One of the most difficult assessment tasks to juggle is the Independent Project, particularly if you have a large class or a tiny one. This blog will share with you how I have structured a whole school theatre project, that not only embraces the IPP, but also crosses with TOK and the English curriculum.

What is FLASH Theatre?

Every year I carry out a series of short theatre pieces that are student directed. The pieces are linked by a theme, and then we have volunteer directors (usually about 6) and hold open auditions for the entire high school. Students then rehearse in groups for 5-6 weeks to prepare a piece of theatre 15 minutes long.

The performances all take place on one night. The audiences are divided into groups of 20 and then rotate from one play to the next. The actors perform their play a total of 6 times to 6 different audience groups.

Themes in the past have been ‘Silence’ and ‘In yer face theatre’ this year I chose ‘The Canterbury Tales’.

How does this link to the IB course?

When planning FLASH I always ask my IB Theatre students if they would like to do their Independent Project at that time. They often do. Below are examples of what three of my students did this year:

Option A – The student devised and directed a piece based on ‘The Clerk’s Tale’. The student devised the piece with her cast, drawing on 3 scripts and the original Chaucer poem for inspiration. She then directed the piece and did the lights and sound in performance.

Option B – The student researched areas of realism, inspired by our work on Stanislavsky, and then ran 3 rehearsal process workshops with his cast, that were performing ‘The Miller’s Tale’, on character development. He then focused on specific scenes to develop truth in performance.

Option B – The student drew on our vocal work in ‘Viewpoints’ and focused more on Grotowski and his plastiques, plus the physical work of Lecoq to help his own character work and that of his cast in ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’, which is about a cockeral and chickens. The performances included singing and specific animal movement.

How does this link to TOK?

As the plays focus on morality, we have been looking at the influence of the church in Medieval Theatre, and then spoke to the audience afterwards to analyse the best vehicle for community moral messages, plus which play made the most impact and why. We also discussed whether laugher or tears enable you to connect with a character more.

Online resources:

The Tales:

Helpful notes:

The Miller’s and the Reeve’s Tales, animated:

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The Miller’s Tale – modern adaptation:

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The Wife of Bath – animated:

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The Wife of Bath – modern adaptation:

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Printed sources:

‘Devising in Process’ Ed by E Mermikides & J Smart, Macmillan, London, 2010

‘Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales’ adapted by M Poulton, Nick Hern, London, 2005

‘The Canterbury Tales’ adapted by Martin Riley, OUP, Oxford, 2000