ISTA present...

Foiled again? Tah dah! A Melodrama unit for middle schoolers with L.-C. Bérubé

July 12 - July 13, 2021

Please note this workshop runs from 8-10am BST (British Summer Time) on Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th July 2021. For more detailed time zone information, see the ‘Important information’ section below.

About the workshop

Foiled again? Tah dah!
A Melodrama unit for middle schoolers.

Workshop description
In this practical workshop we will explore the performance conventions of Victorian Melodrama, using extracts from original texts and music. We will also delve into techniques to introduce students to its spectacular special effects and scenic design elements.

Learning outcomes
Teachers will:
Practically explore stock characters and 19th century Melodrama performance conventions.
Explore ways to help students incorporate traditional production elements into their work.
Learn techniques to help students use typical plot structures to create their own performances.

How will the workshop benefit the teacher in their curriculum delivery?
This practical workshop will offer teachers practical strategies to teach the larger-than-life performance conventions of traditional Victorian Melodrama, and ways to get students to incorporate its fun production elements in their own work. Techniques are designed for face-to-face teaching but have been adapted to work for hybrid and 100% virtual teaching as well.

Target audience
MS theatre teachers.

About your workshop leader

I trained with Gene Frankel (Actors’ Studio NY) and acted professionally before shifting focus to work at the UN in New York and Geneva. I then began teaching history/theatre in Switzerland – 37 years ago! I taught A-level Theatre Studies for several years and have taught IB Theatre since 1999.

I am a voracious reader, devouring books about how/why theatre is made. As a theatre-maker, I am also influenced by my travels and by having seen dozens of performances every year since childhood. I developed this unit years ago, based on research and inspired by my mother’s stories and scripts from her days performing Melodramas aboard a Mississippi showboat in the 1930s-40s.

I have participated in ISTA events since the mid-1980s and have been an IB TaPS student ensemble leader. I also led many sessions for teachers at European Council of International Schools conferences over the years and served as Chair of ECIS’ Theatre Arts and Drama Committee from 2011-14. I participated in the curriculum review which gave birth to the current IB DP course; I have been an IB DP examiner for 15 years and am Principal Examiner for Theatre Extended Essays.

Important information

Event coordinator
Helen Abbott

Please note participants will need to attend parts 1 and 2.

Part 1 Europe and Asia
Monday 12th July 2021
8:00-10:00am – BST (British Summer Time)
9:00-11:00am – CEST (Central European Standard Time)
3:00-5:00pm – SST (Singapore Standard Time)

Part 2 Europe and Asia
Tuesday 13th July 2021
8:00-10:00am – BST (British Summer Time)
9:00-11:00am – CEST (Central European Standard Time)
3:00-5:00pm – SST (Singapore Standard Time)


The cost of this workshop is GBP £50 per person for ISTA members and GBP £55 per person for non members.

What to bring

Any materials shared with you prior to the workshop, such as the workbook. A notebook and pencil are always useful.

Space requirements
If possible, please try to have a small amount of space near to you for any practical work.

Download & Forms

Please find below the relevant documentation for you to download:


Starts on Monday 12 July at 08:00
Finishes on Tuesday 13 July at 10:00
(BST - British Summer Time)


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