by Marta Moreno

Pam Schweitzer

In the early 1970s Pam Schweitzer was a teacher of English and Drama in London comprehensive schools, and in the same period was involved in the Theatre in Education (TIE) movement, editing a 3-volume collection of TIE scripts for publication. In the early 1980s she worked as Education Officer for the voluntary sector group Task Force, bringing old and young together and using theatre to connect communities.

In 1983 she founded Age Exchange Theatre Trust, the first full-time professional theatre company to specialise in taking reminiscence shows to older people all over the country. Since then, she has devised and directed 30 new shows for Age Exchange, and published as many books of photos and recollections around important themes in London’s social history.

In 1987, she set up the Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre in Blackheath, South East London as a reminiscence arts and training centre. In 1993, she founded the European Reminiscence Network with partners in fifteen countries in the European Union to share best practice and collaborate on international reminiscence projects. In 2000 she received the MBE for services to reminiscence.

She continues to publish work on Reminiscence Theatre, and works on projects relating to reminiscence theatre and reminiscence in dementia care across Europe. In 2005, she became an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Greenwich. In 2012/13 she began working on the the transfer of the Reminiscence Theatre Archive to the Drama building at the University of Greenwich.

Goodnight Children Everywhere

GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE is a collection of memories taken from tape recordings and written accounts of evacuation in the Second World War. The stories were collected from 1987 to 1989 at the Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre in South East London. Pam Schweitzer mounted a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the massive exodus of London children. The evacuees had the chance to meet each her and compare notes on their experiences. At the same time, she organised a theatre-in-education project involving primary school children, professional actors and older people. As part of this project, she published a book with eighty testimonies, "Goodnight Children Everywhere", which is available in Amazon.
You can find more information about Pam Schweitzer and this Theatre in Education Project at the Reminiscence Theatre Archive Website.
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The use of oral history in the EFL classroom

In 2013 I had the opportunity of working with Pam at the Reminiscence Theatre Archive of the University of Greenwhich, where all her work of thirty years is preserved. During this experience I became aware of the potential of oral history in the EFL classroom. This is why in 2015 I decided to work with a group of B2 English students of the EOI Fuengirola on the role of women during the Second World War using the book and theatre play "What did you do in the war, mum?" by Pam Schweitzer as source of inspiration. War mum.png

The success of this project among the students encouraged me to use Pam's material again, this time with the students of the EOI Malaga. When I read the wonderful book "Goodnight Children Everywhere", I knew I had the topic for the new project.
We have really enjoyed learning from those children who left their homes so many years ago. I hope you do the same going through this website.
It has been three months of hard work but it has been worth the effort.

Marta Moreno
7 April 2016