Rebecca Pizzey

Editorial assistant

MTDES: Top picks

2:46, 10th February 2016

It’s very exciting to contemplate the approach of the inaugural Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show and we at ‘team TD’ are looking forward to meeting readers at Kensington Olympia on those long-awaited two action-packed days at the end of February.

Of course, the trick with conferences such as the MTDES is to make the most of a coveted CPD day off from school, and even if you’re not able to take both days and attend the full event, there is a huge amount to be gained from the four seminar/workshop rooms and hundreds of exhibitors to browse each day.

Don’t forget that there is also lots to be learned by attending sessions which form part of the Music Education Expo: performance teaching and new approaches to arts education for young people cross both curricula, and interdepartmental collaboration is an important way to maintain strength in numbers in a time when the arts in education appear to be on permanently shaky ground.

I’ve looked over the full programme and present here my ‘Editor’s Top Picks’ to help you plan your day, or days, at the show.

Day 1:

Serious play: ‘Play’ as an indispensable tool

11:10 – 11:55 in The Space

Theatre practitioner Dymphna Callery presents an interactive workshop focusing on ‘play’ as an indispensable tool: for analysis and as a catalyst for creative approaches to interpreting text.

It utilises Stanislavski’s strategy of replicating the stage/spectator relationship to enrich understanding of how an audience interprets and invests meaning. A sequence of games and exercises provide opportunity to experience and observe how bodies communicate and how the language of space creates dramatic effect.

Participants will become tangibly aware that what the body is doing and how spatial dynamics operate have the potential to say more than speaking dialogue.

Applicable to: KS4, KS5

Speaker: Dymphna Callery, Theatre Practitioner, Arts Educationalist & Writer


A chat with playwright Mark Wheeller

12:35 – 13:00 on The Performance Stage

Edexcel GCSE Drama text stalwart Mark Wheeller (author of Too Much Punch For Judy) discusses life as a playwright, interpretations to his key syllabus texts, and provides advice on those seeking a career in theatre.


A chat with director Lucy Kerbel

13:15 – 13:40 on The Performance Stage

We interview Director of Tonic Theatre, Lucy Kerbel, on her research into gender equality in theatre education. Lucy will touch upon her own experiences and provide guidance on increasing performance opportunities for girls in youth drama.


Collaboration and negotiation: communicating effectively off-stage

12:40 – 13:25 in The Space

How can we use our theatre skills even when we are off stage? The Improvisation Academy offer an on-your-feet interactive workshop to show how by harnessing our awareness of interactions and applying our stage-craft know-how, we can communicate with more impact. Above all, we can use our improvisational abilities to get more out of every encounter, whether in team-based collaboration across departments or in budget negotiations with Heads and management.

Join Paul Z Jackson and Antony Quinn from the Improvisation Academy for a fast-moving and experiential dip into a set of skills that you’ll be able to apply immediately.

Applicable to: Early Years, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5

Speakers:  Antony Quinn – The Improvisation Academy

Paul Z Jackson, Director – The Improvisation Academy


The role of character education in the development of young people

13:35 – 14:20 in The Seminar Room

How do children succeed? Thanks to the latest psychological and neurological research, together with the work of leading economists, doctors and teachers, the pathway to future success and well-being has never been more clearly illuminated.

Discover the role that performing arts teachers can play in developing the seven key ‘performance’ character traits: zest, grit, self-control, curiosity, optimism, social intelligence and gratitude.

Speaker: Anthony Kerr-Dineen, Music Educationalist, Teacher & ABRSM Examiner


Forbidden Fruit: Integrating assessment for learning

14:40 – 15:25 in The Workshop

This practical workshop explores the assessment for learning (AFL) opportunities which inherently lie within a drama lesson and its existing dynamics. Aimed at KS4 in terms of material, the strategies are easily translated to KS3 and 5. Taking the theme of temptation, the workshop will use a number of text references, profile pupil-led questioning and how to use AFL while engaging in, developing and enriching drama, thus reducing ‘cold time’ in lessons. Those attending should wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to work in soft shoes/stocking feet.

Applicable to: KS3, KS4, KS5

Speaker: Amanda Kipling, Course Leader, PGCE Drama – Goldsmiths, University of London


Day 2:

Flipped Learning: a new approach

10:00 – 10:45 in The Seminar Room

This session looks at a transformative new approach which promises to maximise teachers’ contact time with students and successfully utilises the internet as a tool for teaching.

Keith Burt, an experienced drama practitioner and PhD student whose research in to flipped learning is now entering a second cycle, delivers this session which explores reversing the traditional lesson by taking the instructional element out and in to a video presented online for students to watch beforehand. The subsequent ‘new’ lesson becomes about spending time ensuring the student is prepared for the assessment of that learning.

Speaker: Keith Burt, Drama Practitioner – Haybridge High School and Sixth Form


Mindfulness for performers and educators

10:15 – 11:00 in The Rhinegold Theatre

Addressing performance anxiety issues early in the artistic development of a child or young person is essential to their creative future. Tension in performance can be caused by many factors which in turn blocks performance potential and the creative process.

This seminar will discuss and demonstrate some practical relaxation techniques to facilitate relaxation, help to minimise anxiety and maximise learning and performance potential.

Applicable to: Early Years, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5

Speaker: Fiona McLean-Buechel, Adjudicator, The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech


Panel: Drama curriculum

11:15 – 12:00 in The Rhinegold Theatre

September 2016 will launch first teaching for all the new secondary school drama qualifications. Representatives from the major exam boards will discuss the changes and offer thoughts on pressing matters as diverse as how to support students in the creation of portfolios for non-examined assessment, and navigating the huge selections of set texts and practitioners.

Applicable to: KS4, KS5

Speakers: Catherine Webster, Subject Officer: Drama – WJEC/Eduqas

Karen Latto, Subject Specialist: Drama – OCR

Matthew Nichols, Chief Examiner: GCSE Drama – AQA

Paul Webster, Subject Advisor: Performing Arts and Drama – Pearson Education


Laban in Performance

14:10 – 14:55 in The Workshop

A taster seminar using techniques from Rudolf Laban. Taking part in practical exercises addressing posture, stance, gesture, shadow, movements, mental effort, breath and voice, this session will enable you to become more self-aware of vocal and physical preferences and extend your range of expression.

Applicable to: KS3, KS4, KS5

Speaker: Sarah Henderson, Drama Teacher


Three black-belt communication tools no teacher should be without

15:45 – 16:30 in The Seminar Room

Rocksteady Music School’s Mark Robinson will introduce the DISC behaviour analysis system (dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance) and explore three cornerstones of effective communication in lessons; body language, tone of voice and understanding individual motivations.

By the end of the seminar you will be able to identify different learning needs and psychological types in lessons and use these skills to communicate in the most effective way.

Applicable to: Early Years, KS1, KS2, KS3

Speaker: Mark Robinson, Founder Director – Rocksteady Music School


Exhibitors at the show will have stands and be available to talk about their products, books and resources and to offer advice. They will include:

  • A &C Black
  • AQA
  • Alfred Music Publishing Co (UK) Ltd.
  • Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Charanga
  • Club Europe Tours
  • Copyright Licensing Agency
  • Frantic Assembly
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Hal Leonard
  • ISM
  • Jolly Music
  • Leeds College of Music
  • Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
  • MU
British Federation of Festivals
  • now>press>play
  • National Union of Teachers
  • OCR
  • Onestage Tours
  • Josef Weinberger
  • Pearson Education
  • Rayburn Tours
  • READ
  • Rhinegold Education
  • Rogers and Hammerstein Theatricals Europe
  • Samuel French
  • Scenery Hire Ltd.
  • Starshine Music
  • The Really Useful Group Ltd.
  • Unistage
  • Your Space Music
  • Youth Music Theatre UK
  • WJEC Eduqas

A full list of exhibitors is available at www.musicaltheatredrama.co.uk

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