Green room: Will the reforms to GCSE and A-level drama benefit students?

The Department for Education announced in February the subject contents for GCSE, AS and A-level drama to be taught from 2016, so in our Summer 2 issue of Teaching Drama, out now, we’re asking our panellists:

 

What is your view? Vote in our poll and comment below. Read the views of our panellists in Summer 2 2014-15, where the issue also includes a ‘Curriculum focus’ column, outlining a basic summary of the guidelines on which exam boards are currently finalising their new specifications.

Weston-super-Mare and Las Vegas students collaborate on virtually linked transatlantic stage show

Students from WAPA and UNLV performed with an eight-hour time difference between them

Students from Weston-super-Mare and Las Vegas have taken part in what is thought to be a world-first performance: producing a virtually linked transatlantic stage show. Students from Wessex Academy of Performing Arts (WAPA) at Weston College and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) performed their show Time Lapse simultaneously with 5,000 miles and an eight-hour time difference separating the two casts.

Ged Stephenson, Weston College’s HE curriculum co-ordinator for performing arts degrees, said: ‘There were no time delays in the visuals and only a very slight one in sound. The video link was done using ultra-grids, which are really advanced computers that have been created by UNLV.’

The partnership between WAPA and UNLV was established 18 months ago when Weston lecturer Sylvia Lane approached UNLV about forming a relationship between the two organisations. Last year UNLV’s professor of acting and professor of dance visited Weston College to run masterclasses for students, which formed the basis of the Time Lapse joint performance project.

The cast had to create a devised performance having never met other than virtually

Stephenson explained some of the challenges faced when developing the project: ‘Clearly, there were many technical difficulties/challenges that our technical team had to overcome. On top of this, we had to establish a working pattern that allowed for the fact that half of the company was in Vegas and the other half in Weston. Furthermore, most rehearsals needed to take place after 5pm UK time due to the eight hours Vegas were behind us.’

The practical logistics were not the only challenges to be tackled by the transatlantic group: ‘The UNLV students were not used to devised theatre. It is not something regularly taught in America. Our students use it every day. This meant that tasks we set the cast seemed natural to our cast but unusual, initially, to the UNLV cast. Gradually, we all worked out a way of dealing with this to allow us to develop an intelligent and well-structured piece of devised theatre.’

Time Lapse can be viewed online at http://unlvtv.unlv.edu/live.htm.  

Shakespeare’s Globe appoints Emma Rice artistic director

Emma-Rice Credit Steve Tanner

Kneehigh’s Emma Rice will take up her new role at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2016 (Credit: Steve Tanner)

Emma Rice has been named Shakespeare’s Globe’s third artistic director and is the first female to take up the role. Shakespeare’s Globe’s chief executive Neil Constable said of the news: ‘I can think of no one better placed to take on the Globe, and I look forward to working with her at what continues to be a particularly exciting time in the Globe’s history.’

Rice is currently joint artistic director of Kneehigh with Matthew Shepherd. Following the announcement of her appointment, the theatre company tweeted their congratulations, saying they were ‘proud’ of Rice ‘taking on a new adventure’. Rice herself said she is ‘delighted and honoured’ to be named the Globe’s artistic director.

Following current artistic director Dominic Dromgoole’s departure after a ten-year tenure at Shakespeare’s Globe, Rice will take up the position in April 2016. Dromgoole described the Globe’s choice of his replacement as ‘an excellent appointment’.

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The full version of this news story features in Teaching Drama Summer 2 – out next week. Subscribe to the print or digital edition for more news, features and information. Single issues are also available in print and digital from just £2.49.

Oddsocks supports Labour’s pledge to axe unpaid internships

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Labour leader Miliband wants to axe unpaid internships

Oddsocks Productions have spoken out in support of Ed Miliband’s pledge to axe unpaid internships if Labour is successful in this month’s general election. In response to Labour’s pledge to make it illegal for companies to offer unpaid work placements of longer than four weeks, Oddsocks said in a statement that they ‘feel that this is a good length of time to assess whether an intern is suitable to take on and be paid a living wage’.

Former intern Bethan Nash starring as Ophelia

Former intern Bethan Nash starring as Ophelia

Oddsocks said they are ‘leading the way above others in the industry’ regarding internships, citing their appointment of Bethan Nash as an intern in 2011. Encouraged by Oddsocks’ artistic director Andy Barrow to audition during her internship so as to add to her experience, Nash was given the role of Ophelia in the company’s three-month touring production of Hamlet The Comedy. She went on to star in their production of Macbeth, and then took up a place to study at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

For more information about Oddsocks, visit www.oddsocks.co.uk/theatre.

Over 50% of NQTs forecast to leave the profession within 12 months by 2017

Supply teaching agency Randstad Education has forecast that by 2017, 52% of newly qualified teachers will leave the profession within 12 months. Randstad Education’s estimate is based on trends of current statistics – of those qualified in 2011, 62% were still in the education sector a year after qualifying. In 2005, 80% of NQTs stayed in the teaching profession for 12 months or more.

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Jenny Rollinson, managing director of Randstad Education, said of the forecast: ‘There are plenty of problems that newly qualified teachers face – from government bureaucracy and curriculum changes to the pressure of league tables and problematic students – but being panicked into ducking out of the profession or taking on the wrong role shouldn’t be one of them. Newly qualified teachers need to find the right job for them. They should keep calm and examine all the options available to them – not just those that work well for their university’s league table results.’

Randstand Education are holding nationwide ‘open days’ on 12 May  offering advice to newly qualified teachers on applying for jobs; more information can be found at www.randstad.co.uk/jobs/s-education.

Young Vic and Sunny Afternoon win big at 2015 Olivier Awards

Young Vic's A View from the Bridge wins a hat-trick at the Olivier Awards (Credit: Jan Versweyveld)

Young Vic’s A View from the Bridge wins a hat-trick at the Olivier Awards (Credit: Jan Versweyveld)

This year’s Olivier Awards have seen The Young Vic take away four prizes, picking up the award for outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre for its production of Bull, and scoring a hat-trick for A View from the Bridge winning best revival, best director for Ivo van Hove and best actor for Mark Strong.

Accepting his award, Strong reflected on how A View from the Bridge had drawn in young audience members: ‘What has been amazing is the young people who came to see it, they all wanted to talk about what they were seeing. A 12-year-old boy asked me what is the purpose of theatre – I’ve never been in a production people wanted to talk about more.’

Kinks jukebox musical Sunny Afternoon dominated the musical categories, taking four out of five awards it was nominated for, winning: outstanding achievement in music, best actor in a supporting role in a musical for George Maguire, best actor in a musical for John Dagleish, and the title for best new musical.

Sunny Afternoon was the big musical winner of the evening (Credit: Alastair Muir)

Sunny Afternoon was the big musical winner of the evening (Credit: Alastair Muir)

Despite receiving 17 nominations between them, both Memphis the Musical and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical took home just two prizes each – best sound design and best theatre choreographer for Memphis, and Beautiful’s actresses taking best actress in a supporting role in a musical for Lorna Want and best actress in a musical for Katie Brayben.

Other highlights of the evening included the presentation of the best actress in a supporting role award to Angela Lansbury. Receiving her first Olivier Award aged 89 to a standing ovation, the actress said: ‘I’m creeping up to 90 and feeling like a million dollars because I’m in London.’ Lansbury’s role in Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre is her first in the West End in 40 years. In celebration of his tenure as artistic director at the Old Vic, Kevin Spacey was presented with a special award by Judi Dench. Spacey is due to step down from his role this autumn, to be succeeded by Matthew Warchus.

Olivier Award winners 2015

Best revival
A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best actor in a supporting role
Nathaniel Parker for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the Aldwych Theatre

Best actress in a supporting role
Angela Lansbury for Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre

Best entertainment and family
La Soiree at La Soiree Spiegeltent

Best lighting design
Howard Harrison for City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse

Best sound design
Gareth Owen for Memphis the Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Best costume design
Christopher Oram for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the Aldwych Theatre

Best set design
Es Devlin for The Nether at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Best new dance production
32 Rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom at the Barbican;
Mats Ek’s Juliet and Romeo by Royal Swedish Ballet at Sadler’s Wells

Outstanding achievement in dance
Crystal Pite for her choreography in the productions of The Associates – A Picture Of You Falling, The Tempest Replica and Polaris at Sadler’s Wells

Best new play
King Charles III at the Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best actor
Mark Strong for A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best actress
Penelope Wilton for Taken At Midnight at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Audience award
Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Best new comedy
The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre

Best musical revival
City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse

Outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre
Bull at the Maria at the Young Vic

Best theatre choreographer
Sergio Trujillo for Memphis The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Best director
Ivo van Hove for A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Outstanding achievement in music
Ray Davies for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best actor in a supporting role in a musical
George Maguire for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best actress in a supporting role in a musical
Lorna Want for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Best actor in a musical
John Dagleish for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best actress in a musical
Katie Brayben for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Best new musical
Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Winners of The Mousetraps 2015 announced

The awards

The 2015 awards for The Mousetraps

The fourth annual edition of theatre awards ‘The Mousetraps’ took place on 22 March at the Charing Cross Theatre. The Mousetraps, voted for by young theatregoers aged 15 to 23, are organised by Mousetrap Theatre Projects: a theatre education charity widening access to performance for young people with limited means and support or special needs.

The awards honoured West End favourites such as Wicked, presented with the prize for show I’d sell my soul to be in; Billy Elliot, winning fascinating storyline; STOMP, picking up most dazzling choreography; and Les Misérables, named musical that blew my mind.

Other theatre favourites such as War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time also came away with prizes, for best play and best design respectively. The Scottsboro Boys was presented with the award for best ensemble and The Book of Mormon won the title for show that split my sides.

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Martin Freeman accepting his award for best male performer at The Mousetraps (Credit: @ZareenWalker)

The Mousetraps’ acting awards went to two major stage and screen stars: Gemma Arterton, who was named best female performer for her lead role in Made in Dagenham, and Martin Freeman, who collected his title for best male performer for Richard III in person.

The ceremony, compered by members of Mousetrap’s Youth Forum, was opened by actor Samuel J Holmes. The presentation of awards was accompanied by performances from young people, featuring street dance, performance poetry, musical improvisation and Shakespearean monologues.

To see more from the 2015 Mousetraps, check out the Twitter hashtag #MousetrapAwards. For more information about Mousetrap Theatre Projects, visit www.mousetrap.org.uk.

Green room: Would a bad review put you off taking students to see a show?

In our Summer 1 issue of Teaching Drama, we’re asking our panellists:

 

We have a bonus blog-only exclusive answer for this issue: read the thoughts of Ed Boutler-Comer below. Do you agree or disagree with his view? Vote in our poll and voice your opinion.

Ed Boutler-Comer Green room

Read the views of the rest of our panellists in Summer 1 2014-15.

IdeasTap to close due to lack of funding

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Peter De Haan has announced the charity’s closure

Arts charity IdeasTap has announced it is to close in June after failing to secure future funding. IdeasTap’s chairman Peter De Haan said of the news: ‘We’ve worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to confirm future funding for our operations. It is with great sadness and reluctance that we have reached this decision.’

IdeasTap was founded during the financial crisis in 2008, aiming to assist unemployed young people by creating industry opportunities at leading arts organisations as well as providing access to funding, competitions, jobs, training and advice. The charity has accrued over 190,000 members and has awarded more than £2.3m worth of direct funding and accompanying expert mentoring to emerging artists.

Following IdeasTap’s closure on 2 June, the charity will honour ongoing commitments, such as showcasing four companies at the Edinburgh Fringe, until the end of the year; the IdeasTap website will also continue to operate as an archive, featuring a selection of members’ and partners’ projects as well as career guides and advice.

www.ideastap.com

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The full version of this news story features in Teaching Drama Summer 1 – out next week. Subscribe to the print or digital edition for more news, features and information. Single issues are also available in print and digital from just £2.49.

Miliband promises arts at the heart of Labour government

Ed Miliband has said that Labour will ‘put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the Labour government’s mission’ if the party gains power in this year’s general election. The Labour leader was speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre.

‘Britain will be a prouder, richer, stronger country when we give everybody the opportunity to develop their creativity, expand their horizons, enhance their talents and make a life for themselves in the arts and culture: old and young, rich and poor, north and south.’

Despite his backing of arts and culture, Miliband would not confirm that there would be no further cuts to the arts, saying: ‘I can’t make promises about what funding’s going to look like in the future.’

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

In his speech, Miliband also quoted from the Warwick Commission’s report, and said: ‘If we care about the opportunities for the young, the findings of the Warwick Commission should worry us all.

‘The next Labour government’s mission is to guarantee every young person, from whatever background, access to the arts and culture: a universal entitlement to a creative education for every child.’

In Miliband’s speech, Labour backed the Warwick Commission’s recommendation that schools will only be able to receive an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted if they offer creative subjects and cultural opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Other policies announced during the speech included: strengthening creative education in schools by encouraging afterschool clubs to offer music, drama, dance, art, sport or other creative activities; building better career pathways into the arts and creative industries by increasing the number of apprenticeships; and widening free access to museums and galleries.