Keynote 2022

Cecily O’Neill

Cecily O’Neill has worked in drama education for many years. She was in charge of in-service training in drama education in London and established the program in Drama Education at The Ohio State University.  She is a visiting lecturer at New York University and the University of Winchester.

For the DiE Days she will be contributing a talk and a workshop:

Keynote: Telling Tales

Myths and stories are fundamental to the growth of human civilisation. They are the way we make sense of our experience in the world, stimulating memory, judgement and interpretation. Can stories, these powerful acts of communication, become an essential element in the language classroom?


In her practical workshop, Cecily will explore ways in which the use of stories can engage students’ imaginations and activate their social and linguistic capacities.

Cecily’s books on the theory and practice of drama include:

Kao, S. And C. O’Neill. (1998) Words into Worlds: Learning a Second Language through Process Drama, Norwood, NJ: Ablex

O’Neill, C. (2014) Dorothy Heathcote: Essential Writings on Drama and Education. London: Routledge.

Manley, A. and C. O’Neill. (1997) Dreamseekers: Creative Approaches to the African American Heritage, Portsmouth: New Hampshire: Heinemann.

O’Neill, C. (1995) Drama Worlds: A Framework for Process Drama, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Published in 2021 in Complex Chinese.

Karl Eigenbauer

Karl Eigenbauer taught English, History, Social Studies and Politics and Drama/School Theatre at Wiener Musikgymnaium, a Viennese secondary school specializing in music, until his retirement in 2016 and also taught drama at KPH Wien-Krems, a university college of teacher education, between 2007 – 2016. For the past 25 years he has given professional development workshops in drama both in Austria and abroad and has also co-established various courses for Austrian teachers (e. g. “Drama in Foreign Language Teaching” from 2004-2008 and “Methode Drama”, a master course for theatre pedagogy at KPH Wien-Krems).  He was in charge of Sommerworkshop Darstellendes Spiel, a one-week theatre workshop for 100 teachers from all over Austria for more than 20 years until 2016. He currently focuses on integrating drama into math teaching and learning at the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Vienna (“Mathematik macht Freu(n)de”).

In his practical workshops, Karl will focus on working  with pre-texts (e. g. poems, pictures, texts) for secondary school students. He will draw on a range of drama conventions to explore story and tease out authentic language learning moments.

The Ups and Downs of Drama:  A practitioner’s view

Drama belongs in education and most certainly in the English language classroom. Over the course of his career, Karl Eigenbauer has been a driving force for including drama in English language teaching in Austrian schools, in professional development, and in teacher-training. In his keynote he will explain the specific situation in Austria and share some of the highlights and some of the setbacks of his three-decade journey with drama in education.

Harald Volker Sommer

Theater pedagogue (BUT), Mag. phil., actor. Studied acting with Keith Johnstone and Philippe Gaulier (London). Studied theater, art history and literature. Engagements at Theater der Jugend in Vienna, Theater Augsburg, bremer shakesspeare company, Volkstheater Rostock, Volkstheater Vienna. From 2004 to 2011 senior theater pedagogue at the Theater der Jugend in Vienna. From 2011 to 2014 head of the department of theater education and lecturer for acting/directing at the adk Ulm. From 2014 to 2018 director of the Theaterpädagogisches Zentrum Lingen. Direction of numerous international projects. Director and author of youth theater plays. Director at the opera camps of the Salzburg Festival. Lecturer at the Theaterakademie August Everding Munich, at the Institut für Theaterpädagogik Lingen, at the Hochschule Augsburg, the Theaterwerkstatt Heidelberg, among others. His work focuses on acting methods, performance, aesthetic research and choral theater. Harald Volker Sommer has been working with the Choral Principle in various settings (teaching, school, directing) for many years. He has also published on choral theater.

Workshop (in German)

The choral principle can take on aesthetic, political-social, pedagogical or methodical-didactic functions. In the play with breath, voice, movement and text treatment a new form of attentiveness, sense-making and spatial awareness emerges: We expand the scope of design for the learning and experience of language. Sense and sound are experienced in the group with the body. We play and speak in the “flow of the group” like a constantly changing organism: in analog as well as in digital space. Choral work is more than synchronous movement and synchronous speaking. We feel ourselves in the choir as “unity of individuals”: actions emerge with and from the group. Choral work
makes it possible for each individual to play a role in the dialogue between the individual and the
individual and choral use of language, voice, breath and sound. Inhibitions in the speech can be broken down. In this way, the desire and enthusiasm to work with language and language and text can be rediscovered. When am I part of a group, when am I a soloist? How do we find a common language as a group? With different texts we will practically deal with these questions.
We will explore these topics in a practical way and open a small workshop together.
– Introduction to the choral principle: methodology and didactics. Examples
– From non-verbal and para-verbal to speech chorus
– Choral warm up digital
– Practical choral exercises analog/digital: “Speech, Sound and Gesture Games”