How do we use Brechtian theatre to communicate the paranoia, propoganda and military alliances of the Cold War?


Project Overview

  • Taking the content from Edexcel History GCSE Unit 1, the Cold War has been broken into 3 key topics:

    • How did the Cold War in Europe develop?

    • Three Cold War crises: Berlin, Cuba, Czechoslovakia

    • Why did the Cold War end?

Students sat an exam on each of these topics, before sitting a GCSE exam at the end of the unit.  At the same time the students used inspiration from Bertolt Brecht to theatrically communicate a moment in the Cold War.

  • Within the first week a Brechtian specialist delivered a workshop to inspire their political theatre ideas. This specialist then came back for the authentic assessment.

  • The students were given packs full of genuine speeches, secret telegrams and telephone conversations from the time. This supported their script & the historical accuracy of their plays.

  • The final product was 6 short plays depicting different aspects of the Cold War. These were performed in chronological order,  in a theatre with videos of debates in between to display the process.  

What the student says

“Brechtian theatre is a way to present an overview of an event. We used Brechtian techniques to show the information of the Cold War in more depth. This had helped as when we became the leaders of the Cold War we could  experience their thoughts and feelings and understand it for ourselves.”

Humayun Ahmed, year 9

Key knowledge

  • History GCSE Edexcel Cold War Topic 1, 2 & 3

  • Brechtian & Verbatim Theatre

  • Preparation for GCSE Revision & Examination

What the teacher says

“The students don’t see the project as history and drama. They are able to synthesise the theatre and historical ideas so it becomes one creative, historical interpretation.” This means the knowledge is alive in there heads rather than a series of facts they will soon forget.”