What can happen when theatre goes to school?
When theatre education is transformed into theatre praxis?
When emerging directors of different styles meet pupils of various ages?
The two-day festival “The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference”, comprising student performances held at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus, has been successfully drawn to an end. This event has been realised in collaboration with and thanks to the exclusive funding by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.
More than 500 pupils, their parents, as well as friends of the Municipal Theatre attended the festival performances, which were the result of an extensive and fruitful nine-month collaboration between pupils, educators and directors from seven different secondary schools located in the district of Piraeus. The performances were open to the public and free of charge.
The Mayor of Piraeus Υannis Moralis applauded the student communities that attended the crowded Municipal Theatre, underlining that
''Piraeus is now at the heart of the country’s cultural life. It is at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus where the heart of theatre education beats. We extend our warm thanks to the Latsis Foundation which supported this pioneering initiative of the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus (MTP). This successful encounter, the end product of an important and creative collective work by educators, directors, and school students, has given us a sense of optimism in these difficult times. I would like to congratulate our pupils.''
On behalf of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, Christos Chrysanthopoulos, Programme Manager, commented on the programme ‘The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference’, underlining the value of theatre education at school and the importance of this specific educational programme implemented by the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus in collaboration with schools from the Piraeus district and surrounding areas.
“The Foundation has made the strategic decision to develop funding schemes to upgrade the quality of the educational and schooling process at all education levels, while it also offers scholarships to support new students, both male and female, in accessing university education.”
The Artistic Director of the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus, Nikos Diamantis noted that:
“‘The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference’ gave us the opportunity to meet young students and encounter theatre and culture. This is an educational programme that aims to immerse teenage students in theatre and in that way awaken their imagination and creativity, as well as introducing notions such as collaboration and the value of life.”
It should be recalled that ‘The Third Bell of Theatre with a Difference’ is an artistic and educational programme that primarily aims to introduce pupils to theatre practice, enriching the educational process in secondary education.
In the framework of the programme, seven directors of different styles and ages collaborated with seven secondary schools from the Municipality of Piraeus and other adjacent municipalities on texts by classical and contemporary authors, the end goal being to produce seven short theatre plays.
Here is a detailed overview of the two-day artistic festival:
Saturday 7 May / 11.00 – 15.30
1. Kallipoli High School / adaptation of ‘Our Great Circus’ by Jakovos Kampanellis, in collaboration with Nikos Vasileiou.
An allegorical study on the theatre genre revue, which, like every revue play, looks at the infinite landscape of Greek History from above; sometimes like omniscient Zeus, sometimes like rampant Silenus, and now and then like a bereaved mother, always coming to the same conclusion… a yearning for Freedom.
2. 2nd Junior High School of Nikaia / ‘I want a country’ by Andreas Flourakis, with the assistance of director Perry Michaelides.
The extraordinary writing style of Andreas Flourakis documents thoughts, and desires; it questions the everyday life of our era and proposes a direct investigation of the contemporary problems and mentality of Greek people. The language of the text is direct, abrupt, and often humorous; it enables the emergence of collective existence and a collective vision for a new “ideal” country.
3. 9th Junior High School of Piraeus / ‘Stories of the Gentleman’, comprising texts by Anton Chekhov, with the assistance of director Giannis Moschos.
The educational process started with various theatrical games. The aim was for the children to become familiar with Chekhov’s important work and his era. On the basis of the children’s interests, some of his entertaining stories were chosen for dramatization.
Sunday 8 May / 11.00 – 16.00
1. Ionidios Model High School of Piraeus / Sophocles ‘Oedipus the Tyrant’ with the collaboration of director Aliki Danezi-Knutsen.
Tragedy is an extremely demanding undertaking, particularly for high school students. Through their eyes, the relevant subjects seem rather difficult and “unpleasant”; the actions seem grandiose and fearsome. The choice of the tragedy on which the students of the two high schools worked enabled them to understand the notion of Myth, Character and Vicissitude, and how a story can be put together, no matter how fearsome it may initially seem. As a result, they were given a powerful incentive and felt a strong desire to perform this story on stage. Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus the Tyrant’ is a case study where all dramaturgy elements are presented in a declarative and clear manner, providing fantastic grounds for a creative and interesting process.
2. Kaminia High School / ‘Downtown Piraeus’, with the assistance of director Kirki Karali.
Tired from studying for their final exams, and rather than playing truant, a class from Kaminia Senior High School embarks on a retrospect of their district’s history; events, and songs that have left their mark on Piraeus and a question with multiple answers: what does Piraeus mean to you?
3. Zanneio Experimental High School / Beckett, ‘Waiting for Godo’, with the assistance of director Thanos Tokakis.
Beckett in a high school theatre play? This sounds rather unexpected. ‘Waiting for Godot’ is a great place to start experimenting. This seemingly incomprehensible theatre work ultimately becomes the starting point for a quest: no plot, characters in a state of inertia, an era when events are overtaking us; when the stimuli to which teenagers are exposed succeed one another at a frenzied pace. To what extent and how can a Beckettian pause fit into all this? What is a timeless clown? Why do they have these existential questions? And after all, what is an existential question?
4. 1st Technical-Vocational School of Neo Faliro / A dance-theatre performance entitled ‘The Lesson’, in collaboration with performing arts specialist Grigoris Gaitanaros.
One day, the students arrive at school only to realise that their teachers are missing. A lesson from students to adults about the school of their dreams. A quest for knowledge and experiences that go beyond the conventional concept of education and lead to the core of understanding the psychology of human beings.