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DARWIN BANNING

SCHOOLS MANIfESTO 

A theatre of education has been happening for years and no-one noticed. A farce, a comedy or a tragedy. Pick one.

Existing theatre in education has so far served merely to amplify and regurgitate passé, dead non-issues – scared to break new ground for fear offending community standards defined by the most conservative of lowest common denominators, scared to break new ground for fear of losing their funding.

 The only viable was a contemporary theatre-in-education group can survive and begin to realize its function is by confronting the future of choices – or the choice of futures – without fear. What we need is an explosion of possibilities – available, non-defining, liberating, exciting possibilities – a directory of alternative lifestyles and opportunities, an equalizer to balance the cultural, political and sociological mumbo-jumbo laid on a largely unsuspecting student body. A realization and ratification within schools that what is happening outside the instit­ution is real, can exist and could become the future.

Reality is infinitely malleable – it’s just what we choose it to be.

 And then Doreen Hooper came into our life:

 

Acting Director: Department of Education

 

The Headmaster:

The Spy:

Never one to use ten words where ten thousand will do, The Entrepreneur responds:

Not content with boring the Director of Education to death, he adds this plaintive coda:

 Darwin was the end of the 1975 season.

 

Despite desperate measures to acquire hardware, software, innovative educational change, classroom comfort, adequate teacher/student ratio and the rest of .the progressive educational jargon that gets dollars from the funding bodies; the single, unalterable fact remains that the kids are bored. Bored with irrelevancies, teacher and parental confusion, jargon and theories; bored with a school system that is effectively little more than an inefficient child minding service. They want action – and if the machinery and provision for this action is missing, misdirected or’ mislaid, apathy and evaporation of their vital energy must follow – or destruction arising from frustration. Either alternative as an end product achieves little.

Schools are being dragged screaming into the future – and they are being dragged by their students. Realization of the failures of the system has only been followed by the search for the perfect schooling – oblivious to the fact that there is no perfect system – rather a vast array of choices available; ‘the ‘pick-a-box’ mentality still prevails – egged on by the dying remnants of the lucky country’. The laws of chance must be stacked against you; otherwise it’d be too easy, wouldn’t it?

The choice of realities open to kids is much wider now than ever before. The .so-called ‘community’ has proved to be just a collection of different and divergent realities with only the changing politics of human relations to bind them…. moral and community standards are only serving to sharpen the edges of these realities, forcing a decision on which to accept and join earlier and earlier in the lives of the students.

Whole avenues of shining choices available are considered dangerous – threats to the status quo. They are ignored, dismissed, forbidden, banned at a grass roots level. Visible (and invisible) demonstrations of the counter-culture within schools run into big trouble caused by the big ear – that the battle is already lost and that the future is going to happen – regardless.

We confirm the fear. It is. And that future is being built today.