The theatre educator stands between the worlds of theatre and the audience, deepening their mutual contact, curiosity and respect. His task is to bring the performing arts to different social groups, to care for the audience community of a particular theatre venue, to create and implement artistic and educational programs for the public.
The aim of a theatre lecturer is not to instruct and flatten the experience of a theatrical piece by providing information and explanations. Instead, it is to encourage a mutual exchange of impulses between the theatre and its audience, to develop the themes of the productions through various methods, and to stimulate discussion. It helps to make theatre art accessible to less experienced audiences, building their relationship to dramatic art and to theatre in particular.
The theatre educator breaks down the sometimes still strongly persistent view of the position of the spectator as a passive consumer of the performed art. The most frequent formats of accompanying programmes are creative workshops for productions (most often as preparation before attending a performance or reflection afterwards), workshops on theatre skills or areas related to theatre production, discussions with artists, introductions to theatre operations, theatre professions, the creation of a production, etc. Theatre educator communicates with schools and is involved in both the creative education of children and young audiences and methodological cooperation with teachers. He carries out artistic projects in which professionals meet amateur artists, or leads, for example, community theatre groups.
Thanks to the close contact with the audience, the theatre educator manages to provide valuable feedback, making a major contribution to the expansion of the current and future audience base. Together with dramaturgs, it is the theatre educator who brings formats of communication with the public that reflect the current social situation and problems in an appropriate way.
The work of a theatre educator is closely linked to many areas of theatre work, making it an integral part of the theatre organism. At the same time, a theatre educator is a person of many professions him/herself: he/she is a teacher, an artist, a producer, a recruiter, a secretary, deals with fundraising, PR strategies, grant applications, etc.
Currently, theatre educators have the opportunity to train mainly at the Department of Drama in Education at DAMU (The Academy od Performing Arts in Prague) and at the Theatre and Education Studio at JAMU (Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts). Both departments offer comprehensive education in the field of theatre, education and lecturing. However, theatre educators are also often theatre professionals from other professions: dramaturgs, actors, directors, marketing staff, etc.
The field of theatre education is still developing and defining itself, not only in the Czech Republic. This is logically due to the constantly changing forms of living culture and the demand of society, but also to dynamic socio-cultural influences. The theatre educator helps both parties (audience and creators) to reflect on each other's needs and find common points of interest. This is also why the position of the theatre educator appears to be crucial. For theatres that want to responsibly perform a public cultural service and respond to the contemporary world with art, cooperation with theatre educators is essential.