This week, Abbie flew to Belgium to help to coordinate and deliver workshops for the ArtScene drama festival run by Roeland vzw - a language organisation based in Ghent.
This year the festival was attended by students from Romania, Russia, the UK, Hungary, and, of course, Belgium! We caught up with Abbie to hear all about the festival just before she hopped back on a plane to Beijing.
“The aim of ArtScene is for students to work together to put on a performance using only the English language. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to improve their spoken language and performance skills, as well as make friends from all over the world!”
(c) Roeland vzw
After topping up her skills as a member of Beijing Improv (China’s oldest improvisation group), Abbie decided she would run an Introduction to Improvisation workshop at this year’s festival.
“Improvisation can often seem a daunting prospect for anyone new to it - both young people and adults alike. I decided to create a workshop that eased the students into the skill by using both games I’d learnt whilst performing with the Improv group and physical improvisation exercises inspired by Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal.”
Abbie’s workshops at the ArtScene festival were created with the students’ ages and abilities in mind. As all of the young people had different English language backgrounds and were from countries across the globe, it was important to encourage them to work as a team and as quickly as possible.
“I always have a lot of icebreakers stored in my back pocket just in case, but this year it was fantastic to see how quickly the group started to work together! I’d love to say it was all down to the games, but I think the magical atmosphere of the festival gave them a boost too!”
“It was lovely to hear feedback from the students at the end of each session, who all mentioned one thing that they had either enjoyed or learnt from their workshop. My particular favourite was ‘Improvisation is not that scary at all... once you start to do it!’”
Thank you for speaking with us Abbie, and thank you again to Roeland vzw for inviting us!
Photo (c) Roeland vzw
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