Basic theatre techniques in a CI classroom by Anuschka De Coster

In a CI classroom moving around, doing gestures, “acting” are absolutely normal and accepted, as CI teachers know, but this can be very strange and overwhelming for students who are new to the method. Not everybody feels free and safe to start acting. This is totally OK, of course. I myself, as a teen, would never have been the first volunteer to act things out. Yet, in a safe environment where it’s OK to use your fantasy or not use it, where ideas are welcomed and not wrong, where your acting has not to be “perfect”, students laugh more and have more fun. CI teachers know this, yet how can we stimulate participation and playfulness in as many students as possible?

Basic theatre techniques are aimed at getting to know the group members, at getting confidence in playing and acting with the others. The basic of improvisational theatre is to react as spontaneously as possible to what is happening in the moment. Stimulating free associations, stopping the inner critic is what it starts with. It’s my conviction that these ideas and theatre techniques could be used and adapted in the CI classroom.

So I propose a very practical workshop in which we will try out a lot of different basic theatre exercises, that could be used as:

–      Ice breakers and brain breaks: to be started with and gradually built up, in order to make students gain confidence and getting used to the idea of moving around in and with the group. Getting in the flow of spontaneous playing.

–      Activities to rehearse words and create free associations.

–      Building tableaux vivants: to rehearse scenes from told stories, to do “live picture talk”, to make new scenes and  new stories.

This presentation is a try out, part of my own search. I’m not a theatre expert, I’m only very willing to share so many ideas. I think it would be wonderful to show them and discuss with you about how they could be adapted to the classroom.