I once worked as an actor at the Tower of London. We were working on the Gunpowder Plot and I had a sword and period costume of one of the conspirators, Thomas Winter. We were teaching history by immersing groups of young people in the story. One half of the group went to my colleague who played the Lord Lieutenant of the Tower of London. That group were set on seeking out conspirators and interrogating them. My group were conspirators and swore allegiance to our oppressed cause. When two of our group were captured and interrogated, we had the problem of wondering whether they were to be trusted when they returned. In the end my group and myself were arrested and an interesting discussion followed about plotting, terrorism and the state.
As part of a scientific experiment three groups of young people were measured. One group learned the facts from a teacher explaining them, a second group learnt from books and the third group was our acted-out experience. They were measured annually for their recall of the facts and beliefs about the subject. Our group came out far and above the others in recalling the events and details of what happened, even more so over time. So, having an emotional connection to learning sharpens the experience and makes it more likely to be remembered. Our work is with young people in the performing arts and therefore a very potent way to deepen their life experience and make it real for them.
One night I was late going home. I hadn’t realised that the Tower was still an important army barracks, machine-gun armed soldiers in combat gear and face paint were around every corner in a very focused, slightly scary way. And I’ve never forgotten that!
For over 28 years Theatretrain performing arts schools have been providing children with a professional place to take classes in acting, singing, and dancing. With exceptional teachers and unrivalled performing arts classes, we continue our lessons online for FREE.
If you have a child that loves to act, sing and dance then you can sign up to our weekly classes by visiting www.theatretrain.co.uk