Everyone remembers that ‘one’ teacher who helped inspire, encourage, or left a lasting impression during their school years. Equally, we all remember the ones who you dreaded encountering too. John Godber’s writing in Teechers encapsulates these experiences brilliantly. From the inspirational new drama teacher, and “stuffy” Mathematics teacher to the “prissy” stuck-up PE teacher.
The cast of three (Michael Ayiotis, Terenia Barlow, and Ciara Morris) switch quickly between the role of students and teachers throughout the performance. Quick-witted humour, dancing, and singing (sort of) keep the performance flowing. The fast-paced changes and challenges faced by the secondary school environment have been perfected.
Whitewall is a struggling secondary school that knows its failings before it begins. The students don’t believe they are worthy of a good education, and the teachers are stuck in a rut, even in the staff room. Even the established Maths teacher chooses to send his twins to the rival Private school St George’s.
Hobbs’s performance as the new drama teacher brings hope to the horizon. Offering the kids an escape from the treadmill and space to create their destiny. However, she becomes worn down by the attitudes of teachers and the establishment, demoralised she leaves for pastures new. leaving hurt and angry students behind her who take her departure personally. Who can blame her she doesn’t even have a permanent classroom!
Breaking the fourth wall throughout performance and engaging directly with the audience. Pointing out different teachers and people they recognise.
Firmly set in the Summer of 2022 through the eyes of year 11 leavers. Their experience of surviving lockdown isolation and the effect it has left on them. With a year 11 leaver of my own in 2022, I remember how we adapted to all those Zoom lessons at home. It certainly wasn’t easy some days but a whole generation of children showed immense strength and achieved so much through the uncertainty.
I dare say everyone will be able to recognise something of their school days in Teechers. It’s funny, soul-destroying, and entertaining, which for me resembled a term inside the secondary school. Director Adrian McDougall brings these themes to the stage and offers them to the audience without excuses or apologies. Simply an insight and dose of educational reality.
For more information on Teechers and future productions at Theatre Royal Winchester, please visit the link below. Teechers is currently on tour until May 2022.