Posted By MatthewWoodford
Posted on: May 12, 2016

Posted in: Blog

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Key to a Successful Drama Workshop

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This post is a taster for our free eBook Facilitation: Using Drama with Children and Young People. To receive your copy, sign-up to our newsletter below.

There is no ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to drama facilitation. Each group has different needs, and will respond to exercises in varied ways. The following techniques will enable you to be responsive to the group, and facilitate in a fun and structured way.


Groups unconsciously look towards the leader to set levels of energy and enthusiasm. If you are not enjoying yourself – the chances are everyone else won’t be either. The amount of energy you give to the workshop is likely to spread to and affect others – it is contagious!


Keep an awareness of how the whole group progresses through exercises – and be responsive to their needs. A plan is just a plan – and in front of you are a group of creative, responsive, reflexive human beings. By keeping an awareness of what’s happening in the whole room, you are in a better position to be flexible with your workshop plan and change things up, should the group require it.


Contrary to what we are taught in school, failure is a positive thing. By creating an atmosphere where failure is O.K., participants are encouraged to take more risks and make bolder choices. Keith Jonstone actively encourages failure in each of his sessions, telling students to blame him if they fail – that it must be his fault since he is supposed to be the expert. 


Opportunities for learning 

Problems will undoubtedly arise, and when they do remember that allowing the group to work through the challenges is crucial part of the process. Each moment of failure is great opportunity for learning, use these instances to discuss as a group what happened and why the team didn’t accomplish their goal. When was the communication clear in that exercise? When were you united / divided as a team? How did your team make a good team? When did you cooperate well / not so well? The concepts of communication, cooperation and team work are the bedrock of the dramatic process, so can always be linked back.