love them, have met Mike Shepherd … what could be the problem? Well, the problem is that I am being blocked at every turn and query, attempt to interview anyone, etc. And the further problem is that I understand what Mike [the principal blocker, since Kneehigh is his baby] is saying. He does not want Kneehigh to be set in stone, to be reduced to a body of theories. AND I ABSOLUTELY UNDERSTAND AND SYMPATHISE. I won’t do this.

Wish I could show him my approach in my many other resources. My practice is always to show a company, an actor, practitioner, or whatever, as something/body that continues to change and evolve. I KNOW that nothing creative is static. I know that even whatever I end up with about Kneehigh, there will be many more evolutions and changes in the company. And so it should be. It MUST be, if Kneehigh is to continue to be the exciting company it is. I KNOW that anyone who takes risks [as all good companies and practitioners must] fails sometimes. In fact that is part of what being any kind of artist is about: being prepared to fail.

Peter Brook’s metaphor of the tightrope is pertinent. The artist/ actor/ company steps onto the tightrope with courage. The abyss is below him on every side; sometimes he falls. But when he succeeds, he creates something unforgettable.

The Kneehigh mix of outrageousness and beauty, slapstick comedy and tragedy is unforgettable when it succeeds – they can turn our emotions in the space of the flip of a coin from hilarity to anguish. And I will accord them the respect due to a company that will continue to develop. Hopefully, I’ll be able to update the resource every now and again. But whatever the obstructions, I will write it. Thanks to the Archives at Falmouth University, I now have some of those questions answered … After many stumbling blocks, progress is being made at last!!

Musings on THE TEMPEST

I’ve just finished the longest of my Plays Through Practice series, on The Tempest. It grew and grew, partly because there is some very difficult language in parts of it, which needed explanation if would-be student actors or directors are to work with it, but mostly because I have particular affection for this play. I suppose I love the scope it gives for design and for imaginative interpretation, and I’ve tried to build many creative possibilities into the body of the resource, without being proscriptive. I never want any of my resources to say: this is how something should be done. All of them have built-in choices to explore, and encouragement to follow their own ideas.

Why do I love this play so much? Partly it is the language. Some of Shakespeare’s most gorgeous speeches are there. They speak to the dreamer in us, the inner poet, if you like. ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on’ after all and the play is full of musings on life: the brevity of it, its insubstantiality. It shows so triumphantly how it is never too late to change. We see Prospero, eaten up with anger and the desire for revenge, turning in a second – literally – into someone much more admirable, able to let go of all that base stuff which weighed him down and to forgive. And who is it who turns him? Ariel, who is pure spirit and not even human!

If Prospero just turned into a goody two shoes in his conversion the ending would cloy. But we see him having to struggle with his anger when he is faced with his treacherous brother. It is visibly hard for him to forgive. Yet he does, and it is a struggle. Nor has he lost his enjoyment of showing off, of teasing. Prospero at the end is entirely human, has not lost the traits which make up his character. He is not the god-like figure of forgiveness, endowed with magical super-powers which I have seen him played as.

The play is a hymn of delight to the beauties of nature too. Even Caliban is moved by the island he is heir to and accepts the magic that fills it as a normal thing. He hears music all around; the airs of the island generate their own music. Perhaps if we listen in a quiet place, surrounded by trees, we might hear that music too.

Music fills the play – another reason it is my favourite, since music – singing, playing it – I play a number of instruments – and listening to it – is one of my greatest passions. There is so much room for inventive music throughout the play. I have played the part of Ariel twice myself – long ago now! It was the part of my dreams, combining as it does acting, singing and playing of instruments. One of those times it was a kind piece of fate: I had been cast as Miranda, but the director wanted Miranda played nude to symbolise innocence. I didn’t want to do it! He ranged over other possibilities, each more hideous than the last: white leather, a flesh-coloured leotard with pubic hair stuck or painted on!! To cut a long story short – I played Ariel instead, and was exceedingly happy with that!

Am I pleased with the resource? I think it’s as full as it could be without being too over-whelming. It contains lots of background information, the sources and the like. But mainly it’s a working through of the text in as many ways as I can imagine – so as to inspire the imaginations of those studying it. Writing the Plays Through Practice resources is always an exercise in directing whatever play in as many different ways as I can conceive. It is truly an act of creativity, rather than an academic exercise. I hope that those using it will find it pleasurable to read, as well as helpful in the drama studio.

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk

Last week I travelled to the Lost Gardens of Heligan to see Kneehigh Theatre’s latest offering, the Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. Perhaps it wasn’t  to everyone’s taste. I went alone and the people seated on either side of me didn’t return after the interval. Their loss, in my opinion.

I suppose many expect certain things of Kneehigh, particularly the Cornish audiences. They expect slapstick humour, music, audience involvement – at least by frequent direct address to them from the actors – comical dances, often from a chorus of characters and witty reversals from comedy to plucking at the heart-strings. But some of the shows have a different trajectory, and this was one.

I loved it! There is always something to engage you in Kneehigh and, personally, I like it even more when they explore the darker side. I’ve never forgotten the ending of the Bacchae, or Tristan and Yseult in both of which the comic coin flips upside down and reveals its tragic underside.

The Flying Lovers are the artist Marc Chagall and his wife Bella. The play, written by Daniel Jamieson under the different title Birthday, follows their life-story from their falling in love in their home-town, Vitebsk, through two wars, persecution of the Jews – they were both Jewish – brief success as an artist in Moscow, Paris, the USA… Chagall’s growing fame, to Bella’s death and Marc’s release of her spirit through acknowledgement of her own creativity.

The set [designed by Sophia Clist] was constructed of wooden poles, not straight or upright but crazily leaning and crossing over each other, suggesting the outlines of buildings, windows, doors, as in Chagall’s own paintings. To the poles were attached most of the props needed in the show [though some were thrown to them by the two musicians]. The floor of the set sloped wonkily, like the inside of an old attic. Like all Kneehigh sets, it was clever, idiosyncratic and useful – though one or two of the audience may have found they needed to peer round a crossed-over pole at times.

Far more than usual the show was largely danced and sung. Rather than musical interludes being strung together by dialogue, this was reversed. In a previous production, The Wild Bride, Kneehigh had moved towards this recipe; this production moved even further in the direction of music and dance. The two members of the cast – Marc Antolin and Audrey Brisson [who also sung and played as the bride in The Wild Bride] had beautiful clear voices and moved with charm and restraint. They were wonderfully accompanied by Ian Ross and James Gow as musicians, who occasionally swelled out the scene as characters, such as marching soldiers. The music, witty and veering between a period jazz feel and the haunting melancholy of Yiddish music, underlined the entire show. It was a musical backdrop that helped with a sense of time and place as well as with mood.

I loved some of the more subtle touches: the placing of pairs of shoes around the stage, to mark the couple’s constant travelling, for instance. As an image, it also subtly suggested the piles of empty shoes found at the Nazi death camps, underlying both their Jewishness and the enduring archetype of the Wandering Jew. Nice!

The strong love that bound the pair was shown through dance movements and held positions that echoed Chagall’s own flying figures. I felt that the movement reflected the tension in the play between joyful creation, which liberates the artist, and the shackles of misunderstanding, poverty, the ties of father/motherhood. When all goes well with the characters: their early love, occasional successes, and happinesses, the artist flies. At times he flies in partnership with Bella. But it is not till her writing is discovered and liberated towards the end of the piece that Bella too ‘flies’ as an artist in her own right.

Not an easy piece to put over, it contained plenty of comedic touches in the first half, plus the charm and joy of the young lovers and the freedom of their movements. But life gets its teeth into them and the second half is less successful. Perhaps to encompass a whole life’s journey is too much. There was not much Kneehigh laughter after the interval, but it would have been out of place. I enjoyed the piece immensely, but I can understand how casual visitors might have found the experience unexpected and hard to grasp.

DRAMAWORKS & DIGITAL THEATRE PARTNERSHIP

I have very exciting news for all Drama teachers and for DramaWorks. For the last few months I have been in negotiation with a company called Digital Theatre Plus and the result is that for the next few years we are going into partnership together. They have a large catalogue of live theatre screenings which they are adding to all the time. I am writing resources, over time, to go with these as a package, though I have many of my back resources that already fit nicely in. There are so many other things they are doing too: live filmed interviews with actors, directors and designers, for example. Just imagine how useful that will be. It means that you can study the play in the usual way, using one of my teaching resources which leads you in a practical way through the entire script, AND have a live film version AND a variety of other resources aimed at rounding out the whole experience for your students. Over time we aim to have every play on all syllabuses covered.

Digital Theatre have made partnerships with a large number of theatre groups already, and the results of those links will be available too. The partnerships include; The Old Vic, The Young Vic, the Royal Court, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, Frantic Assembly, Tricycle Theatre, Perfect Pitch and many more…

Educationally the partnership makes sense, which is why I have embraced it with enthusiasm. This way we will be able to reach teachers and students throughout the world who are studying drama at any exam-based level.

The launch of all the new stuff will take place later in the summer, in time for next year’s teaching. I will let you know when that happens. Meanwhile you can already check out Digital Theatre’s catalogue of live plays and films, and of course you can continue to buy resources from myself. In time, though, you will be able to buy my resources through their website as well as through my own.

Check out the article in The Stage, for news of the partnership!

Digital Theatre+ and DramaWorks form exclusive partnership

Digital education platform Digital Theatre+ and specialist drama education publisher DramaWorks have entered into a 9-year, exclusive partnership.

The deal will result in over 37 curriculum-mapped learning resources on key theatre practitioners and texts being made available to Digital Theatre+’s 3 million users from 1,000 schools, colleges and universities in over 55 countries. It also includes a commitment to commission another 40 resources over the period. The agreement sees DramaWorks Founder Jeni Whittaker, a renowned former drama teacher and Chief Examiner, join Digital Theatre+’s distinguished Creative Learning Advisory Panel.

“We are delighted to be able to to offer our audience the opportunity to access this world-class and highly sought-after educational content on our platform. Jeni has unrivalled insight and expertise into what teachers need. DramaWorks incorporates a practical approach to theatre into its educational content and we already excel in bringing world-class filmed productions to students around the globe. It’s a superb match.”

said Digital Theatre+ Chairman, Justin Cooke.

Jeni Whittaker understands that students at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 need to translate visual and practical experience of drama into written form. The methods of each practitioner are made uniquely accessible and tested through practical application.

Most of these materials feed directly into the examination requirements. There are also lesson plans for years 7, 8 and 9, and general work on Devising and on Physical Theatre, which are suitable for use at many levels including the first-year of a BA degree.

Jeni Whittaker, Founder of DramaWorks commented:

“Educationally it makes complete sense to combine two forms of educational content. I’m delighted that this partnership will enable, reach and help teachers more than either of us on our own can do.”

Working with Digital Theatre+’s Publishing and Education teams led by Fiona Lindsay and Talia Rodgers, DramaWorks will collaborate to create more teaching resources. All DramaWorks’ learning resources will be available on www.digitaltheatreplus.com from September 2016 as well, of course, as still being available on Dramaworks’ own website.

Download The DramaWorks and Digital Theatre+ Announcement

Read more about this from Jeni on the Blog