Chris Cooper

TIE [Theatre in Education] Methodology

The basis of the work is the use of theatre as a tool for learning. TIE companies employ actor-teachers working with one class at a time. This is critical to our work which is highly participative, requiring the highest teacher-student ratio possible, and it distinguishes TIE from any other form of theatre, including Young People’s Theatre.
In TIE learning is not instrumental but conceptual, using the power of theatre to resonate with our own lives in order to reach new social understandings about the world we inhabit, to explore the human condition and behaviour so that it can be integrated into young people’s minds and make them more human by, as Bond says, allowing them to know themselves.
“And, because such things concern the processes of social and human interaction, the domain particularly of drama and theatre in education, real understanding is a process of coming to understand: we cannot ‘give’ someone our understanding. Real understanding is felt. Only if the understanding is felt can it be integrated into children’s minds, or anyone’s. Resonance is the starting point of the integration process. The resonance of something engages us powerfully; that is, affectively. But, significantly, it also engages us indirectly with that which it resonates. Resonance is not authoritarian; yet it’s an offer you cannot refuse! (Gillham, 1994:5)”
Gillham’s understanding that resonance is not authoritarian but ‘an offer you cannot refuse’ connects directly with how the plays of Edward Bond work with their audience.
A distinctive feature of theatre is the distance it provides. In theatre we do not encounter real life but reality through a fiction. TIE utilizes this to draw young people in. The fictional context means that the learning material is subject to the child’s control, s/he can engage with the absolute guts of the situation in safety.

Chris Cooper,
Απόσπασμα από το βιβλίο Edward Bond and the Dramatic Child, σ. 50