5 April 2017
Our KS5 English students have been out and about this term, enjoying and discussing some of London’s finest theatre productions. Their season kicked off late last year with visits to the Almeida’s new play Oil, and the National Theatre production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. And we’ve picked up the pace this term with many more trips, talks and participation programmes:
• Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler platform talk at the National Theatre in January
• Schiller’s Mary Stuart at the Almeida in January
• Ashley Walters in school for a discussion with students in February
• Webster’s The White Devil at the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February
• Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Almeida in March, followed by workshops at school with one of the cast
• Chekhov’s The Bear / The Proposal with an LGBT group at the Young Vic in March
• And still to come in June: Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera at Shoreditch Town Hall, and Love’s Labours Lost (the rock musical version!) at Hackney Empire.
Here’s what some of our students say.
Oil at Almeida – Ellie Turner-Wood
Duff was enthralling to watch. She radiated desperation, strength and ambition. A slick, memorable and momentous production.
Ashley Walters Discussion – Daniel Agyei
The discussion with Ashley Walters was oriented around a speech by former leader of the Labour Party, Neil Kinnock. It was very pertinent to today’s political context as Kinnock’s speech offered an idealistic vision of an inclusive society based on solidarity; a much needed vision post-Brexit, in light of the divisions and tensions laid bare in Britain by the EU Referendum. Enduring questions of great significance, such as whether we live in a ‘free’ society were also discussed. It was refreshing to hear and exchange views about contemporary politics and society, especially from the perspective of young people.
Almeida Young Producers Programme – Joel Goux
This six–month programme is an opportunity for young people to discover and take part in the theatre world. During this time, I learned about the technical and artistic aspects of being a producer – including creative planning, advertising, and producing (of course). My group and I had the chance to produce different events for teenagers, panels and a whole Hamlet festival. I got to work with and meet many talented people, offering a great insight in the theatre world. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a theatre career or just wanting to learn what goes on behind the scenes!
Almeida Young Company, young performers programme – David Favre
This is a chance for young people between 14 and 25 to get involved in the world of theatre through acting. It offers FREE acting classes every week for a school year. These classes include lots of teamwork, and different methods of learning and acting. What is really great is that it ends with a performance at the Almeida theatre, not of an already existing play but something new created entirely by the group – and with any message we want. This programme is open to anybody; the main qualities required are commitment and reliability. Except for that, no specific qualities are asked! Just be you!
The Proposal by Chekhov at the Young Vic – Sophie Strassle
The play is set in a very small room, with quite a private feeling. At the beginning, the lights shine on a stage portraying the house of a wealthy farmer. A young neighbour comes to ask for the farmer’s daughter in marriage. After arguing, the daughter accepts his proposal. Here, a drastic change of atmosphere happens. The lights turn deep purple as they shine on the three characters, now wearing different outfits. The father becomes a flamboyant character dressed in lingerie. The daughter removes his own shirt to reveal the scars of a mastectomy. Lastly, the neighbour puts on a bra and red lipstick. Throughout the play the actors swap characters, showcasing a fluidity between gender and character. This play was a way of representing people from the LGBT+ community – showing that you should always be unapologetically you.
‘To thine own self be true… yaaasss!’
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