Monthly Archives: June 2018

Helen Barnett of Trestle Theatre Co. leads Trestle Mask Workshop at DC

Posted by Carla Acepcion

On Thursday 7 June, DC was exceptionally lucky to be able to host Helen Barnett, a workshop leader and actor from Trestle Theatre company, UK. Trestle has been a leading theatre company since the 80’s, specialising in mask work performances and even producing their own range of masks. Almost every Drama department around the world owns a box of these magical masks, and we are no exception. ESF Drama staff had the opportunity to train with Helen for a day, in a staff professional development day, and to complete our curriculum unit on mask work, Helen ran workshops with all the students in Year 8.

The students worked on identifying the emotions of the mask, creating characters physically, clocking the audience, and even attempted counter-mask (where you can change the perception of the emotion on the mask through using your body)! The students had a great time and learned much to take back into our unit of inquiry.

Many thanks to Helen, who was a fun and engaging workshop leader.


Year 11s Work with Jockey Club Sarah Roe School for First Ever Theatre-in-Education Unit

Posted by Carla Acepcion

Traditionally at the end of Year 11, students have worked on performing a play in the last term of the school year. However, we felt that this was too insular and that the students would benefit more from practising theatre directly in the community we are a part of.

Theatre-in-Education (TIE) is a term coined in the 60’s and typically includes a theatre company performing in an educational setting (i.e. a school) for youth, including interactive and performative moments. TIE seeks to educate young people on issues that are relevant to both them and their communities, for example; bullying, environmental preservation, and peer conflict resolution.

So, this year we incorporated a new unit, with our Year 11 Drama class entirely focussed on TIE.

In collaboration with colleagues at Jockey Club Sarah Roe School (JCSRS) we built a new unit of learning which focusses on our DC students creating, performing and supporting original theatre works specifically designed for a young special needs audience, set into the current JCSRS learning unit of inquiry. The unit was focussed on the environment and had themes of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, and our responsibility to help the planet.

Our year 11 students researched the relevant issues, explored similar materials for the allocated age groups and then, in groups, created a short play with accompanying activity to support the learning.


On the 5th of June, our two Year 11 Drama classes culminated the TIE unit with a trip to JCSRS to perform nine pieces of theatre and run their activities with across the age groups of 5-19. As our ESF sister school, the students at JCSRS all have complex learning needs, and yet all love Drama as much as our students do! Our students did a great job, and learned so much from the process. Their empathy, friendliness and teaching skills were heartwarming to watch, and the students at JCSRS all loved the performances and interaction with our students.

In response to the feedback received from the students, Holly Mannings, the arts coordinator at JCSRS, and I have decided this was a great unit of collaboration, and the community engagement aspect was truly valuable for both sets of students. While the performances and activities were great, these were in groups, so while students were not on stage, there was little for them to do other than watch each other. Holly and I are already thinking of ways we can make more efficient use of the time we spend at JCSRS during the day, by having our DC students spend more time with specific classes, experience the Sensory Integration Room, and perhaps assist in the Living skills room or in the cafe run by their students. But for a first run, we are very pleased with the outcome of this unit – and as always I couldn’t be prouder of my year 11 Drama students!


– Danielle Veilleux