Drama Online to add filmed theatre productions to its resource collection

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Stage On Screen’s filmed production of The Duchess of Malfi will be available to watch via Drama Online from October

Drama Online, a subscription study resource available to schools, colleges and higher education institutions, is expanding its resource offering this autumn with video content. Partnerships with organisations such Shakespeare’s Globe and Stage On Screen will see more than 60 hours of material added to the site.

Drama Online’s partnership with Shakespeare’s Globe will add 21 productions to its collection, with further shows to be added. Shakespeare’s Globe’s artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, says: ‘In Drama Online, Bloomsbury and Faber & Faber have created a fantastic portal for students, and we’re delighted that Globe productions will be some of the first video content on offer there.’

Stage On Screen will be contributing high-definition filmed productions from Greenwich Theatre of The Duchess of Malfi, Doctor Faustus, School for Scandal, and Volpone; and Manchester Royal Exchange’s Hamlet starring Maxine Peake will also feature among the new content.

As well as the filmed productions, Drama Online will be adding a six-hour Shakespeare acting masterclass with Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s head of voice Patsy Rodenburg, featuring movement, speech, body and warm-up exercises.

The new video content will be available for trial in October; for more information, visit www.dramaonlinelibrary.com.

TRH Masterclass Trust receives £17,258 donation

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Cheque presentation at The Waldorf Hilton London

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust has received a donation of £17,258 from The Waldorf Hilton London and the Hilton in the Community Foundation. The donation was presented at The Waldorf Hilton London on 2 February. In attendance was TRH’s chairman and Masterclass founder Arnold M. Crook who was joined by actress and Masterclass patron Elaine Page, who accepted the donation on behalf of the trust.

Paige said: ‘I’ve given three Masterclasses, with some fantastic young people from a wide range of backgrounds, over the past few years and each one has been an enjoyable and fun afternoon. Throughout my career I’ve learnt many things which I am very happy to pass on to the next generation. Even if just one piece of advice makes an impact on just one person, then it’s been worthwhile. Which is why I support the Masterclass Charity as it can make such a difference by inspiring and empowering the talent of the future.’

The Masterclass initiative, founded by Crook 15 years ago, aims to give theatre training opportunities to 14–30 year olds, as well as to provide careers advice and theatrical skills development.

Blayne George, TRH Masterclass Trust’s programme director, added: ‘It is only through the very generous support of organisations like the Waldorf Hilton London and the Hilton in the Community Foundation that Masterclass is able to continue to give young people free access to the professional world of theatre; inspiring and encouraging them to have a voice.’

Theatre Centre – Staging in schools: CPD masterclass – workshop review

 (Credit: Marigold Hughes for Theatre Centre)

(Credit: Marigold Hughes for Theatre Centre)

Star rating
***

An interesting session considering engagement with space. 

I attended a masterclass at Greenwich Theatre run by Theatre Centre, who are currently touring Roy Williams’ Advice For The Young At Heart.

The session, looking at staging performances in schools, was led by the company’s artistic director Natalie Wilson. For this workshop, in particular, it was really interesting to have Wilson leading. As the artistic director she has to think constantly about the bigger picture – which is exactly what the session was trying to broach: how does a play work on all levels? You may have the words of a fantastic playwright to work with, but if the way in which you’re staging a performance  doesn’t reach out and connect with your audience, it can become a lost cause.

This masterclass isn’t directly linked to the content of Advice For The Young At Heart, which attendees get to watch post workshop. I think the idea behind this is to allow participants see the work of the last two hours put into practice by the company – however, that evening’s show took place in a professional theatre, not the school halls and canteens in which teachers find themselves putting on performances, and which often play host to Theatre Centre productions.

The content covered was quite basic: we looked at forms of staging –  in-the-round, traverse and end on. Several participants in my group were trying to push the boundaries of our given ‘end on’ setting to stage our piece with a more creative use of space. But it was good to bring it to a simple form: considering how your use of space can engage students is important.

(Credit: Marigold Hughes for Theatre Centre)

(Credit: Marigold Hughes for Theatre Centre)

The exercises that formed the masterclass worked well in demonstrating the diversity in performance created when using the stage space differently. However, I personally think a slightly more lengthy, slightly less practical session from Wilson would have benefited participants more. She had produced and presented a graph model explaining the influences between narrative, performer, audience and staging, and how they affect one another. It was really interesting,  and well explained by Wilson, but I would have found it more effective perhaps to have a case study of one of Theatre Centre’s own shows during the session to demonstrate how they consider alternative spaces and audiences when they tour.

To find out more about Theatre Centre’s CPD sessions and touring performances, visit www.theatre-centre.co.uk.

Wicked Young Writers’ Award

The Wicked Young Writers’ Award is back for the third year running. The award encourages writing talent throughout the UK. Young people aged five to 25 can enter.

War Horse author, Michael Morpurgo is a strong advocate, speaking of the Wicked Young Writers’ Award as something, ‘very close to my heart’.

Morpurgpo said: ‘Last year my fellow judges and I were delighted to read so many stories that were passionately felt and honestly written down, and where the young writers had found their own unique voices. I’m looking forward to another successful year.’

The Wicked Young Writers’ Award is free to enter; entries must be no longer than 750 words and can be of any genre. Applicants may write in poetry or prose. The award is split into five categories; ages 5-7, 8-10, 11-14, 15-17 and entrants aged 18-25 compete for the Gregory Maguire Award.

The competition encourages teachers to enter work on behalf of their students through the schools’ entry form. The Wicked Young Writers’ Award website has a page for teacher’s offering video tips to encourage writing in the classroom. There is also a set of teacher’s notes available for download. The resources can be found here: http://wickedyoungwriters.com/teachers_resource.html

In the autumn, a shortlist of 100 finalists will be announced. These finalists will receive a published 2012 Wicked Young Writers’ Award Anthology which will include their own writing. The 18-25-year-old category will have their work published in an e-Book.

One winner will be chosen for each category, with the winner receiving four tickets to see Wicked on the West End and the chance to meet the cast after the show. They will also receive a writing masterclass with one of the competition’s judges.

Entry submission closes on 31 July. To find out more about the competition and how to enter visit wickedyoungwriters.com

International Student Drama Festival 2012

University of Warwick students perform The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the NSDF 2011 (c) NSDF

This week has seen the first International Student Drama Festival (ISDF) take place in Sheffield. The National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) took the decision to make this year’s event global, so to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad (see Teaching Drama Summer 1 for our article on the NSDF ‘Going Global‘).

The 9-day festival began on 22 June with an address from Tim Etchells, Forced Entertainment’s artistic director. The company, based in Sheffield, was established in 1984 by Exeter university graduates – something which would inspire many of the student attendees.

Etchells spoke of his concern for the government’s current attitude toward the funding of artists and theatre: ‘We are – in case you hadn’t noticed – living in a space of economic downturn […] a space which offers us the dismantling and out sourcing of state functions (health, education, arts) and in general cuts and with cuts a steady insistence on the importance of private sponsorship a situation in which, little by little sponsors help to define the shape of public institutions.’

Etchells also said how ISDF was an ‘amazing opportunity to show and to meet and to invent’. He offered advice to students, recommending that they should, ‘steal things, from everyone and anyone. Take one thing from everything you love and then hide, mix and rework it all in what you do. Take one thing and make it yours.’

As well as Etchells, there have been a number of visiting artists in attendance at the international festival. Hull Truck Theatre Company’s John Godber is acting as a judge for this year’s panel. Other big names from the theatre industry in the UK have included the RSC, LAMDA, Mountview, Old Vic Tunnels, Masterclass, Out of Joint, Forced Entertainment and many other organisations and individuals who have been running 270 workshops that have been put on for visitors.

There has also been a selection of visiting global artists such as Vietnam Youth Theatre, Australian company Circa, Ashtar Theatre from Palestine and theatre companies from Russia, Iran and Iceland.

The ISDF has seen 20 performances from students from around the UK, as well as many international performances from theatre companies originating from the US, Israel, Japan, Australia and Zimbabwe.

Shota Rustaveli Theatre Company, from Georgia, USA, were described as, ‘a highlight of this year’s ISDF programme’ by The Stage, with their performance of Our Town. Another highly commended performance came from With Wings Theatre Company, a group of former students from Giggleswick, Yorkshire. Their production of If Room Enough, an adaptation of The Tempest, has been referred to as the ‘hottest ticket in town’. There are plans to take the production to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013.

Director of theatre at the University of Sheffield (one of the festival’s partners) Professor Steve Nicholson said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for students to broaden their theatre experience and maybe even challenge some expectations. It’s almost like having the best of the Edinburgh Fringe on our doorstep and shows once again that Sheffield is one of the most exciting cities in the UK if you want to see and study live performance.’

The ISDF will finish on 30 June.

www.nsdf.org.uk