Academic societies have taken advantage of the unique opportunities that online meetings have provided to host guest speakers remotely, and also join colleagues from other schools. This week, the German and Drama departments invited the City of London Girls School to join them at an online meeting with Professor David Barnett, Head of Theatre and Media at York University and author of several books on Brecht. Sixth Form pupils study Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle and were excited to hear about his views.
He challenged pupils to look at the play from a new angle, focussing on dialectics and Brecht’s use of contradictions in his work. He started with the theory of dialectics, including the views of Hegel and Marx, and then related these theories to The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The session concluded with questions on Brecht’s view of religion and women, as well as why British theatres often produce dissatisfying productions of Brechtian theatre.
Professor Barnett started out as a German undergraduate and taught languages at several universities in the UK and Germany before specialising in Drama. He has set up the website www.brechtinpractice.org.