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WAR HORSE EDUCATION FACILITATION WORKSHOPS
ASSITEJ SA recently trained 79 artist facilitators in the educational mediation of theatre performances, using the production of War Horse as the basis, in order for them to be able to create and deliver educational workshops for learners and teachers connected to both War Horse and the curriculum, which will benefit their sustainability and create partnerships within the sector at large
Short comments on each of the components:
Arts mediation in the SA context and Education – This workshop gave an overview of the entire project, as well as looking specifically at the South African educational context and its new aims and challenges. The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement was explained, and the new demands being made of teachers within this curriculum were made clear. Links between War Horse and the following subjects were then explored: Senior Phase (Grades 8-9): Life Skills, History, Languages, Creative Arts and FET (Grades 10-11): Languages, Life Orientation, Dramatic Arts, Visual Arts, Design, Dance and Music. Workshop planning was also addressed.
Puppetry in the classroom and on stage –Jill Joubert gave a half-day workshop on practical making of puppets in the classroom, using recycled and easily available materials. Craig Leo gave a half-day workshop on the puppetry used in the production, breathing for puppets, general awareness as it pertains to puppeteers, and related skills in manipulation of puppets.
War Horse educational approaches– The National Theatre facilitators took the group through a variety of methodologies using a range of art forms as process, as well as linking to History, Language and Life skills within the curriculum. These workshops introduced facilitators to the world of the play and mirrored the approaches that they might use in the workshops within the SA educational context.
War Horse further educational approaches and Workshop development for learners–
The facilitators created workshops in pairs, which needed to demonstrate links to the production as well as to the curriculum. These workshops were then presented on the final day of the workshops, with 15 minutes of the workshop being facilitated by each team. At the end of the day, the various coordinators of the programme gave feedback on these workshops. We have since started to identify which facilitators we believe are good to start delivering workshops to learners, and which facilitators still need support before being allowed to facilitate in schools.
Responses from the participants to the workshops:
Themba Mkhoma (Drama for Life): "The experience of the workshop was great. We were all from different backgrounds and some of us were meeting for the first time, but at the end of the first day we were as if we had known one another for quite some time. From that greeting exercise Yvette facilitated, the ice was immediately broken and we felt at ease with one another. The workshops worked because it was process driven. The puppetry workshop led me into the secrets of how the puppeteers breathe life into Joey and other horses in War Horse. It has also sparked my interest in Puppetry. It was amazing how Kate and Mel were able to take us on processes that produced massive War Horse related content within a very short space of time. Usually in the workshops the time is wasted in between processes. The way you and your team held the space every second was used effectively. The workshop was fully participant-driven. There was a great exchange of knowledge among the participants. It was like having a Multitude of teachers in one space."
Vatiswa Mtyakela (Artist Proof Studios): "It was an amazing journey where I was able to connect with artists from different fields, and I really liked the warm ups as they were educational and fun - a very positive and pleasant way to help learners connect and express themselves freely in a comfortable environment. The warhorse facilitators were professional and open and very helpful; the workshop was very informative. I was helped to learn to dig deep inside of and stretch myself and let go of control when dealing with a group of learners. Time management was also essential, which is always a challenge and always ignored. I'm pleased and grateful to have been involved in this journey. Thank you."
Toni Morkel (Independent artist, Jo'burg): "Thank you All for the incredible experience of the War Horse workshops last week. Each day being led by another brilliant facilitator, and being so held throughout the process. And then the really challenging part in the last 2 days creating our own workshops and the terror of presenting to the whole group after such high standards being set! Absolutely terrifying! And learning about myself working in tandem with a new partner under pressure - thank you Lebogang Inno! And learning so much again from watching the other participants delivering their workshops – a wonderful and enriching experience in every way!"
Mtho Zulu (Edu-Fun, Durban): "Colour brings life to the shades of life. The WAR HORSE Facilitator Workshop left me having finally found the treasure at the beginning of a rainbow. The experience was that which did not only teach me a lot about the industry I am in and how I can add fun to young people's education, but it also made me grow as a human being. Not just as an artist, but as Mtho. I will never forget this beautiful experience."