Theatre is not often seen as being a pastime that many ordinary people do. 'Ordinary people' watch TV or go to the cinema or eat out with friends. Is the theatre only for rich, upper class intellectuals?



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by Chris Rose

In many parts of the world, and not only in the UK, “going to the theatre” is seen as an activity which only a very few people do.

“Theatre” is not often seen as being a pastime that many ordinary people do.  Ordinary people watch tv, or go to the cinema, or go out to eat with friends. The theatre is for rich, upper class intellectuals.

Like a lot of clichés, there is some truth in this. Theatre tickets are quite expensive.  They cost more than cinema tickets.  Theatres which show new plays are usually only in big cities.

However, even though this is true, there are a lot of theatre companies who are challenging this idea.  And the way they are challenging this idea is by working with schools.  In the UK, many theatre companies now have an “educational department”.  Companies such as Complicité, Northern Broadsides and Shared Experience go into schools and help students to understand and enjoy the plays they do.

One company that has made educational work their speciality is the David Glass Ensemble.  The work they do, however, is quite different. The David Glass Ensemble run an ongoing project called “The Lost Child”.  “The Lost Child” is not a play which they travel around the world to perform.  “The Lost Child” doesn’t even have a script.  What exactly is “The Lost Child” then?

“The Lost Child” is a series of activities which actors from the David Glass Ensemble do together with children who are in difficult situations.  They have worked with refugees and victims of child abuse all over the world, mostly in South East Asia, but also in Europe and South America.

Three or four actors from the company spend a period of time, usually three or four weeks, starting from games, drawing and singing to develop the children’s confidence and give them a sense of security.  Out of the childrens’ drawings, and from talking to them, the actors identify some of the children’s problems and ideas, and then they develop a play based on these ideas. Sometimes they have made short films.  Sometimes the plays are a series of sketches and songs.  Sometimes the plays tell one story.  

Children who have taken part in “The Lost Child” almost always end up with a better sense of security, and feel more confident about themselves.  They can show that they have intelligence and creativity, no matter what has happened or is happening in their lives.  They also have more interest in theatre and film.

In Shakespeare’s day going to the theatre was an activity which everyone did.  There were expensive seats for the rich people, and other people could buy a cheap ticket to stand up and watch the play. (This still happens at the rebuilt Globe theatre in London – a theatre which is exactly the same as it was in Shakespeare’s time.  The Globe, of course, also has its educational department).  Even though today’s world is very different, companies like the David Glass Ensemble are helping to create a situation in which the theatre is for everyone.





I usually see on diferent flyers that many plays take place in diferent premises of my city.
Wherever I check the price, generaly it is expensive to my budget, and almost never I can´t enjoy this cultural activity. While it is true that theatre is not cheaper, exist others ways to take the oportunity to assist these events, for example, looking for information about little theatres on the villages. Theirs plays normaly have a small price and are oferted to all ages, childs and adults.
In my opininion, the fact that there are a growing number of companies that spend a part of their work to attend child disparities through theatre activities, shows the importance of feeling and learning by growing as part o a group, which will allow develope "a more human future society" to our childrens.

Thanks for your answer - perfect :) !

Hi! Where is the "TASK" part of this listening? Would love to have a task to this listening :) ! Thanks!

Hello Fei100,

There is only one task for this text and it is under the heading 'Preparation'. It is actually a task to be performed while or after listening rather than before it so the title is not so appropriate.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

no matter what has happened or is happening in their lives.

I´m sorry, I don´t understand lives , could you explain to me lives in this contest?
I think the word is lifes. PLEASE.

Hello rosa,

Like a few other similar words (e.g. 'knife' → 'knives'), 'life' has an irregular plural form: 'lives'. It's not pronounced like the verb 'live' -- it has the same vowel sound as 'life', i.e. /laɪvz/. You can listen to it here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

This articles is interesting. I didn't think the theatre had a different idea of helping children. I like this idea and I like the David Glass Ensemple.

Theatre should be accessible for everyone. Very good what companies like the David Glass Ensemble do!

I love to go to the theatre, but I can't go as often as I would like because it is getting more and more expensive.

I think everybody should go to the theatre more often.

hi i am  a new member, i need to improve m y English what do i do,

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please send me iam waiting for your response.

have a nice day to all