I’m a theatre practitioner with a background in inclusive practice. Finding ways to create new communities through Drama, and making diverse groups of performers central to the process, has taken me on some great journeys: making theatre with teenagers in Finland, circus artists in France, playwrights in New York City and toddlers in Tottenham.
“Thinker”, “Hero”, “Avenger”, “Pioneer”, “Lover”, “Gossip”, and “Fool” are all words that remind us of types of characters in movies, plays, books, and perhaps our own lives. These one-word character descriptions immediately paint vivid portraits in the reader’s mind and can be a useful way for pupils, age 8+, to bring characters to life.
We recently returned from our second Performing Arts tour of New York City. The academy and I believe in a global vision that supports the curriculum, and New York didn't disappoint! Many colleagues and 'teacher friends' from other schools often ask: “Why do you want to take your pupils there? That's a long way for a short time? Performing Arts?”
Gratnells, manufacturers and marketers of Britain’s best known and most widely-used range of storage systems and trays in schools, is adding a highly engineered modular staging system to its offer for the education sector. Created by renowned industrial designer Anthony Hill, Gratnells Stage is easy to assemble, robust and affordable for schools.
Nottingham Girls’ High School has joined forces with the NSPCC to raise vital funds for the community. Pupils were joined by esteemed alumna Jenny Farr MBE, president of the Nottingham branch of the NSPCC, and held a Mad Hatter-style coffee morning campaign to mark 125 years of NSPCC East Midlands. The event raised over £1000, and included an Alice in Wonderland-themed fancy dress, bake sales, tea parties and an art competition.
We know that mobile technology can work wonders for the classroom, but how can it be used during Performing Arts productions? Ian Fletcher of Driftwood Software explains how the iPad is the perfect tool for setting the right atmosphere.
Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? If the answer is “nothing”, then try again. There are very few places in the world that are completely silent. Every room, every environment has a sound. Understanding this and using these soundscapes correctly within a school or college Drama production can make a massive difference to the suspension of disbelief you are trying to create. And the act of thinking about and designing them can be a fun exercise for a drama class and make sound a more inclusive subject.
Dublin’s Larkin Community College has been working with the Abbey Theatre to bring a terrific new surge of creativity into their classrooms. The legendary theatre, also known as Amharclann na Mainistreach and the National Theatre of Ireland, has been working with the local college on their Theatre-Making and Citizenship programme. According to the Irish Times, this initiative has seen students hugely invested in creative learning.
I think most people who work as teachers would agree with the importance of having high expectations of your pupils. And similarly, how important it is to model these expectations, and strive to do so, most of the time. I'm sure that again, for most teachers, it comes naturally to model good behaviours; positive attitudes and respect. After all, why should we expect this from our students if we ourselves are lacking in traits that are so fundamental to healthy human interactions?