DRAMA AND THEATRE STUDIES IN ENGLISH
My name is Andrew and I run the English Drama Course at West Finland College.
Drama and Theatre Studies in English?
Yes, but… what is it all about?
The course works on several levels:
- it provides a solid basis for those hoping to pursue a career or further study in Drama, Theatre, Performing Arts, etc. (Much of the work is geared to covering things students would expect to deal with on a Drama School or University course in the UK)
- it provides an opportunity for those with no previous experience to see if this area is for them
- it encourages development of communications skills, social skills, written and spoken English, creativity, expression, teamwork, leadership, co-operation and pertinent professional ethics
- it is hard work but it is FUN!
- it is NOT a Fame Academy, we do not hold auditions, we believe that everyone deserves a chance and that there is more to be gained from studying these things than going on to be a Star!
Much of the work is practical in nature. Each course is utterly unique as is each individual involved but most of the previous courses have produced a large number of works for public presentation.
Some theory and written work is inevitable but the balance is tipped toward the practical:
performance, improvisation, creative/expressive game play and rôle play are hugely important. While the likes of Stanislavski, Brecht, Shakespeare and the Ancient Greeks are important areas of study they cannot be fully understood without practical and creative application.
Students are assessed every day on all of their contributions and the end of the course sees students issued with a graded certificate. However, as has been explained to many students, there is more to life than numbers on a piece of paper. The experience of attending the course is – if we believe those who have completed it – of far greater value than the certificate. Personal growth, creative development, discipline, application of skills… all of this and making friends and plans for the future.
There is no single methodology or pedagogical approach, however the notion of Interdisciplinary Cognition: learning to know something by its relation to something else is considered to be important. Similarly the idea of CLIL (content and language integrated learning) is a key part of how things work. English language skills (and communication skills generally) are guaranteed to improve!
And, yes, of course, plenty of opportunity to perform, direct, etc, etc...
Who is it for?
In a word: everyone.
The only stipulation is that students have English language skills of sufficient standard to do the work. Former students have come from around the world (France, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Russia, Zambia, Gambia, South Africa, Israel, UK, Latvia, Morocco, Zimbabwe, DR Congo and many more).
There is no such thing as a typical student. People may have different reasons for being here. Some come to discover themselves, build their confidence, explore the world of theatre or simply to improve their English in a more active and creative way than usual. The internationality of the course encourages tolerance, mutual respect and a sense of inclusion in addition to broadening outlooks on the world. We all learn from each other.
A high percentage of our former students moved on to Drama Schools or University in the UK, some to the USA and even Australia. Many have gone on to work in theatre, film, TV and related areas (a number of them doing so in Finland), some moved into politics, journalism, art, some are now educators and some have gone on to happily live quite ordinary lives. Many are still in touch from time to time – some of the friendships forged here have lasted for many years!
What to expect?
Hard work. Fun. Creativity. Performing. Learning. Making mistakes. Learning from mistakes.
Experimenting. Developing. Compromising. Co-operating. Taking chances. Progressing!
Finally- who is Andrew?
Andrew is a British actor/director/educator/poet who fell into the theatre as a teenager and has never recovered. He has been running the English Drama Course for over 25 years and during that time has learned something very important: There are 3 rules for being a success – sadly nobody knows what they are!