Twenty-eight countries from Nepal to Namibia, from Bulgaria to Malaysia, were represented at the second Researching Drama and Theatre in Education conference at Exeter University's School of Education recently. John Somers, architect of the conferences, set the tone in his planning: the 120 delegates paid in a banded system, so that those with greater spending power subsidised those with less.
In the opening session, Somers said that he hoped to preclude any "touching the hem of the guru's garment", and the mood throughout the five days was non-competitive and generously attentive. In no sense were the Brits teaching others how "to do drama since we lead the world" - not least because we don't. Active workshops included sessions by the Greenwich Young People's Theatre and Catalyst Theatre from Birmingham. Late night entertainment included an uninhibited international ceilidh, a one- person show from a Nepalese delegate and a performance on land rights by delegates from Ghana and Papua New Guinea.
The testimony of the delegates was that the conference had been not only academically valuable, but also restorative and inspirational.