Language is a key is a strategic partnership between ThaliaTeatro from Slovakia, FundacjaActiveKids from Poland, and Eduplius from Lithuania. This international project is supported by Erasmus+ and aimed at the development of the communicative skills of its participants using a variety of theatrical techniques, improvisation and non-verbal communication.
The local activities of Thalia Teatro in March 2022 were supposed to follow up with the previous workshops, where the employees of the Zvolen City Library in Central Slovakia had been learning new English words and researching communicative situations through drama and non-verbal activities. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 situation at that time did not allow any face-to-face group activities. Thalia Teatro organizers decided that it was unnecessary to meet in person to continue learning the language because most people were already familiar with distance learning technologies by 2022.
Online activities of Thalia Teatro were held via an online platform and proved that nothing can stop people from getting new knowledge! Eleven participants - employees of the Zvolen library - took part in a series of 2 online events aimed at developing communicative English skills using theatrical and non-verbal methods. The participants had to combine English words and sentences, movement, dance, and pantomime in front of a web camera to convey their message.
The participants used the same props, pictures, and backgrounds as during the offline workshop, but the model of communication was different that time and required more careful listening to a partner or mentor, working in bigger groups, and performing more explicit acting in front of the camera. Monika Necpalová from Thalia Teatro, who organized the workshop, sees an online format as an improvement of the practices she uses in offline workshops: "It may sound like a paradox, but a space on the screen is still a space that can be used in the performance. It means that, even online, the two main elements of the drama, word and space, were available for our participants to work with".
English skills are an important part of the modern world, and Thalia Teatro workshops in Zvolen have shown that an improvement can be achieved without any pressure or discomfort. With the help of drama methodology adapted to online learning, the activities were fun for both the participants and the mentor, and the overall positive experience has definitely contributed to the project’s success.