This option offers boys exciting opportunities to explore drama and theatre from a purely practical and experiential angle. The aim is to enrich their appreciation of the craft of acting, devising and directing and to offer insights into areas of the Performing Arts industry not covered through the curriculum.
A separate set design and construction group creates the sets for the productions.
Activities 2011 - 12
Field Day 1: This involved a trip to The National Theatre for a backstage tour of all three theatre spaces. It was fascinating to learn about the impressive technology of the building particularly the massive revolve in the Olivier Theatre that allows incredible set changes to take place during a show. We followed this with a quick dash across town to Hampstead Theatre to see a matinée performance of Pocket Comedy by Propeller Theatre.
Field Day 2: An exciting ‘double bill’ of activities on Field Day 2 kicked off (literally) with Jessica Jackson-Smith, an actress and fight choreographer, teaching techniques through an intensive workshop of stage fighting choreography. The session taught the boys a fight routine broken down into its constituent elements with a particular focus on keeping it real for an audience. This meant the ‘acting’ (intention and reaction) were of primary importance. The boys were exhausted and very hot after the intense practice of each move.
The second workshop run by Kasia Zaremba-Byrne, a physical theatre specialist and director, focused on ensemble building and developing truthful and compelling improvisations using the technique of the ‘naïve clown’ which strips away the actor’s ego to reveal the honesty of an emotion or reaction in a given situation. This was another taxing workshop involving even more physical exertion!
Field Day 3: The boys were treated firstly to a practical workshop on developing Brechtian and Artaudian methods of performance. This was led by Scene Productions; a theatre company specifically set up to introduce students to these different methodologies through practical workshops and performances. The workshop involved creating very physical and creative 'shapes' in groups using balances and non naturalistic modes of expression. The class also included a brief introduction to the Laban method of using space, direction and energy and also how to use rhythm and tempo to develop sequences of narrative movement.
The company then performed Metamorphosis in the Auditorium where all the techniques taught in the workshop were expertly used in really creative and engaging ways. The use of masked characters that, despite being played by different actors at different points in the play, retained discrete yet consistent mannerisms was fascinating to watch. The style of the performance was very inventive and atmospheric and provided the boys with an insight into how a very simple set and lighting is no barrier to creating original and compelling theatre.
Field Day 5: The boys watched an evening performance of a new play Detroit at The National, a wonderful and hilarious black comedy performed by the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Activities booked for 2012 – 13
Field Day 1: Circus Magic will teach boys basic circus skills including tightrope and extreme juggling! Stage make up will then be covered, creating realistic “trauma” and horror effects; all boys will have a chance to use materials and make-up on each other led by an industry expert.
Field Day 2: The boys will have a hands-on technical theatre lighting workshop in school where they will learn to rig lanterns and how to design effective lighting states for productions.