Bat-i-Burrillo is a puppet-theatre company based in Seville, in the south of Spain. It’s run by two puppeteers and English teachers: Chris Gesthuysen and John Harrop. Batiburrillo means hodge-podge; a lively (if chaotic!) mixture … the perfect name for a form of theatre that combines puppets and people, English and Spanish!
We’ve been performing in English, Spanish and ‘Spanglish’ for over 20 years in Spain, mainly in Andalusia. Over the years we’ve done street and park shows, parties and festivals. We’ve performed at local events, and done a season of children’s puppet shows for the Seville library network. We toured schools and community theatres in the province with a Spanish Heart Foundation show about the dangers of smoking. Our most recent public production was a show to mark the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes.
But our main area of focus is using puppets and drama techniques in educational theatre, as a means of making learning English fun. Between us, we have over 60 years of EFL teaching experience, with students of all levels and ages. As language teachers, we know what works. And, as performers, we know how much fun you can have when combining the two elements.
What we do
We offer interactive puppet-shows, storytelling and educational theatre in nursery, infant, primary and secondary schools. These events can also be booked for other venues, and we’re currently working on making some of our shows suitable for online performance. We also hold a variety of theatre-based workshops and courses for both students and teachers. These mainly focus on incorporating elements of drama into classroom, and include the fabrication and use of puppet and masks. We also work on character creation and roleplay, adapting stories and writing simple scripts, and turning the classroom into a theatre. Other workshops focus on team-building and encouraging creativity.
Shows for children
We have a variety of highly interactive puppet-shows for students aged three and over. It’s vital to involve younger learners all the way, or they get distracted. So our shows follow the British tradition of audience participation (‘Behind you …!’). Most of our shows are also accompanied by pdf files containing materials for teachers to use either as preparation or consolidation. Some of the shows are suitable for online performance.
Shows for teenagers and adults
For older learners we have a range of engaging and participative shows on various topics. Performed in the manner of intensive interactive listening exercises with intriguing visual clues, these shows are a ‘batiburrillo’ of stories, mentalist ‘magic’, and anecdotes to activate your mind. They’re for native speakers and for students with a minimum English level of B1. We grade the language we use in the performances according to the audience.
Teacher-training workshops & courses
All of our courses and workshops are hands-on, practical and fun, with the emphasis firmly on participation. The materials we use are available to teachers online post-session, so no need for note-taking. Our aim is for teachers to go away with ideas and materials ready to use in the classroom. These workshops and courses are for teachers both locally and abroad. We also offer talks and presentations for national and international conferences.
Bat-i-Burrillo online workshops
We’ll soon have online workshops available for teachers who want to use puppets in the classroom. Details to follow shortly!
Check out the Bat-i-Burrillo YouTube channel too.
So why should Bat-i-Burrillo come to your school or college?
Not only is it an incredible opportunity to enjoy live theatre in your school or college, but it’s also a way for your students to see how English is used in real life, in a really fun way.