Conquering the Zoombies

Why we need drama in online settings




Drama online, Zoombies, Digital pedagogy, wellbeing, Reciprocity, Creativity, Teacher Training, Reflexivity, Play


In this piece we offer a reflexive account of our recent experiences of teaching with drama in two different online settings. Eva will recount her practice teaching trainee teachers in Switzerland and Nicky will recall her practice working with postgraduate applied theatre students in a drama school in the UK. Over and over again, we have encountered the mind-set that teaching drama online is “not possible”, or at the very least, that it is but a pale reflection of face-to-face teaching. Although we were out of our comfort zone at first, we now feel that teaching with drama online has its place in our fast-paced and increasingly technological world. Teaching and learning in digital contexts will likely remain a reality from now on, thus it is the purpose of this article to make the case for the creative potential of and indeed urgent need for online teaching that includes drama. 

Author Biographies

Eva Göksel

Eva Göksel is a doctoral candidate at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, with a master’s in education examining Drama in French as a Second Language from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Between 2014 and 2020, Eva was a research assistant at the Centre for Oral Communication, PH Zug, Switzerland, where she introduced Drama in Education to students and staff. Eva co-organises the annual Drama in Education Days.

Nicola Abraham, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Nicola Abraham is Senior Lecturer in Applied Theatre Practices at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has most recently been working on a range of digital applied theatre, film and virtual reality storytelling projects in NHS hospitals to develop new person-centred approaches to creating bespoke creative artefacts, including VR 360 videos, intergenerational augmented reality-based process dramas with primary school children and older adult patients living with dementia, and films to improve subjective wellbeing of patients in acute dialysis wards. She has published in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance (RiDE), Applied Theatre Research, Contemporary Theatre Review and co-edited the 2nd Edition of The Applied Theatre Reader (2020), Supporting Patients Living with Dementia During a Pandemic: Digital Theatre and educational spaces (2023) and Applied Theatre with Urban Youth: Witnessing Change (forthcoming, 2023).


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