An Open Source Hamlet? Review of Hamlet or Three Boys and One Girl (adapted and directed by Nikolay Georgiev and the @lma @lter Student Theatre-Laboratory) at the Theatre Hall of Sofia University
Hamlet or three boys and one girl, directed by Nikolay Georgiev and currently performed at the University of Sofia by the Student Theatre-Laboratory @lma @lter, is clearly a scholarly production of Shakespeare’s play. It builds upon three major theoretical cornerstones: i) Jan Kott’s essay Hamlet of the Mid-Century, ii) Heiner Mueller’s play Hamletmachine, and Jerzy Grotowski’s approach to theatre. Continue reading →
The second part of the Project for Introducing Innovative Methods and Technologies for Improving the Quality of Teaching English and American Studies at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski,” entitled “Developing Innovative Electronic Courses and Resources,” envisions a series of interdependent activities to be undertaken within the two-year time period of the project, in order to achieve the sustainable introduction and optimal utilization of modern digital technologies in the teaching practice of the faculty at the Department of English and American Studies at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski.” Continue reading →
This survey course focuses on the history of ideas and the main representative figures of the High Renaissance in England and the transition to the Baroque. It outlines the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline ages and highlights the social, political and cultural characteristics of each. The discussion centers around the key figures of Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne and Milton. Seminar discussions follow a similar agenda, offering a close reading of exemplary texts, such as The Faerie Queene, The Spanish Tragedy, Doctor Faustus, As You Like It, Macbeth and Paradise Lost. Continue reading →
Ever since the 1960s educational theory has paid serious attention to the utility of play in early education. Influential early theorists in this area include Jean Piaget, according to whom through free play with different objects children discover how the world works (assimilation), and Lev Vygotsky, according to whom play helps children to create a safe environment, where they can perform above their current level (zone of proximal development). Currently, these ideas are developed by new generations of researchers and sometimes applied in early education.
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Over the last thirty years teaching through performance has established itself as a useful approach to Shakespeare’s dramatic works all over the world. So far, this approach has not been used systematically at Sofia University. To fill this gap an experimental workshop was launched in 2011 to test up-to-date performance-based classroom practices and establish interdisciplinary collaborations, as well as to explore the potential of these activities for enhancing student learning. The more immediate objective of the workshop was to stage an amateur production of Love’s Labour’s Lost involving students as much as possible in theatre-related decision-making processes, such as adapting the play text, designing costumes, props, special effects, directing individual scenes as well as the whole production, etc. The paper reports on the achievements of the workshop and invites discussion in the more general context of the modern crisis in the humanities as we know them (at least at Sofia University) and the necessary paradigm shift from passive to active learning with a stronger emphasis on using creative pedagogies for fostering healthy self-confidence, developing transferable skills and gaining social intelligence alongside teaching content.
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Given the current social, political and economic situation in the world, hardly anyone still doubts that the most important means of keeping crises at bay and achieving sustainable growth is education – after all, as Ramez Naam’s most recent book persuasively argues, the capacity of the human brain is the only infinite resource on our physically finite planet. Policy makers both in the EU and elsewhere emphasise the crucial role of education for long-term prosperity in a globalised environment Continue reading →