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Learning games

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-27 07:40
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Liu Tianchi, founder of a Beijing-based workshop, which aims to cultivate acting talent. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Actress and educator Liu Tianchi started to teach children theater in 2018 to fulfill a promise she made in 2008 after the deadly earthquake rocked Sichuan province in May that year.

A local primary school principal requested Dongdong Xiezi ("move the shoes"), a Beijing-based nonprofit children's theater troupe, to stage a play in the province on Children's Day in June.

Liu became director of the production. Her team had to pick cast members, adapt a picture book story into a stage play and complete rehearsals in a week. Later they performed in major cities hit by the earthquake.

Along the way, she had in-depth conversations with Li Minghua, head of the troupe, and learned that theater education does not aim to cultivate young talent, but to support children's personal growth, Liu recalls.

"Theatrical methods are utilized as a set of tools in children's education, to help children acquire knowledge and skills, know themselves, support their personal growth and develop a healthy mindset, as well as express their emotions. Because a lot of theatrical methods are like games, they are easier for children to accept," Liu says.

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