The plays in this book came about via the unique work done in schools by Peter Mortimer. In each case, he worked through a series of workshops with a group of pupils, and out of these a dramatic piece slowly evolved. With one exception – a play created in a Palestinian refugee camp – the first session started with a totally blank sheet awaiting the input of the creative team. As Peter Mortimer stresses, such a process is risky and at the start often terrifying, but ultimately proves to be highly rewarding for all. The youngsters helped to create the plot, characters and style, and were often involved in costume and set design as well as producing programmes and posters. And then they became actors. All these plays were given public performances, often in professional theatres. This approach gave the pupils an involvement in and commitment to the plays which no ordinary drama class could bring.
In his Introduction, Mortimer writes about the beneficial effects such projects can have on young developing minds, but also warns how such work is increasingly difficult to undertake in a school philosophy of tick boxes, league tables and inflexible curricula.
Playtime costs £8.99 and was published in September 2011.
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