Programme Session Details 2024

Notre Dame de Play-ris – exploring French through musical theatre

Corresponding Author: Laura Barclay

All authors:

Length: 90 minutes
Location: Outdoors


Danse mes playfellows!

Join Clopin’s band of outcasts to explore the story in one of the musical numbers from Luc Plamondon’s french-language musical, ‘Notre Dame de Paris’. No dance or French experience required!

Delegates will have an opportunity to create movement/choreography to a verse from ‘Les sans-papiers’ in order to draw out key themes, words and phrases from the material. Delegates will decide how the session runs on the day – we can watch a video of the song in question, discuss/translate the lyrics, or dive straight into choreography!

This session replicates the methods used in my EdD research with students, which seeks to explore the application of playful learning in higher education, as opposed to advocating for this approach specifically to language teaching/learning. There is evidence to suggest that language learning is perceived to be difficult (Tinsley, 2019); therefore, my research aimed to apply a playful learning approach, where errors are a natural part of the process and participants could engage in a subject (in this case, French) that may previously have seemed inaccessible.

My research project followed the premise of process drama with an added musical component, which focuses on process (the language learning) rather than product (an assessment or performance) (O’Toole, 1992, cited in Marrucci & Piazzoli, 2017). Rather than reading or watching a performance in French, I want participants to be the performers and interact with the language in a dynamic way.

After creating their short pieces of movement, delegates will be invited to share their perspectives about engaging with the French language through musical theatre. These reflections will lead to a short presentation of the data collected from participants in my EdD research for comparison.

It is hoped that in this session delegates will have an opportunity to be active, and might even learn ‘un petit peu’ of French!

References, web links and other resources:

Marrucci, L. and Piazzoli, E. (2017, June 21-23) Evaluating Learner Engagement in Arts Education: Perspectives from Music and Drama in Education [paper presentation], 3rd International Conference on Higher Education Advances, HEAd’17, Universitat Politècnica de València, València, Spain. DOI:

Tinsley, T. (2019). Language Trends 2019, British Council