TEACHING ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: GEORGIA ADAMSON
Since its inception in 2009, Georgia Adamson has been a Teaching Artist for STC’s School Drama™. Not only is Georgia an accomplished actor, recently appearing in STC's The Secret River, she is also a passionate advocate for using drama in the classroom.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable aspect of School Drama?
I think there are two equally valuable aspects to the program. The pedagogy is undeniably effective and the results we see in children across a broad range of circumstances speak for themselves. The other aspect of the program that is key to its success is its structure. Working with the teacher in their classroom on a weekly basis for seven weeks means that we are able to genuinely collaborate, respond to the needs of their particular students and give the teacher the opportunity to really start to embed this way of working into their day to day work in the classroom.
What changes you have seen, in students or teachers, as a result of School Drama?
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a teacher say “I never knew that student had this in them!” Coming to the same lessons but with a different approach frequently gives teachers the opportunity to see new sides or strengths in their own students. Experiencing changes like that firsthand, of course, inspires the teacher to really dive into the work.
It’s a wonderful thing to see someone who in Week 1, is a little wary and unsure sitting in front of their class in Week 7 ‘in role’ and corralling a room full of characters that the students have created, debating an issue related to the text. The sense of play, the subversion of status, and the freedom for students to experiment with other voices and points of view all bring an energy and engagement to the classroom that last well beyond the program.
How does your experience as a Teaching Artist influence your work as an actor?
In the years that I’ve been teaching on the program, I’ve seen my confidence as an actor grow significantly. I think there are a few reasons for this: recognising that the skills that I have developed as an actor are useful in another forum is a wonderful thing, and feeling genuinely useful is excellent for my sense of self; the program’s focus on story and character has also been something that I’ve carried back into my work, particularly in improvisation and devising.
It would be fair to say that working on this program has broadened my sense of what it means to be an actor, that the way we work with story, communication and expression is something that can be extended and celebrated well beyond the confines of a theatre or set. And that’s a wonderful thing!