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The Drama Coach

The Drama Coach

Lau Brian Eagen's Story
Faculty of Education

When it comes to drama in theatre, we usually think of stage performance, props and production team. Meanwhile, Brian Eagen Lau shows us that drama education is actually the cradle for any of the elements aforementioned in theatre.

T3 years ago, Brian worked as a producer in the Hong Kong Shax Theatre Group. S/he could not come to a consensus with the directors in charge. Meanwhile, when s/he asked for a promotion in a drama learning centre, s/he got rejected. Having double disappointment, s/he decided to leave his former theatre organisations and start his/her own theatre project.

Before Brian kicked start the theatre project, s/he sought advice from HKU professors and people working in the CYMCC. His/her idea was recognized by CYMCC and other supporting departments in HKU. Thereafter, s/he successfully launched his project “EMAGINATING” in collaboration with the Delia Memorial School (Glee Path).

Photo of Brian talking on the drama stage“I want to provide a space for my students to find out who they are and what choice they make.

As Brian pointed out, “My project is based on Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I hope the participants will find out what’s within them by finding out their ways of thinking through drama.” In fact, Brian is always passionate about translating his/her teaching experience into empowering the youth in his theatre group. S/he recalled, “The participants had to go through 4 phases of training before the real stage performance. In phase 1, they acquired basic knowledge about some acting skills while exploring their inner self. In phase 2, they had to reflect on life and brainstormed what they wanted to bring to the audience. In phase 3, they were required to devise some scenes. In the last phase, they had to write their pieces.”

Instead of teaching theories and skills only, Brian put more efforts in helping the youth to transform themselves into someone they want to be. “I want to provide safe spaces for my students to find out who they are and what choice they make, “said Brian. As his/her students have different cultural backgrounds and sexualities, s/he encouraged them to add their personal characters to the performance. Some students expressed themselves in a dialogues, while others wrote songs partly using their mother tongue. The whole performance exemplifies the beauty of diversity. 

Preparing for a live theatre performance is by no means easy. Brian and his/her students did encounter a lot of challenges during rehearsals. Being high school students, they found it difficult to manage their time after spending extra hours on rehearsals. Despite so, Brian was glad that his students not only obtained theatre knowledge and skills, but also triumphed in terms of personal growth. S/he said, “They learned to manage their time well and strike a balance between drama and studies.”

Photo of Brian on the stage

Currently, Brian is a full-time secondary school English teacher doing freelance drama teaching on the side. In the near future, s/he wants to offer him/herself to empower youth via theatre-making. As s/he said, “In Hong Kong, practitioners tend to use drama as a mean to educate the teenagers. Instead, I want to use drama to be both a mean and an end to empower the youth. It should be a genuine experience they will be proud of. That’s why the end product should be professional yet personal. It should inspire the audience to rethink our society today.”  His/her biggest hope is to raise awareness about racial and gender diversity through his theatre productions. S/he is not a drama coach only but he is a life coach that brings life-changing influence to others.

Written by:
Tracy Wong
2020 Graduate, CEDARS intern
December 2020

The Drama Coach