Theatre in Education

Our programs are modelled on the practice of Theatre in Education (TIE), supporting cyber safety education, anti bullying and social and emotional learning through live productions for schools. 

What is Theatre in Education?

Theatre in education is the use of theatre for purposes beyond entertainment. It involves trained actors/educators performing theatre for students or communities, with the intention of changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. According to Narda Skov, researcher and Project Coordinator at non-profit public health organisation ETR, the performances need to engage the audience’s intellect and emotions in order to create an environment in which perceptions can be challenged. 

Theatre is the ultimate immersive art form, targeting multiple senses simultaneously.Children, like adults, generally have different learning strengths. Below are four commonly identified learning styles:

Visual (spatial)

A preference for images, gestures and spatial learning.

Aural (auditory-musical)

A preference for learning through music and song.

Verbal (linguistic)

A preference for learning through words and voice.

Physical (kinesthetic)

A preference for learning through body movement and touch.

Theatre in education can make information easier for people to understand, process and retain, especially complex topics that involve human emotions and interpersonal relationships. Theatre provides a ‘cognitive playground’ in which students can experiment with different choices and vicariously experience the consequences of their own and others’ behaviours in a safe environment.

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.

Philip Pullman, children’s author and winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

What are the Benefits of Theatre in Education?

Live theatre is a powerful way to attract students’ attention and keep them engaged. An Australian research study found that “the overwhelming majority of students demonstrate enjoyment and enthusiasm through watching educational theatre, are receptive and listen attentively, and can correctly identify the educational messages being portrayed”.

Theatre in education can be an effective way to change knowledge, attitudes and intentions around health behaviours. One study, for example, found that an educational theatre production and accompanying activities had a significant impact on psychosocial risk factors for smoking among primary school students. Another study of 47 primary schools found that an educational theatre program was associated with improved knowledge of health behaviours, such as healthy eating and physical activity. 

Theatre in Education allows students to explore challenging social scenarios and vulnerable emotions in a safe and supportive environment. Performances can help to develop empathy for the experiences of others and explore diverse perspectives. Students can witness a range of possible strategies being played out and use critical thinking to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies and apply them to their own lives.

Theatre in Education can also be used for teaching students self regulation skills and social skills, demonstrating how these skills can be applied in different situations. Theatre in education has been used across the world to help students develop more positive tools for anger management and conflict resolution. The theatre in education experience also allows students to explore help-seeking options.

Even aside from explicit learning, there is evidence that children and young people’s engagement with the arts may have a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.  According to Joronen and colleagues (2012, p6), “the fictional world provides opportunity for independent thinking, cooperation, for a healthy release of emotion and to build social awareness.”

Our Theatre in Education Methodology​

Brainstorm Productions’ performers present carefully composed scenes that provide clear messages, whilst engaging the audience using emotive stories and humour

Brainstorm Productions co-founder, Jenny Johnson, has more than 35 years’ experience delivering theatre in education and has a background in both school and University teaching. Jenny developed Brainstorm Productions’ educational theatre methodology and uses professional actors to deliver the programs. All programs are written in consultation with educators and a clinical psychologist, and all actors are trained and supervised by qualified teachers and theatre specialists, to ensure that the complex issues of bullying are approached sensitively

The power of theatre in education, and Brainstorm’s productions for schools, is demonstrated by the  enthusiastic participation of schools. Brainstorm Productions continues to be one of the largest and most respected educational theatre companies in Australia, and performs to more than 260,000 Australian students every year. Learn more about what we do or explore our range of student wellbeing programs for primary and high school students here.

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