Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show 2016 – we need you!

MTDExpo 2016 logo 1.inddOur friends Music Education Expo are launching the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show in February 2016, and we want YOU to get involved!

We’re looking for drama teachers and practitioners to join a voluntary advisory board to inform and advise on the free CPD programme.

Find out more here. The closing date for applications is 8 June.


Professional development day in Bristol – 1 March

The Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama are running a professional development day on ‘Drama in the Classroom’ in Bristol on 1 March, led by Philip Kingsley Jones from UWE.

Full details of the day can be found below. For more information on the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama, read TD‘s article in our current spring 2 issue.

STSD March

Over 1,000 young people attend TheatreCraft 2014

Vicky Featherstone with TheatreCraft volunteers (Credit: Helen Murray)

Vicky Featherstone with TheatreCraft volunteers (Credit: Helen Murray)

Teaching Drama visited TheatreCraft, the backstage theatre careers fair, on 17 October. The one-day event, aimed at young people aged 16-25, had more than 1,000 visitors in attendance at the Royal Opera House.

The event was opened with a speech from the Royal Court’s artistic director Vicky Featherstone. She said it was ‘such an honour’ to address the visitors to TheatreCraft. She described it as ‘an amazing moment’ that young people had gathered to pursue and research careers in backstage theatre.

Featherstone said in her opening speech: ‘I truly believe theatre in its wider sense has something in it for absolutely everyone and TheatreCraft will allow you to explore this. There are so many possibilities. Today is an amazing opportunity to come together and learn about your future. Theatre is all about people and their shared experiences. British theatre needs you.’

The day itself offered participants the chance to take part in over 70 workshops on offer in everything from theatre marketing to wig making. Over 50 exhibitors were on hand to talk to in the marketplace, highlighting education and industry opportunities throughout the country in the backstage sector. There were also 39 industry experts available for one-to-one advice sessions.

If you missed out on this year’s event, keep up to date with developments for 2015’s TheatreCraft on their website,

Last chance for Latitude Festival – Starts this Friday

Claudine Nightingale reports on the theatre offerings at this weekend’s Latitude Festival

Arts of all genres are catered for at Latitude (Credit: Danny North)

Arts of all genres are catered for at Latitude (Credit: Danny North)

It’s that time of year again … school summer holidays, yes, but also festival season! If you’re wondering what to do with your weekend now there are no exam papers to mark, perhaps a trip to Latitude Festival in Suffolk is what you need to help you forget the past busy year. For those of you who aren’t really in the mood for a more conventional music festival – and I know you’re all passionate about theatre – Latitude is the perfect solution. As well as some great music acts, they have equally strong offerings in the field of theatre, poetry, comedy and film. Plus, if you’ve got your own children to entertain over the summer, this couldn’t be better; Latitude provides award-winning facilities and entertainment for children of all ages, ensuring that both you and they have a great weekend.

Young people can work towards an Arts Award while at the festival (Credit: Steve Hunt for Culture Works East)

Young people can work towards an Arts Award while at the festival (Credit: Steve Hunt for Culture Works East)

For children, there is an Inbetweeners teen area, designed for young people aged 12 and over. There’s loads for children to get involved with, including working as a reporter for the festival, or even performing on stage in the tent. It is organised by Culture Works East, the company that have helped to facilitate the Arts Awards possibilities for children attending the festival (see the forthcoming issue of Parent Guide to Drama Education published free online in August 2014 to find out more).

It’s also really encouraging to see that Latitude have branched out this year to actively cater for school groups. Although the deadline has passed for this year, they have been offering discounted day tickets for the Friday of the festival for local schools, with a free teacher ticket for every ten students, to allow them to take part in the Arts Award scheme and other child-friendly events. Let’s hope this goes well and is developed in future years so that more students can take advantage of this opportunity.

Forced Entertainment's The Notebooks features at 2014's Latitude Festival (Credit: Tim Etchells)

Forced Entertainment’s The Notebooks features at 2014’s Latitude Festival (Credit: Tim Etchells)

Most importantly, of course, there’s loads on offer for you. As well as a host of acts and artists in other fields (literally and figuratively!), there are some big names in theatre appearing during the weekend: on Friday, Clean Break and Forced Entertainment will each be performing two different productions; the Royal Shakespeare Company are performing a brand-new show on Saturday and Sunday, directed by Erica Whyman; and there are many others worth watching out for, including the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and the Royal Exchange Theatre.

There’s not much time left, but if you’re the spontaneous type then Latitude is the only place for culture vultures to be this weekend. Tickets are still available for camping, but you can also purchase day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday if you just want to sample the experience. All the information you need is at Maybe see you there …

Free theatre performances at West End Live this weekend

If you are in the capital this weekend, you might want to drop by West End Live in Trafalgar Square where the event will be celebrating its tenth anniversary.

West End Live provides two days of free taster performances of shows from London’s West End. Show taking part this year include: The Commitments, Once, Wicked, Billy Elliot, The Pajama Game, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, MAMMA MIA!, The Bodyguard, The Lion King, Stomp, Thriller Live, Jersey Boys, and many more.

A first for this year’s event will see a series of talks with people in the theatre industry. The talks will take place in West End Live’s Theatre Emporium, hosted in a 1920s Spiegeltent in Leicester Square. Scheduled to speak are director Jamie Lloyd and the casts of Handbagged and forthcoming production Shakespeare in Love. 

To mark the significant anniversary, there will be a cabaret performance of ten songs which have been performed at West End Live throughout the last decade.

West End Live is a free and non-ticketed event. The event runs on Saturday 21 June (11am-6pm) and Sunday 22 June (12-6pm);

TheatreCraft 2013 – an overview

On Friday 22 November, TD visited TheatreCraft 2013 – the backstage, production and arts admin careers fair which takes over the Royal Opera House annually for a day of workshops, tours and networking events.

Theatrecraft 2013 at The Royal Opera House

The marketplace at TheatreCraft 2013 (Credit: Alex Rumford)

Just as it had been the previous year, TheatreCraft was a huge success. Thronging with young people – both college groups and individuals – all learning, making contacts and sharing ideas, it was a truly exciting atmosphere to stand amongst: aided naturally by the extraordinary surroundings of the ‘Paul Hamlyn’ floral hall of the ROH.

Between us, the TD team attended workshops on playwriting, devising, working with the arts in education and the community, arts journalism and theatre criticism. In smaller spaces around the building, speakers and workshop-leaders who included Lyn Gardner, theatre critic for The Guardian; Emily Cook and Anna Shields of Starling Arts musical theatre, and playwright Vickie Donoghue, spoke with authority, passion and genuine encouragement to young people making tentative forays into a number of possible career paths within the arts.

Theatrecraft 2013 at The Royal Opera House

Theatre director Jamie Lloyd addresses TheatreCraft attendees at opening speech (Credit: Alex Rumford)

Meanwhile stalls representing the major drama schools, employers, websites, unions and publications handed out leaflets and goodie bags and dispensed advice to all who had questions to ask. Upstairs, a networking area allowed for speed-dating-style meetings between likeminded individuals sharing ideas and making contacts, and a team of ‘experts’ including producers, casting directors, costume designers and many more career representatives sat at desks for appointment-only chats with young people who needed more one-on-one time.

TheatreCraft is an indispensable opportunity to engage with careers advice in all the non-performing elements of the arts: it comes highly recommended as a day out for A level or even GCSE groups with their teachers – and also for practitioners in their twenties looking to make or firm up contacts with organisations and individuals in the industry. Put it in your diary for this time next year!

West Side Story and charity Leap launch partnership

Leap participants at West Side Story workshop  (Credit: Jonathan Hordle)

Leap participants at West Side Story workshop (Credit: Jonathan Hordle)

A new partnership has been formed between a touring production of West Side Story and youth charity Leap. To mark the launch of their partnership, West Side Story and Leap co-hosted a special workshop involving cast members from the show and young people from the London area.

This new production of West Side Story is running at Sadler’s Wells until 22 September, after which it will tour to regional venues across the UK until June 2014. Leap is a charity which provides training for young people and professionals to help them transform the issues of conflict in their lives.

This specific workshop looked at the themes of violence, gangs and race within the musical in relation to conflict. West Side Story’s choreographer and director, Joey McKneely, and two young trainers from Leap, Natasha Aldonza and Kareem Maizi, led the session.

The young people watched the cast perform the musical’s prologue – where the rivalry between the Jets and Sharks is first established. The participants were asked to feedback on the scene, pick out some of themes which had occurred and look at some of the parallels in real life. The cast then performed the scene containing a ‘rumble’ between the two gangs. This time, the Leap facilitators used the format of forum theatre, asking the participants to call out ‘freeze’ when there appeared to be a point where one of the lead characters, Riff, could do something differently to provide a different and more positive outcome from where he was currently heading.

Workshop participant with Leap trainers Kareem Maizi and Natasha Aldonza (Credit: Jonathan Hordle)

Workshop participant with Leap trainers Kareem Maizi and Natasha Aldonza (Credit: Jonathan Hordle)

The workshop brought up discussions of ego, violence, peer pressure, breaking the cycle of violence, consequences of actions and knife crime. The young people taking part were from Leap’s Quarrel Shop programme, a scheme for 16-21 year olds who are dealing with issues of conflict and looking to become youth/social workers.

The success of the launch workshop is expected to lead to further workshops throughout West Side Story’s tour around the UK. 

To find out more about the work that Leap does, visit Visit to find out details of the UK West Side Story tour.

Extra material: NISDA 2013 follow-up pack

Andrew Golightly reports on the 2013 NISDA Conference for the latest issue of TD

Andrew Golightly reports on the 2013 NISDA Conference for the latest issue of TD

In Teaching Drama autumn 1 2013-14, we have a guest column from Andrew Golightly about the 2013 NISDA Conference:

‘Drama and theatre studies may well be at a critical crossroads as the education secretary tries to map our way through the current set of curriculum reforms, but there is hope and encouragement to be found. The National Independent Schools’ Drama Association (NISDA) panel of luminaries met in June for this year’s conference at St Paul’s Girls’ School, with a full auditorium of drama specialists to explore the future of the subject.’

To read the rest of Andrew’s column about this year’s NISDA Conference, buy the latest copy of TD.

Practical exercises at the NISDA Conference (Credit: Adam Woodyatt)

Practical exercises at the NISDA Conference (Credit: Adam Woodyatt)

As extra material, there is a NISDA follow-up pack which features:
* Practitioner workshops
Games exchange
Question time panelist biographies
Question time transcript 

Download the resources here: NISDA 2013 Follow-up pack

Olivier Awards – This Sunday

olivierawards3The 2013 Olivier Awards will take place this Sunday (28th April) at the Royal Opera House.

The awards will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, and ITV will broadcast the ceremony’s highlights on Sunday evening at 10.15pm after the event has come to a close.

Those wishing to be even closer to the night’s action can get involved by heading to Covent Garden, where the awards will be streamed live. Entertainment and music will also take place in Covent Garden’s piazza.

Click here to read more about this year’s nominees: 

For more information, visit


Win tickets to PERFORM – an event for those studying or working in the performing arts industry. Along with over 60 seminars and workshops, as well as 50 exhibitors in attendance, there is the new addition of a Teachers’ Area – which will be hosted by Teaching Drama magazine!

For your chance to win 1 of the 10 tickets we have to give away, all you need to do is:
1) Follow @teachingdrama
2) Retweet our competition invite on twitter (

Good luck!

Perform competition