Review: Burt’s Drama2:18, 21st May 2019
A wondrous collection of writings and a true testament to teaching.
Keith Burt may already be a familiar name to you, given his many contributions to Teaching Drama and it may interest you to know that he has his own website, a place where he showcases and shares his knowledge of teaching drama.
As evidenced by his writings for this magazine, Burt has a clear and accessible style. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Burt knows his topic well and understands exactly who his writing is aimed at. Each topic is introduced and explained without condescension and those included range from great warmup exercises to in-depth analysis of practitioners and even tips on how to ask for more money for your department.
The pages are well laid out and make for easy reading (no distracting font or colour choices). Burt has clearly invested a lot of time in ensuring that the site is easy to navigate. The search function works well and I was able to find content about a number of practitioners, though Boal was a notable absence. In general, it’s hard to think of a way that this website could be more robust as Burt covers pretty much every base, with topics like marking written work and running extra-curricular drama having several lengthy posts about them. Each article has a number of tags attached to it, and links (internal and external) are helpfully strewn throughout the text should you wish to continue reading about a particular topic – it’s easy to get lost down a fascinating rabbit hole!
Beyond the extensive range of lesson material on offer, Burt has much to say about drama as it currently exists. In a recent blog post, Burt looks beyond the drama classroom to examine how the pedagogy of teachers in different subjects can have an impact on drama – for example, if drama is the only lesson where students do group work, then you will have to teach them all the skills that group work requires. Posts such as these do a great job of putting words to feelings that many drama practitioners have and they helped me to articulate some of the things that I was struggling with when running workshops.
In all, this is a great example of how knowledge-sharing can benefit a whole community. Any drama teacher would benefit from looking through this repository of Burt’s wisdom.
Cameron Bray is the editor of Music Teacher, former editorial assistant of Teaching Drama, a performance poet, and an English Language and Literature BA graduate from King’s College London.