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Big School

Theatre in Education

In 1965, the Belgrade formed the first ever Theatre in Education (TiE) company, a company dedicated to using theatrical performance and drama workshops to explore issues of cultural, social, political and moral significance as part of a free service to schools and the young people of Coventry.

It was a groundbreaking project and word soon spread to other UK theatres and beyond. To this day it is an ongoing international success story, which continues to benefit millions of young people all over the world. A history of TiE at the Belgrade Theatre called Theatre in Education: Building on our Heritage outlines the history of TiE at the Belgrade from the 1960s to the present day, and is available as a free download on the left hand side of this page.

The Belgrade’s heritage continues to inspire the theatre’s current programme of work. The TiE programme is much smaller than it once was, but giving young people and minority groups the opportunity to build their confidence and to develop their own voices, whether as young artists or active citizens, remains at the heart of all the theatre’s community and education work.

The Belgrade currently runs one TiE project on an annual basis, Big School, a project about transition from Primary to Secondary school. The theatre is open to developing new projects on request, and was recently commissioned by the Minority Groups Support Services of the Local Authority to create The First Time I Saw Snow to support schools in their handling of the arrival of large numbers of pupils from new incoming communities in the north of the city.

Celebrating 50 Years Of Pioneering Theatre

To celebrate the 50th Anniversray of TIE in 2015, the theatre will be highlighting the crucial role that drama plays in supporting the development of children and young people with a series of events including an International Festival of innovative theatre work both by and for young people & a Conference addressing the importance that engagement in theatre and education can play. These events will be held in the theatre and in schools and venues throughout the area.

Justine Themen, Associate Director at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry explains, “The impact of the Belgrade TiE company has been extraordinary: the strength of its work and the determination of its members has ensured that its legacy continues to be felt internationally – it is with this inspiration that the theatre is delighted to celebrate 50 years of TiE and to launch the International Festival.”

Running from Summer 2015, the full itinerary of participants is yet to be confirmed but the Theatre is currently developing partnerships with a range of organisations to deliver these events and would welcome any additional approaches from interested parties.

They are also keen to hear from people who would like to share personal experiences of Belgrade TiE or any engagement with the theatre as a child or young person from those early days.

To share your early experiences or for more information about the Belgrade’s TiE work and Festival, contact the Community & Education department on 024 7684 6741 or communityadmin@belgrade.co.uk