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Zhiren Theatre Festival: A Theatre Festival in Chinese Primary School Based on Drama in Education

· Drama in Education

Zhiren Theatre Festival is organized by Tianfu No.7 High School Primary Section (also called Zhiren Academy) which is a primary school located in Chengdu, China, and to be held from 9th to 17th December, 2021

This theatre festival consists of four parts: Environmental Theatre, Cultural Heritage, Experimental Theatre and Future World, and its basis is the daily courses of drama in education of this primary school. The Chinese name of this theatre festival is "youxi", which means the children's future full of hope and their life in schools are warm and interesting. 

All the content of the theatre festival are from the daily drama courses, but not specifically designed for the festival, so it aims to show a real view for the school's efforts on drama in education. The body percussion, instruments in daily life, dance theatre, improvisational theatre, etc. are from the art education team, and the readers' theatre, environmental theatre reading, English drama, etc. are from the language education team. The science fiction exhibitions are a collaboration between art education and scientific education. 

Today in Zhiren Academy, there are seven teachers in the art education team, and they are intending to build up integrated art education to break the barriers among the disciplines of music, dance, fine arts, etc., with drama in education as the leading power. There are four drama classes per week for all the students of the school. This is very innovative and pioneering in China. The drama education of Zhiren Academy is led by Miao Bin, PhD candidate and MA of Drama in Education in Department of Theatre Studies, University of Peloponnese in Greece. He is also a member of IDEA, and the drama teacher and the leader of art education team of the school. As Miao Bin said, this is an experiment, hard but meaningful. 

In their design, the whole campus is full of theatre and drama. So they "built" a "theatre valley", and emphasized the value as "theatre fostering on campus". They "created" many theatrical spaces in the school, such as Valley Theatre which is a platform with steps, Cloud Theatre which is an empty space on the third floor, Incubation Theatre which is the drama classroom, as well as the dance classroom, library, stadium, etc. Even a tree on the underground floor is considered to be a perfect location for theatrical activities. 

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