Onoff stage

11th October 1996 at 01:00
* October is Black History Month and, to celebrate it, Cultural Exchange Through Theatre in Education (CETTIE) is touring schools and community centres with its Black October Project. Consisting of two workshop programmes, on Bob Marley and Claudia Jones, the focus is on inspirational black role models. CETTIE uses a mixture of dramatic presentation, discussion and group improvisation as a way of reaching subjects that the national curriculum doesn't and promoting understanding between young people of different backgrounds. The company also runs a Black Achievers Inset course and publishes Beacons of Liberation, a booklet which looks at black leadership over the past 400 years. Tel: 0171 226 4016.

* The leaves may be turning, but at the Cambridge Drama Centre autumn is festival time. Defying the dictum that festivals have to take place under warm, blue skies (sigh), the Centre is presenting a two-week-long Children's Theatre Festival from October 21 to November 2. Sponsored by Sainsbury, the event is angled at toddlers up to top juniors. Kicking off is a half day, fully interactive workshop production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the English Shakespeare Company for Years 3 to 6. Other productions include Wolsey Theatre in Education's How High Is Up? about friendship, Classworks Theatre's Tales from the Arabian Nights and the French theatre company Velo in Dream Cycle. The festival is also running after-school workshops for pre-school, infant and primary teachers, carers and children's theatre practitioners. Among them: Shakespeare in the Classroom, led by Dr Janet Bottoms of Homerton College, a practical session on active approaches for primary teachers and a seminar on Theatre in Education led by Wolsey TIE. Tel: 01223 322748.

* Another half-term goody for teachers, among others, is a programme of workshops based on Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed and run by the London Bubble Theatre. Adrian Jackson, associate director of Bubble, leads a five-day course (October 21-25) in Forum Theatre, centring on issues of oppression. Boal will run a course based on the theatrical techniques he calls Rainbow of Desires, concentrating on the psychology of internalised oppression, which is particularly useful to counsellors, theatre practitioners and psychologists. Tel: 0171 237 4434.

* Contact Theatre's tour of George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, includes three different schools workshops, looking at connecting to the character, physicality of the text and interpreting the text. If you don't fancy these, the education department will tailor a programme to your needs. The remaining workshops take place at the Wythenshawe Forum, Manchester, from October 14-18. Tel: Sally Abbot, 0161 274 3434.

* The Separation is a play set in a tumultuous 18th-century Scotland torn between Crown and rebels, in which a father sends his two sons to fight on opposing sides to ensure the survival of one of them. Interesting. But even more so when you discover that playwright Matty Chalk is 11 years old. He makes his debut, with six others ranging in age from 12 to 23, at Storming, the 24th annual Royal Court Young Writers Festival, this year sponsored by Marks and Spencer. Along with Matty's history play, there's a fair bit of teenage angst, psychological dramas, a view of the new South Africa and the odd alien. There is also an audio play by Amy Rosenthal, which will be broadcast nightly throughout the Festival (October 28 to November 16 at the Theatre Upstairs, Ambassadors Theatre) and a Net Play, as in Internet, in which five writers scattered around the world will create a theatre piece together. It will be read at the Court and then published without copyright on the internet. Tel: 0171 565 5000.

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