ISTA present...

Dubai (1) Studio - Serious play

February 9, 2020

Booking Closed

Artistic information

Serious play for upper elementary and middle school drama students.

Jump into the fantastical world of play-based learning through drama. In this one-day professional development workshop teachers will explore new ideas to enhance drama classroom practice with upper elementary and middle school drama students.

Learning outcomes
1. To develop strategies that explore building ensemble through improvisation in the classroom.
2. To explore the importance of storytelling and strategies to work ‘in-role’ as a teacher.
3. To develop approaches for delivering units of work focussing on world theatre traditions.
4. To explore elements of theatre production that can be easily introduced into the classroom.

Teachers will leave the Studio with a comprehensive resource pack to aid their teaching as well as a new network of international practitioners for future support and with which to share future practice.
I am an international drama teacher and probably the biggest theatre nerd you’ll come across. I am always engaging in learning and sharing in artistic experiences with everyone and anyone who will listen. Originally from Canada, I now live and work all over the world to share the richness that dramatic experiences can bring to anyone at international schools.

Target audience
This workshop is for drama teachers at the upper elementary and middle school level. For experienced drama teachers who are in need of fresh ideas and inspiration to take back into the classroom and for those less experienced who are looking for more tools, tips and tricks for their drama toolbox.

About your workshop leader
It is my mission to share the rewards of the power of Theatre in Education. Not only do I love working with young people, I also have an unwavering commitment to professional development. I’ve spent my career working with colleagues developing artistic experiences, presenting at workshops and organising events for large networks of drama teachers and students. I have travelled the world with ISTA as a student ensemble leader, workshop presenter and TaPS facilitator. I serve as course instructor and podcast contributor for the Drama Teacher Academy. I am a DP Theatre examiner and most recently began a post of MYP Coordinator in Qingdao, China.

My dramatic interests include physical theatre, commedia dell’arte, melodrama, mask, improvisation, voice work and puppetry. My passion lies in devising theatre pieces using the basics all the way to the bells and whistles. Drama truly is my passion and sharing all that drama has to offer anyone is my mission.

I look forward to rolling up our sleeves together and unlocking the power of drama in our classrooms!

Session outline
Session #1
Games for building ensemble (improv)
This session will focus on exploring a range of games that build student ability from low-stakes to high-stakes improvised performance. Improv guidelines, games and structures for little people.

Session #2
Role play – teacher in role
In this session we will explore story as a means to inspire creative thinking. Using the acclaimed book Uncharted Territories: Adventures in learning by Hywel Roberts and Debra Kidd we will enter the worlds of enchanted forests, outer space and new civilisations.

Session #3
World theatre tradition – Bunraku-inspired found object puppetry
In this session we will learn how to build our own puppets and give them a character. We will use our puppets to build an ensemble and explore audience awareness, group story-telling and other dramatic structures in order to create a unit of work. Throughout this process our work will be embedded in the world theatre tradition of Bunraku puppetry.

Session #4
Tech theatre for young people… creating a production company
You name it… lights, sounds, building an atmosphere, soundscapes. We’ll demonstrate that all you need is a flashlight and a speaker to make the world your oyster. This session focuses on the core elements of theatrical production – audience awareness, intended impact, assessing effectiveness as well as TEAM (tension, emotion, atmosphere and meaning.

Important information

School address
Dubai American Academy
Hessa St
Sheikh Zayed Road
Al Barsha
United Arab Emirates

School website

The event starts at 8:45am on Sunday 9th February 2020.
The event finishes at 4:45pm on Sunday 9th February 2020.

Event Coordinator
Keriann O’Rourke

For participants
Registration is now open.
Registation will close Sunday 2nd February 2020
Places are limited, so please register early.
Participants should plan to attend the workshop in its entirety.
If travelling from outside the host city, please organise travel and accommodation accordingly. .



Registration fees
ISTA members – GBP £175.
Non ISTA members – GBP £192.50.

Please note
Registration fees include lunch and tea/coffee breaks.
Any bookings or amendments taken in the six weeks prior to the event will incur an additional GBP £50 late booking/amendment surcharge, subject to availability.

Travel and visas

For participants
Local teachers will travel daily.
Overseas teachers will need to organise international and daily travel accordingly.
Overseas teachers will need to ensure they have the correct visa to enter the United Arab Emirates.

For artists
Your EC will be in touch about travel details.
Please ensure you have the correct visa to enter the United Arab Emirates.


For participants
Overseas participants will be responsible for booking any accommodation required to attend this workshop. We advise booking accommodation close to the workshop venue.

For artists
ISTA will book accommodation for artists for the required number of nights.


For participants
Lunch will be provided on the day of the workshop; along with coffee/tea breaks throughout the day.
Breakfast and dinner are not provided.

For artists
ISTA will cover all meals for the duration of the workshop.

Download & Forms

Please find below the relevant documentation for you to download:


Starts on Sunday 09 February at 08:45
Finishes on Sunday 09 February at 16:45



• Catherine Braid
• Charlotte Ward
• sarah byrne
• William Powell