Dr Korczak's Example on BBC radio 4

Saturday Play
Dr Korczak's Example, by David Greig

[avec un résumé en français]

Dr Korczak's ExampleBased on the true story of Janusz Korczak, best-selling children's novelist, paediatrician and social experimenter, who set up a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw and ran it as a children's democracy.

In the play, when the Nazis close in on Warsaw, Korczak and the children are forced to move into the ghetto - stretching Korczak's pacifist ideals to the limit. But the doctor's values are threatened not only by the Nazi regime but by the arrival of a young Jewish boy who believes in fighting back.

TAG Theatre Company (in Glasgow) commissioned David Greig to write this play as part of Making the Nation. From September to November 2001 , TAG toured Dr Korczak's Example to secondary schools across Scotland.

"I thought your play was cool. I liked the wee doll guys. The slap was pretty cool as well! You made look so real with the costumes and stuff. I'm interested in history but you have to read books and I can't read very well so I liked the acting. It would be good if you looked at it a different way. Like if you were the Nazis and see what they've got to say." said a pupil from Queensferry High School, Edinburgh.

In May 2002, TAG was delighted to revive Dr Korczak's Example by David Greig, for the Bank of Scotland Children's International Theatre Festival in Edinburgh.

In May and June 2003, TAG was thrilled that not only the Children's International Theatre Festival but also The London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) invited them to revive Dr Korczak’s Example. This was the first time that LIFT invited a Scottish company to perform. Dr Korczak’s Example also played to public audiences in the Tron Theatre, Glasgow in June.

"Densely argued and beautifully written, this is a big compassionate and knotty little play that reminds that remaining human in the face of totalitarian oppression is a triumph that cannot be snatched away or rubbed out." Lyn Garner, The Guardian said.

In Belgium, the theater's « Le Rideau de Bruxelles » has produced the English version of the piece under the tittle "The example of Dr. Korczak". Played for two successive seasons in 2003, it met a great success with both critics and adults and kids. Teachers also benefited from a teaching pack, added with a special play for children entitled "The king Mathias I, a story…", followed by a full day at the theater with Korczak exhibit and workshops on the two plays

The team Theater and the actors were completely involved and they had done an outstanding job. Partner at the outset of the project, in response to their call to expand on the educational level, the French Association Janusz Korczak and its members were pleased to lend their contributions. The AFJK keeps the memory of a formidable absolutely production which had a significant impact in the Belgian capital, and was also a very successful teamwork.

[French - En français]

Dr Korczak's ExampleEn Belgique, le théâtre du Rideau de Bruxelles a produit la version française de la pièce de David Greig évoquée ici à l'occasion d'une rediffusion à la BBC, sous le titre « L’Exemple du docteur Korczak ». [Photo © Theatre du Rideau]

Jouée pendant deux saisons successives en 2003, elle a rencontré un très grand succès tant auprès des critiques et des adultes que des adolescents. Les enseignants bénéficiaient aussi d’un pack pédagogique, plus un spectacle réservé aux enfants intitulé « Le roi Mathias Ier, une histoire… », suivi d’une journée au théâtre avec exposition sur Korczak et ateliers sur les thèmes des deux pièces.

L’équipe du théâtre du Rideau et les comédiens s’étaient entièrement impliqués et ils avaient réalisé un travail remarquable. Associée dès le départ au projet, à la suite d’un appel du théâtre pour le développer sur le plan pédagogique, l’Association Française Janusz Korczak et ses membres avait eu le plaisir d’apporter leur contributions. L’AFJK garde le souvenir d’une production absolument… exemplaire qui a eu un fort impact dans la capitale belge, et aussi d’un travail collaboratif très réussi.

Bernard Lathuillère, 12/2007

The TAG Theatre, which its dedicated webpage has been cancelled in 2008, unfortunally
— The teachers’resource pack which accompanies our production of Dr Korczak’s Example by David Greig, part of TAG’s Making the Nationproject [PDF, 405 Ko 9 p.]
2002-2003, in French, in BRUSSELS
Dossier pédagogique en ligne du Rideau de Bruxelles
Birmingham Young Rep Theatre Company - Touring Production/2004
BBC radio 4 program, 1st july 2006, 14:30

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