THEATRE – Theatre as Empowerment Methodology for Vocational Training


Project Coordinator: Centro Studi Opera Don Calabria (Ferrara)

Duration: 1.10.2013-30.09.2015

Funding: European Union – Life-long Learning Programme (Leonardo da Vinci: Transfer of Innovation)

Partner Countries: Poland, Italy, Germany, Turkey, United Kingdom

Target groups: young learners at risk of drop-out in vocational training, educators and trainers engaged in vocational training (VET)

Project website:


The THEATRE project aims to transfer innovative learning approach, based on theatrical experience to motivate young people at risk of drop out in vocational training (VET). The methodological approach has been developed by the applicant organization, Centro Studi Opera Don Calabria from Ferrara. The methodology was found to be helpful in creating stimulating, motivational and enriching experiences for both teachers and their students mainly because it is primarily used as a tool for personal growth. The transfer of this approach is realized through comparison between the good practice and other partners’ territorial approaches.

According to local background and partners’ skills, effective implementation of the theatrical experience could be tailored differently. For example, partners who are already used to theatrical experience as means of education could improve it by introducing elements of vocational training, directly or with the support of other organisations: VET competences have been thought as connected to digital and ICT competences, as the theatrical workshops lend themselves to film, photography and ICT for editing and digital skills. According to specific needs, other vocational and key competences could be implemented. Partners could organise theatrical workshops as a supporting partner of other VET providers or other organisations in need of (re) motivating students, especially younger ones and those experiencing disadvantages (disability, difficult social and economic backgrounds etc.)

Main activities:

1.Training course:

All partners participated in a training course on the methodology developed by Centro Studi Opera Don Calabria. The course offered the partners the opportunity to actively learn how to develop and boost learners’ interpersonal skills, to engage students in the learning process and increase their motivation, and to integrate the theatrical methods into a VET curriculum.

Methodology description:

The method incorporates theatrical experience into the educational process by developing students’ personal potential which often remains latent. This experimental project starts from the recognition of the infinite human potential. It allows pupils to develop creative thinking related to their own experiences, which are often difficult and painful, through the organization of their own inner resources. In this way pupils can start to get to manage their emotions and develop their potential.

Corporeal improvisation techniques are among the most suitable ones to articulate the needs of teenagers with little awareness of their own communication skills. Improvisation through the body, gestures, and music, offers a tool that allows young learners to develop their imagination and symbolic representations of their inner world, together with the capacity to express their inner feelings.

Starting from purely corporeal theatrical experience, through adding more verbal exercises, trainers can introduce educational content. Then, it can become gradually integrated into the curriculum as its integral part.



The photos present the final performance of the training course which took place in Germany, 2014.

2.Pilot workshops in partnership countries:

All partners organized pilot workshops in their countries. The pilots were addressed to educators, enabling them to integrate this methodology into their teaching plans.
Example workshop activity:

Game of the circle with the ball

The objective of the game is the formation of a group with new rules, space exploration and the consequent psycho-motor awareness. Here you can define the first group rules: be / be there, recognize / self-recognize, be recognized / change / get lost / find each other. Here you begin to develop integration of the self within a context of socialization and to establish a relationship of trust.

How it is performed:

The game is started with a group of people sitting in a circle on chairs equally spaced. You pass an object, which is often a ball, saying your name. At this point the creation of a “new” group starts and the first phase of self-management through new friends begins.

At the beginning of each new round with the object, participants build a world increasingly compact with others, through specific requests, which are suggested at the beginning of each round.

At the end of each round specific questions are asked about what happened, allowing the participants not to feel embarrassed about the possible banality of their answers, immediately highlighting the good observation skills of those who are ready to expose themselves.


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