Do you often go to the theatre? Luckily, in Brno there are plenty of possibilities. But what about theatres putting on plays in English? Well, that is possible too, with new English-speaking theatre companies in town.
There are two new theatre companies which put on plays in English – BEST (Brno English Speaking Theatre) and Czech Theater. Both theatres aim to connect the English language with Czech culture. For example, the Czech Theatre has performed Karel Čapek’s R.U.R.and BEST is preparing a production of Wenceslas Squareby Larry Shue. While Czech Theater is mainly amateur, some actors from the Brno City Theatre are involved in BEST. Both companies provide combine enjoyment with brushing up your English.
Seeing a stage play in English is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about improving our English. These days, reading books, listening to podcasts and the radio and watching films in English are more popular ways. Theatre might not appear on the list at all. Still, in my opinion this often overlooked way offers a wide range of benefits.
Firstly, plays are awesome for improving listening and understanding. In addition to the speech of the actors, you have visuals, so in dire necessity you can always guess the plot and emotions hidden behind the actors’ words. As the actors are from various countries, by listening to different accents you get used to people speaking in different ways, not just Received Pronunciation. Besides, the lines are learned and rehearsed in a way that facilitates understanding. In the end, it may be easier to understand a play at the theatre than, let’s say, an interview with a celebrity on YouTube.
Secondly, plays can provide a view of environments that learners of English may not be familiar with. Theatre is not always only about Shakespeare – there are plenty of modern plays, and everyone can find something to their liking. With different genres you can dive into different environments – with BEST’s Novemberit was the political scene, while with Czech Theater’s R.U.R., the slant was was a little more philosophical. At the same time, there is still enough everyday vocabulary to enjoy.
Lastly, going to the theatre is a great way to meet and connect with new people speaking English, both in the audience and on stage. During the intermission there is plenty of time to reach out to other members of the audience. If you fancy even more intensive contact and your English is good enough, you may consider joining the company. From marketing to producing, from serving at the box office to performing in front of an audience, there are plenty of jobs to do both on stage and backstage.
So if you are looking for a slightly unorthodox way of improving English in Brno, consider seeing some stage plays in English. Maybe you will like it, maybe you won’t – but in my opinion it would be a huge pity not to give it a try.
Disclaimer: The author of this article is a member of the marketing committee of BEST and a huge theatre enthusiast in general.