In celebration of the 75th anniversary of North Rhine Westphalia this year, English Theatre Düsseldorf conducted a Three-day Theatre Workshop, in English, from 11th-13th June 2021.
This workshop, which had originally intended to bring a group of students from Reading UK, to Düsseldorf, its Sister City, was redesigned to accommodate each country’s current Corona regulations. Instead of meetings, presentations, exchanges and interactions in the form of theater games and discussions in person, workshops were prepared in each school’s home country and exchanges were shared between the two schools online with the help of a web camera and Zoom. The theatre weekend concentrated on the theme, “The future of Europe“.
Twenty-five students ages 14- 16; half from the Goethe Gymnasium School, Düsseldorf, Germany, and half from the Reading School Grammar School in Reading, UK, were divided into 4 subgroups, in their home countries. Each was given one of the following sub-topics; “communication”, “environment”, “borders” and “identity“. Over the three-day period, students participated in research, theatre exercises and games, scene work and improvisation, creating a 10 minute performance based on their groups’ topic. This was then shared across borders, online via Zoom, on the final afternoon. Each afternoon included a session where the 4 groups came together online, participating in theater games and discussions altogether from afar. Students from both countries could also share short videos they had made to present their „home cities“ to the other students at their „sister city“ school. The anticipation and excitement of these sessions was thrilling to observe. Perhaps there was even a greater sense of freedom and openness, because there was also a feeling of safety with the cameras. The students could see each other, and hear each other, they could exchange with each other, but they could also jump out of view and quickly hide. This was an interesting element, that is not possible when all are in the same room.