chapter  5
The Theatre in Education actor
ByCora Williams
Pages 18

In 1965 when Coventry Education Authority and the Belgrade Theatre started Theatre in Education, unknowingly they invented a new breed of actor. Some were employed from theatre, some from teaching; they were called actor-teachers. The term encapsulates the very nature of the then new theatre form, a hybrid, one species emanating from educational drama and the other from a traditional British theatre background. The new breed was viewed with suspicion from the start and little has changed over twenty-eight years. Those who are concerned about status are distressed to acknowledge that each of its two root professions undervalues the TIE actor. This suspicion is largely a product of ignorance. TIE is a hidden theatre form. It plays in private behind closed school doors. Yet when directors and actors from mainstream theatre are persuaded to attend as visitors they note with surprise the talent of the actors; teachers, also with surprise, remark on the effective teaching techniques the actors deploy.