Shall I approach thee through improvised play? Dramatising poetry

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Giebert, Stefanie
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Department of German, University College Cork
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Dramatising poetry in the language classroom – why and how? I first realised the dramatic potential of poetry when adapting Shakespeare’s sonnets for a university drama club. Staging a full-length play based on a poetry-cycle is usually not possible in class, but individual poems are mostly short and thus well-suited for exploration during a class-period. Despite this being a window of practice article, I will give a short overview of reasons for approaching poetry through drama before I describe concrete exercises. Moreover, besides ideas for dramatising Shakespearean sonnets, other authors’ ideas about dramatising poetry in general will be included as well. The articles that resulted from my database search on 'dramatising poetry' focus on two different target groups. Articles about poetry in L1 classrooms tend to focus on how students can be encouraged to appreciate poetry in itself (Feinberg 1979, Taylor 1994, Comeaux 1994) or on how certain types of poems can be taught (Rodberg & Jennings 2007 or Newlin & Bradford 2011 on sonnets). Texts about poetry in foreign/second language classrooms, however, often see poetry as a means to an end, a tool for improving learners’ language proficiency (Tomlinson 1986, Gasparro & Falletta 1994, Elting & Firkins 2006, Hestnes ...
Giebert, S. (2014) 'Shall I approach thee through improvised play? Dramatising poetry', Scenario: A Journal of Performative Teaching, Learning, Research, VIII(2), pp. 107-114.