Forum Theatre for Children

Enhancing social, emotional and creative development

Paperback / softback, 144 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 Feb 2015
Trentham Books

Price: £16.99

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Forum Theatre can help primary as well as secondary school students to explore personal and collective challenges in their lives. Its secure scaffolding enables them to share their views and fears and develop their social, emotional and creative skills.

In Forum Theatre for Children educational psychologist Nick Hammond describes each step of the process of FT – the activities, workshops and performances – so that adults who work with children can develop their own FT projects to explore issues children are concerned about. He takes readers through real-life FT models that have helped children to cope in conditions of austerity and family instability, and to explore difficult issues such as transition – be it to secondary school, a new home or even a new country. The book shows how FT can develop children's sense of solidarity, belonging, problem-solving, constructive protest and community membership, and give them a way to experiment with roles and find sustainable real-life solutions to personal and shared challenges.

This book is an invaluable resource for primary and secondary school teachers, drama teachers and trainee teachers, and for psychologists, youth workers, social workers, drama students, theatre practitioners, art therapists and others interested in working with children and young people in educational and community settings.

  • Nick Hammond

    Dr Nick Hammond is an educational and child psychologist, a social theatre practitioner and film maker.

CONTENTS: 1. Setting the scene; 2. The workshops; 3. The performance; 4. De-role and aftercare; 5. Resources and materials for a forum theatre project; 6. The road less travelled: The unanswered questions and research potential of FT; References; Index

'Written for a broad audience by an applied psychologist uniquely placed to apply psychological principles to the therapeutic potential of theatre, this short and very readable book is an excellent source for getting started in this area.

One feels in the safe hands of a practitioner who has walked the talk and shares his experience in a no-nonsense, non-expert but authoritative style.

The text can be used as a framework that empowers readers to develop their own approach creatively. Key terms and ideas are explained in a practical way and great care is taken to draw on various forms of evidence that comprehensively illustrate the approach and engage the reader throughout.'

Martin Hughes, Lecturer in Educational Psychology, University of Sheffield

'This book allows the reader to progress from a basic understanding of a forum theatre project to potentially being able to facilitate the project successfully. There is a clear, progressive structure with thorough and detailed examples. It adopts a holistic approach for professionals, and is child-focused, making it a useful tool to support them in managing their social and emotional needs.'

Morven Davey, Head of Inclusion, Ellis Guilford School

'A thought-provoking book that I, as a professionally qualified youth worker, can use as a tool and a guide to dip in and out of. It's a must-read that is practical, accessible and concise.

The author has provided a complete informative package regarding the use, purposes and needs of forum theatre, highlighting the limitless possibilities of giving those that I work alongside the freedom to engage and express their thoughts and experiences within a safe space and distance with the understanding that there is no right, wrong or judged experience, and with topics and subjects arising through play that are significant to them, and yield realistic solutions, which is vital in youth work.

This book can only be an asset to practitioners and to the individuals and groups they engage with, as it emphasizes the importance of exploration to develop the learning and self-awareness within us all. Both enlightening and powerful.'

Sarah-Jayne Bailey, Qualified Youth Worker, Plymouth

'Nick Hammond's book is a much-needed, stimulating and essential resource for anyone who works with children and young people. It is an inspirational guidebook that gives a nuanced introduction to the dynamics of running forum theatre, and it gives the reader an in-depth appreciation of FT’s challenges and creative possibilities. Dr Hammond offers rigorous and empirically grounded insights, alongside vivid case examples to illustrate vital considerations that need to be understood before embarking on a forum theatre project. FT is not for the faint-hearted and this book does an excellent job in showing how it can be used to tackle the difficult task of empowering and listening to those who are disempowered and marginalized. The book demonstrates how psychology and the arts can be used in constructive ways to challenge injustice and oppression; it also shows how to work with children and young people in a collaborative manner to resist oppressive practices and to help them avoid falling into spiralling states of helplessness. This book is highly recommended for educators, community workers, and for all those of us who aspire to give voice to the voiceless, wherever they may be.'

Dr Glenn A. Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

‘a careful and stimulating guide [to FT] in a style both densely packed but also accessible…Hammond’s chapter on aftercare is a strength of this book.’

Dr Anne Fry, Educational Psychology in Practice, 13:49, April 2016