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Science and Theater – Sustainability on Stage

A workshop on improvisational theatre techniques and how to use scientific content on stage

The idea seemed very challenging. How does theatre stage work combine with the scientific knowledge on complex development issues like climate change and its environmental impacts such as natural disasters, or food insecurity? How can scientific content be presented on stage in an entertaining, emotionally involving manner? How can this be done with practically no professional artistical means and experiences? How can an audience be reached and encouraged to discuss whatever is present in our student’s minds?

On October 1st and 2nd, 15 Students of the MSc programs IWRM, NRM and REM, coming from Afgahnistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Jordan and Nicaragua tried out a new workshop format in the winter term 2016 at ITT. Some students participated mainly out of curiosity. Others already had very clear ideas on how they could use theatre skills in future development works and projects around the world, for example, in communicating with people from rural communities by using performances as a medium of information, education, and creation of awareness. Other participants were mainly passionate about theatre and wanted to discover how art can be combined with the work of a scientist to improve the intervention outcomes.

Two trainers from the Freiburg Scientific Theatre, Torben Flörkemeier and Friederike Gezork conducted the workshop and shared their experiences with us. The workshop was inspiring. Thanks to Ricarda Bruder Pedroso, intercultural trainer at ITT, the theater group was born, and the initial idea of the workshop “Science and Theatre” was developed into a long term project. The second workshop in November, conducted by Catriona Blanke, drama educator and Dragon Dreaming Trainer, focused on getting ready for a stage performance. On December 9th the students had their magic moment at a performance at ESG Köln.

In 2017 more is to come and to see from the ITT theatre group.

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