How do you get German and British students working as a team, practising their language and learning a large sweep of German / European history? An Act the Facts scripted drama is the key!
The angels of Berlin, Eirene and Goldelse, joined with Barlach’s angel to become observers of the many people who have ebbed and flowed through Berlin. Men and women, from Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl to Bismarck and Angela Merkel, from the Trümmerfrauen to Kaiserin Victoria, and from Albrecht de Bär to Kathe Köllwitz. The great city of Berlin came to life as the characters debated how much Berlin is the mythical heart of the German nation, how much Berlin is warlike, and the impact of migrants on the city. Berlin emerged as a city with eyes wide open to the past, embracing the future.
The students had read their parts and collected some costume items before we gathered. What followed was then a hectic few hours, reading through, staging, timing to screen and music, making cardboard armour, all punctuated with burgers, pretzels, stollen, mince pies and battenburg cake.
Our audience were very appreciative, and it was great to see four ‘alumni’ of the History English Club who are now at university in Berlin. Mount students then spent Advent Sunday evening with host families, before meeting at the airport next morning for the trek home. Another wonderful time for the Grünheide-York Partnership. Next time in York – 2016 project is in the planning stage, maybe something about national and European identities and their histories…