Editorial: Autumn Term 2 2020-21

Sarah Lambie,
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Soldiering on

Now that schools are back in the swing of the new way of working, many teachers in Drama & Theatre's network are reporting beginning to feel more at home in the school environment, and there is much to feel positive about – for the most part, our students are back in school, and for the most part, able to work in some collaborative fashion on Drama. The rules are stringent but – see our Secret Teacher on page 10 – common sense is key.

Having said that, nothing is set in stone – and in the past few weeks an apparent second wave of infections in the Covid-19 pandemic has brought alarming warnings of restrictions lasting as long as six months, plus localised rule-tightenings in parts of the country, and always the fear that we might have to work remotely once again.

With that in mind, this issue of D&T is a combination of features for face-to-face working, and those highlighting exemplary work done remotely. We explore ideas for encouraging student involvement in costuming a live school theatre production (page 32); but also the inspiring tale of an online-theatre festival run by a drama teacher in the ‘lost’ summer term of 2020 (page 19). This issue is also a ‘professional development’ focus, with a trio of features on that subject for drama teachers: exploring the advantages for all parties in experienced teachers mentoring NQTs and trainees (page 15); offering an overview of the plethora of drama teaching subject associations and the variety of their benefits (page 16); and asking what, if any, value there is in drama course textbooks and study guides (page 25).

Supplement to this issue of D&T is the Student Guide to Drama Education – this is our annual guide for students, so I encourage you to leave it around (with some hand-sanitiser) in your drama studio, for your most serious students to peruse. If any of your young charges are considering applying for Higher Education courses in Drama – whether as performers or training for technical or design roles – the SGDE will, I hope, prove an invaluable companion to their process, with horse's-mouth advice on everything from how to choose and prepare audition speeches to what books and plays to read, and where to find streamable theatre to expand their knowledge and horizons. The SGDE is also available online, so you can even save on that bottle of hand-sanitiser and let your students know where to find the full text: at dramaandtheatre.co.uk under the SGDE tab.

Finally, I am extremely sad to report the loss of Aine Lark, extraordinary, vital and tireless Chair of subject association National Drama – known to many D&T readers and a true champion of our subject in education. A tribute to Aine can be read on page 9 of this issue – she will be very sorely missed by all those who knew her and benefitted from her energetic work on behalf of the subject.