The stairs are out of order, please use the lift: Tapping Surrealism f – Rhinegold Publishing

The stairs are out of order, please use the lift: Tapping Surrealism for creative ideas


Surrealism is an art/literature movement from the 1920s which sits well with the genre-blending approaches of today. It has a broad scope in performance and is characterised by the juxtaposition of incongruous images which include dream or fantasy elements from the subconscious mind.

At first glance, Surrealism has little place in our contemporary exam and assessment environment. However, it’s a fun and challenging way into the performing arts in general, and drama in particular at any age.

The exam boards’ new AS/A level specifications require study of texts and plays from different periods; the work of varied practitioners; devising; deconstructing and wide contexts. Surrealism as a stimulus introduces team work, problem solving and innovative creativity in students at the outset, as warm-up for exam work or as end of term fun. This scheme will look at some bizarre, absurd and off-beat ideas. It’s worth also looking at my previous scheme Using Postmodernism in Drama and Theatre Making on the Teaching Drama website.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:
  • Considered Surrealism’s approaches to the performing arts
  • Deconstructed, analysed and devised surrealistic material
  • Put ideas into social, historical and cultural contexts
  • Stimulated creative thinking, problem-solving and team work through performance
  • Developed devising and performing skills using surrealistic material.
Number of lessons: 5

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