The chronicle of inspiration
By Chilla Tamas
Budapest, ELMLE Conference 200?. Drama pre-conference. I was excited as someone from ISTA was presenting! I stepped into the room. Music was playing and the workshop leader was in role, hugging an imaginary tree and looking afraid. Questions were strewn on papers around the room. As we entered the space, we were immediately engaged. ‘What’s she doing? Why’s she so scared? What has happened?’ The artist had arrested our attention, engaging us in the drama within two minutes flat. She introduced me to drama in education through the eyes of a student and I was left in awe thinking: ‘Wow! I want to do that!’
Fast forward: a few years later. Bucharest, MS ISTA festival, 200?. A crazy turn of events meant that this was (and still is) the most unconventional festival I’ve ever attended. The whole festival was held in a theatre and our teacher workshop space was a 2×2 meter square landing. Staircase above, staircase below. This time a different ISTA artist had us enchanted through process drama. No nonsense: on your feet, let’s get working! Within minutes all ten teachers were entranced, exploring an island, plotting out maps and creating new worlds. Gone were our cramped quarters, we were transported into another world. Again, I thought: ‘If we can do this here, imagine how powerful this could be in the classroom. I want to do this with my kids!’
Fast forward: 2015. Inspired by these two women, I pursued my own master’s of drama in education; now I’m trying it out with my own students. As a teacher, ISTA workshops have helped to shape my career, exposing me to so many different approaches over the years. Our workshop leaders turn from mentors into friends, embracing, encouraging and pushing us forward. It’s always a fun, safe space to try out something new. Can’t wait to see what the future holds.