Following stated that ‘It shall be the

Following the devastation of
World War 2 the city of Coventry refused to deteriorate in the ruins but
instead decided to re-invent itself. With its car manufacturing industry expanding
rapidly, its financial success ultimately led to the erection of the Belgrade
Theatre in 1958. The Belgrade Theatre was the first theatre to have been constructed
in over 20 years and for Coventry, it stood as a symbol of regeneration succeeding
the desolation that had consumed the city after the Second World War. During
this time, renewal was not perceived merely in monetary terms, but also as a societal
and cultural responsibility. Britain’s education system also underwent
fundamental transformations. The Labour governments that led 1964 to 1970 agreed
to demolish the previous tripartite structure (secondary modern, secondary
technical and grammar) to make way for the new comprehensive educational system.
Along with the other earliest promoters for this new method, Coventry fortified
its identity as a city prepared and excited to undergo major transformation. Nevertheless,
the educational system was not alone in their change; the general outlooks on
both learning and schooling had also altered.

Theatre in education mirrors an
education that is centred around children and experimental, its aim to involve
the younger generation both with and through their humanity and not merely
preparing them for the work market. It was only during mid-twentieth century Britain
that people began to challenge the previously reigning Victorian notions of
education leading to more socially productive and child concentrated concepts
being introduced. In 1944 the Education Act stated that ‘It shall be the duty
of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend,
to continue towards the spiritual, mental and physical developments of the
community.’1 Despite
this recognition, the formal acknowledgement that theatre may be a constructive
learning process did not materialise until after the Second World War. In
conjunction with the innovative educators who had always relied on theatre to enrich
learning practices were a small group of theatre makers who were prepared to
experiment with dramatic forms to advance children academically. Brain way was
the founder of Theatre centre in London and is also considered one of the most prominent
practitioners involved in the introduction of theatre into education. His
organisation, established in 1953, established work that challenged children’s artistic
imagination through their involvement in the storytelling process of theatre.

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1 1944
Education Act, Part II, 7.