Creating learning arch through live theatre experience

Even in a curriculum based theatre class, there is a unique space that allows for learners to interpret and collaborate through reflective peer sharing. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) Theatre curriculum is a multifaceted theatre-making course in which the learners apply research and theory to inform and to contextualize their work. It also encourages students to appreciate theatre-making through the processes of critically reflecting on theatre, both, as participants and audience members, where they gain a richer understanding of themselves, their community and the world. To encompass this factor in their coursework, a facilitator must proactively create learning arches within their syllabus design where the theatre theories, contextual research and reflections on live theatre moments amalgamate towards a holistic learning.

IBDP Theatre students research and examine the various contexts of a theatre theorist and engage in the process of theatre-making based on their theory. One of the second year IBDP students at the Hill Spring International School, Mumbai has chosen French actor and teacher Jacque Lecoq (1921-1999) as their theorist. According to the student’s research Lecoq’s “approach towards theatre had a lot to do with the means of the body. His theatre theory, known as ‘Creating physical characters’ is an example of this. This theory does not exclude spoken words or deny its importance, but aims at reinstating the human body as the central means of communication.” Along with the online videos and book, an evaluation of at least one theatre piece based on the explored theatre theorists is beneficial to embed a complete understanding of such layered concepts.

Keeping this in mind, on the 6th of December, learners went to watch theatre director-actor Yuki Ellias’s award-winning play, Elephant In The Room. Yuki, who is an actor, a theatre-maker, a teacher, and movement director has studied theatre at the Jacques Lecoq International School for Theatre in Paris and brings the knowledge and understanding of Lecoq’s performance-making approaches through her piece. The learners immediately grasped the nuances of Lecoq’s theory when they saw it manifested in a live solo-piece where the actor creates various characters simply through her physicality.

In their reflection, a student wrote:

“Before going to watch Elephant in the Room I was very skeptical about the play as the description said it’s a one person play… I thought it may be boring or monotonous, but the way in which the performer stood her ground was out of this world. The grace and power she put out there was so noticeable. There were many scenarios she enacted with different characters, and yet her precise and crisp portrayal of them left me speechless. Through the dialogues, sound and amazing performance the audience didn’t need a set to visualise this play. This play is one which grows in the audience’s mind. The story and acting planted a seed and all it did was grow. As the show progressed, I could see various aspects of Lecoq’s theory, which I only studied in books, right in front of my eyes. Now I really understand how I could engage with the process of creating a piece of theatre based on his theory.”



IBDP Theatre Curriculum

Yuki Ellias’s Bio:

Student reflections: Shared by Theatre Professional Education IBDP theatre facilitator Sayali Indulkar