Continued support and promotion of drama in schools (within various subjects, as a lesson in itself, but also as a means of self-improvement and education); organisation (with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth) of the Pancyprian School Theatre Games; advice about theatre in schools in Cyprus; organisation of training seminars and workshops for teachers involved in theatre, etc.
As far as the training of teachers is concerned, this is mainly covered by our Wednesday Workshops, which are available at a special low price. They chiefly relate to the needs of teachers themselves but also cover other topics.
At the Pancyprian School Theatre Games, run jointly with the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth, Thoc also holds training workshops for teachers who stage performances and provides financial support for the schools.
Thoc’s Theatre Development Department is chiefly responsible for organising the Games, but the decisions are taken by the Joint Committee for Theatre in Education comprising three members from Thoc’s Board of Directors and the Theatre Development Officer, together with three members appointed by the ministry. The Ministry of Education presides over the committee.
We also welcome school groups to the Thoc Building for visits, guided tours and workshops, and occasionally makes presentations and gives talks etc. in schools.
Beneficiaries: the 200 teachers and 1200 children on average who take part in the Games every year with sixty or so shows, and the 20-25 thousand adults (at a conservative estimate) who watch them. This number does not include all the children from the participating schools who watch the performances.
The Games touch every stage of the education system and all areas of society, since the involvement of parents makes it a community event.
The Pancyprian School Theatre Games
The first attempt to organise a school theatre festival was in 1982, with the formation of a special joint committee by Thoc and the Ministry of Education that aimed to strengthen theatre education and incorporate drama into schools.
The committee’s decision to improve the theatrical infrastructure in Cyprus was prompted by its evaluation of ten performances by schools from various provinces and its subsequent finding of significant shortcomings in terms of theatre education. This long-term but essential process is ongoing.
The School Theatre Festival become an annual event in 1991, when it was held for the second time, while in 1994 it changed its name to the Pancyprian School Theatre Games. Between 2007 and 2011 there was no competitive aspect to the event, and instead of prizes being presented, a panel of experts gave detailed feedback and advice about the productions. This fundamental change in the philosophy of the Games was designed to strengthen theatre education. From 1992 to 2008, one of the performances each year was selected to represent Cyprus at the Panhellenic Artistic Games. Since 2002, the Games have been held in memory of Panagiotis Sergis.
The Twentieth Pancyprian School Theatre Games
In 2009, the anniversary event marking twenty years of the Games hosted sixty-four secondary, technical and private schools.
The Games were held in three regions (Nicosia, Larnaca/free Famagusta, and Limassol/Paphos) with the expert committees nominating one production from each region to be performed at Latsia Municipal Theatre on 27, 28 & 29 April 2009.
The following plays were performed:
Neil Simon’s Fools by Kykkos Lyceum
Dinos Spyropoulos’s Golfo forever by the Pancyprian Lyceum of Larnaca
Sergi Belbel’s A moment before by Polemidia Lyceum.
As part of the celebrations, the three schools selected by the expert committees participated in an educational theatre trip to Greece on 1-3 May, during which they had the opportunity to see a play in Athens, visit the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, etc.
The twentieth anniversary celebrations culminated in theatre workshops in Cyprus with the American expert James Thomas Bailey for the students and teachers who had taken part in the Games. They took place from 5 to 12 May in Nicosia, Paralimni (including Larnaca), Paphos and Limassol. During his stay on Cyprus, Mr. Bailey also held workshops for primary school teachers. In total, more than 680 teachers and children participated in them.
The Pancyprian School Theatre Games today
More than sixty schools from all over Cyprus now take part in the Games, performing both contemporary theatre and ancient drama. All the performances are watched by three-member expert committees. For organisational purposes, contemporary theatre is judged in four separate regions (Nicosia, Larnaca/free Famagusta, Limassol, and Paphos), while performances of ancient drama are assessed across the whole country.
Each expert committee can select up to three middle school performances and up to three lyceum performances (contemporary theatre and ancient drama), regardless of the number of participating schools, provided that, in the opinion of the committee, the standard of the performances is worthy of distinction.