A little tired but hugely invigorated by a busy three-day residency at Thurston Community College in Suffolk.
This was our fifth visit to Thurston we already knew what an inspiring place to work in it is, and that it boasts a particularly visionary drama department. The students are exceptionally well motivated and proactive – eagerly seizing what ever’s offered, running with it and making it their own.
We gave three performances of Every Mother’s Son (aka Josh’s Monsters). Though a challenging piece of work, designed for adult audiences, this was offered to Year 11s (GCSE students) as the basis for a performance review.
Each student had a double ticket: they saw the piece in school time as a year group; they then came back to one of the evening performances with a ‘significant adult’ in tow to re-experience the piece as part of a more general audience and to have the chance to tease out the inter-generational aspects of the play. We also led a workshop exploring some of the devising and writing process that we went through. We listened to some of the original oral-testimony and road-tested a number of approaches to theatricalising it. We played with different ways of developing the lives of the characters. We began to look at how we edit and organise the material we were creating.
For Year 12s we led a Physical Theatre session; for Year 13s a session on the clues in Shakespeare’s language for an actor; and for Year 10s a session on Storytelling-theatre in order to contextualise the 2 performances of Beauty & the Beast that we gave to Years 9 and 10.
So 5 performances and 4 workshops in 3 days.
With all the get-ins and get-outs and the 6 hour travel each way the days were full to bursting but the Thurston welcome and the skill of the teachers meant that we got a huge amount out of it as well as the students.