Engaging the minds of young drivers & road users
Theatre in Education (TIE) has a constantly evolving definition, as new strategies and objectives for using theatre as an educational tool emerge.
Most define TIE as a general term that includes all the interactive theatre practices that help aid the educational process. Some of these processes include developing original scripts, using the performance of a play as a springboard for interacting with an audience and discussing important or sensitive topics or themes in a safe and supported environment.
In the autumn of 2020, Box Clever Theatre toured their production of ‘The Passenger’ to 9 secondary schools in Kent, giving 14 performances to a total audience number of 1,242 young people. Due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, the majority of performances were adapted so that they could be delivered online via Microsoft Teams.
“The statistics were directly linked to our age/situation so it felt more real and not just something people have to teach.” Year 12, Invicta Grammar School
“The fact that it was a true story really shook me. I didn’t expect it to be true and it just made me think about all of the dramatic consequences that it had on friends and family. The idea that one wrong move can have a fatal repercussion is terrifying.” Year 12,The Judd School
The play centres on a specific case study concerning two
young people, both aged 18 and in love, and charts their
journey from a party to a seemingly inevitable fate. The
involvement of a third character, whose close connection with
the events portrayed is gradually revealed, dramatically
highlights the emotional, social and psychological impact of the
wrong decisions made by both passenger and driver when
travelling in a car, while the physical consequences are made
only too real. Using audience members, the company members
investigate how things could be different, if only the passenger
had taken steps to make the drive safer.
“Always wear a seat-belt. Be aware of the responsibilities I have as a passenger and take initiative of that. Always be aware of distractions and avoid them.” Year 12, Invicta Grammar School
Box Clever’s production highlights the positive role that can be played by passengers to make car journeys safer: the students are presented with three characters whose lives and journeys are intertwined in a way they only gradually come to realise, as the full impact of the final, fateful journey of a novice driver and their passenger dawns on them. Local traffic incidents and statistics are employed to bring the action very close to home as well as characters who reflect their own attitudes, behaviour choices and concerns. Members of the audience are also enlisted to help to rewrite history and make car journeys safer for all in the future.
“Completely loved it, made a lot of sense, very engaging.” Year 13, Hugh Christie VI Form
What staff said:
“Student can relate to the situation that was shown – parties, drinking with friends. The whole show was fantastic, students were engaged.” Sixth Form Student Support, Hugh Christie School and Sixth Form
“Hearing the real-life stories made a great impact on the students. There was a great mix of techniques to hold the attention of the students and to emphasize the message. Obviously it’s quite difficult to directly engage with the students when the production is online but asking for shows of hands and names of students worked really well.” Teacher, Northfleet School for Girls