Slovene theatre school paves the way for European integration

When Slovenia joins the EU next year it will be part of a 25 nation group which speaks around 20 languages. There is no common language among EU countries - except perhaps defacto - English - although many will deny that. But given that most people attempt their cross-cultural contact through English - Slovenia is doing something to improve it's teaching by actively using the language in student theatre. Radio Slovenia International has talked to members of the English student theatre at one of the grammar schools in Maribor.

The actors, singers and dancers of this theatre group are all students of the grammar school and their mentor, manager and director is their English teacher Emil Pecnik. He was so kind to tell us more about the theatre history:

"Well, we started 15 years ago, I was an English teacher. I gave the students a bit more than just a regular classroom activities and considering the fact, that theatre is also one of my hobbies, I combined the two, which means English and the theatre. I organized a small group of the students at the beginning of this 15-year career of work and we did some sketches, some songs and then, you know, it just started to grow. Which means we gave a bit more thought to what we really want. Do we want something that is traditional, or do we want something new in our educational system? So, I came up with the idea that a musical might be something that the students would like doing, because in the first place a musical is not really a theatrical genre in Slovenia that is popular, and the second thing is that this is one of identities of the Anglo-Saxon world."

By performing in musicals the students actually do what they like most. They sing, dance and perform. Among them is Peter Harl:

"I first saw a show of English student theatre 6 years ago. They were playing Aladdin, and I liked it so much that I decided to go for an audition. I made it and now I'm playing the main role in the Lion King."

The student theatre will present the Lion King also at the international festival lent. The previous performances included the following musicals: The Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ super star, Les Miserables and many others.

"I have to say that with every performance I am born anew, which means it is just like - I don't know- bringing up a child and you know what it's like raising a child. I can really measure the performance by saying how many people saw the performance, but every single performance gives us great satisfaction."

It is entertaining and fulfilling to work with young people and to join ones love for theatre with the profession. It seems that Emil Pecnik has chosen the right profession.