As Drama teachers, we’re sure you’ve all been there: introducing the latest play in the curriculum – perhaps one that’s a few hundred years old – when a student speaks up to ask “But what’s this story got to do with us?”
At Pearson, we believe the joy of Drama is in teaching new perspectives, fostering empathy, and encouraging students to step into somebody else’s shoes. But it’s fair to say that, while certain themes are universal, some students may complete their course without feeling represented in the Drama texts they’ve studied; feeling that only the experiences of white, heteronormative characters have true value in education.
When students from diverse backgrounds aren’t represented, we know they can feel as if they are not worth representing – which is why we are launching the #IfIWere campaign. Alongside other initiatives to broaden voices in Drama, #IfIWere is encouraging students to place themselves in the limelight; to give them control and empower their imaginations.
Prompt a class with #IfIWere and things might start to get lively. Engagement levels could peak as they pick apart their chosen plays, and create fresh takes.
What would Romeo say if your students spoke his lines at the balcony, for instance? What if Ophelia wandered your local park, instead of Elsinore? What if someone transplanted the action of Goodnight Mister Tom to the present, and Tom Oakley was asked to care for a refugee from war-torn Afghanistan?
An initiative like #IfIWere can build new worlds for students. It can help learners get to the heart of the text, and flex their creativity. It allows them to understand more about the work, and about each other. It also gives them a chance to play as they test out their ideas in supportive spaces – a practice that fires up everyone to learn.
We’ll be posting some of our favourite creations on social media soon, and can’t wait to see students and teachers take a bow.
Want to take part in #IfIWere with your school? Read more at go.pearson.com/ifiwere2021