Firstly an insight as to how and why English Com’Eddy Theatre was created.
A private school for learning English through humorist theatre. Located in the South-West of France, in the city of Bordeaux was created in 2007 by Eddy Radburn; English teacher, playwright and stage director. He receives each year adults, seniors, teenagers and children, be it through 5 day total immersion periods during the school holidays or all year training from mid-September to the end of June.
English teacher / trainer for adults and children for over twenty years, Eddy was challenged into using his theatre experience in 1997 when a young student asked him to write a play in English for the group. The result was so well received that he suggested it to his adult students, always with the same success. Eddy finally decided to specialize in this method of education and so created in 2007 English Com’Eddy Theatre.
From September 2007 to June 2013 The theatre Onyx Bordeaux was the working place for English Com’Eddy Theatre. In July 2013 a new location was found in an old 150 square metre building needing a lot of attention. After much money, worry, sweat and toil and help from our friends, a new English Com’Eddy Theatre was reborn.
The Raining of the shoe – A play written in 2013 especially for the project PLALE ‘Playing for learning’ with the theme being “Breaking Barriers.”
For the project “breaking barriers”, we chose to do what we are well-versed in; and so saying, we decided to work on a play in English with our adult students. In order to do this, Eddy wrote a play for 11 characters, the exact number of students we have in each of the three adult evening groups. It was written in 2 weeks during his Xmas holidays. For the very first time comical songs were implanted into the play.
True to the motto of English Com’Eddy Theatre “We have fun but serious fun”
“The Raining Of The Shoe” (word play with Shakespeare’s play “ The taming of the shrew”) addresses the topic of “breaking barriers” in a comical and deliberately exaggerated way. We chose to develop around the theme of social differences and their impact on society, represented in a geomorphologic way through a kingdom located in “Highlands” comparing a second kingdom, “Lowlands”, the first a “has it all” bling-bling Kingdom, the second being low and having absolutely nothing, both unable to communicate with each other ! At the beginning of the story, misunderstandings and fears generated by social differences and ignorance are highlighted. The needs of the badly-off opposed to the wasteful and “take it for granted” attitude of the rich. Curiosity towards each other is tinged with fear, prejudice and desires. However, everyone tries to accommodate his or her condition, but ultimately cannot help but suffer from very different but real frustrations, depending on whether they are at the top or bottom of the social ladder. If he remains indifferent to these behaviours at the beginning, the Wizard relents in exasperation to the blind and capricious attitude of the rich and decides to bring them “down a peg or two”; so, in two stages he physically brings the two kingdoms closer together reducing the difference in terrain between them until eventually they are level with one another. They are now obliged to overcome their fears and prejudices and find a way to communicate with each other. Each and all, trying to break their own barriers, be it, conscious or unconscious.
Learning a new language, using body language
Using “theatre tool pedagogy” has been Eddy Radburns’ approach since its creation in 2007. Voiced by the vast majority of its students, learning English with English Com’Eddy Theatre is a much appreciated method here in Bordeaux. For the final performance in Bacau, Eddy Radburn decided to experiment by creating a new amusing and often hilarious language sounding like a sort of “water language”. It was an opportunity for him to practice his methodology with a different language, a language that no one had heard before. Therefore challenging and putting to the test the very methods that he has been exploiting for many years. In doing so, he had to dig down deeper into this way of teaching, thus making an understandable communicative interaction through mime and voice totally indispensable. He wrote a short 10 minute sketch for 3 characters with 3 different “water languages” he then worked on a simple but effective stage direction. A new lexicon was created to achieve this. We witnessed at the end of the sketch that the 3 characters interpreting their roles managed to communicate by exchanging certain key words and to integrate these words into their own water language.
It was a convincing and rewarding experience for both learner and spectator that emphasized the importance of body language, vocal sound and emotional expression. The students who participated in this experiment enjoyed learning and playing in a completely unknown dialectal. This experience has highlighted that learning languages through the bias of theatre “playing for learning” is truly a method that holds its own against conventional teaching pedagogy.
We are Specialists in English language learning through theatre techniques. An original method using corporal expression, facilitating memorization. The principal aim is to free students of their apprehension and uncertainty, giving them self-assurance, so that expressing oneself in a foreign language doesn’t appear to be as complicated as first thought. It should be fun to learn. Humour is our battle cry!
Using original “made to measure” texts, for people with differing levels of the English language, improves your oral skills by putting into practice, expressions, slang and vocabulary of “Everyday English”. Every sketch or play that is created is accompanied with full MP3 audio support that the student can download.