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.
Celebrating Last Term’s Achievements: A Glimpse into Our Lively Department
Posted by Carla Acepcion
Welcome back! Spring break is over and today marks the beginning of term 3 – how time flies! This term is not a long one, but we look forward to the many performances, workshops and events we have coming up with it. But first, here’s a recap of our last term:
All year 7 students enjoyed a 2-hour workshop with Faust, focussed on stage fighting at the start of March. Matt and Ronja from Faust International Youth theatre company, joined us for two full days of teaching the students slapping, punching, choking and hair pulling, all for a fun way to explore stage fighting their next violent performances! The kids were superbly behaved, listened attentively and were highly engaged in a safe and fun way. They were so good at fighting realistically that we gave them stern warnings not to scare their teachers and parents with these moves around school or at home!
We hosted two evenings of Year 9 Duologue performances where all year 9 Drama students worked in pairs on an excerpt of a published play text; they memorised their lines, developed their characters and staged the piece themselves with lights, sound and set. Congratulations to all years ( students on an excellent debut to public performances -you all did a superb job!! The evenings went smoothly with some great acting, smooth transitions and fabulous engagement from all. We’re so proud to see how far you’ve come this year!
Year 10 Drama students have been studying Frantic Assembly, a UK theatre company known for their physical language and moving human pieces of strong, emotional theatre. Students created their own theatre based on this style, incorporating chair duets, standing duets, and monologues into their personal creations. These were performed to an invited audience over the space of two evening performances and all left with a feeling of amazement at the students’ creativity and professional development. Well done to all Year 10 students on their penultimate performance of the year.
Our wonderful Year 13 Diploma Theatre students performed their final component of the course, the Solo performances. Formed with research into a theatre practitioner, students show how they can apply a theatre practice to either a published play or a piece of their own creation. We had amazing performances to a live audience, based on Artaud, La Page, Wilson and Craig, with foci on set, lighting, projections and emotional response. A huge congratulations for the completion of the course -they have the final paperwork to submit, but their work here is done! We wish them all the best in their bright and shining futures!
The Hong Kong Arts Festival is an amazing opportunity to see a range of great professional performances by theatre companies from all over the globe. This year we teamed up with Young Friends organization to be able to offer students the chance to see a minimum of two performances for a ridiculously reduced price. All of year 10 went to see a rehearsal of Whipped Cream by the American Theatre Ballet, while all year 11 students went to see National Theatre’s award-winning production of The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time, after they had a workshop at school on the play, led by a Young Friends leader. All students had the opportunity to join in with a further four theatre trips; Bosch Dreams, two viewings of The Pursuit of Happiness, and The Suppliant Women.
ISTA stands for the International Schools Theatre Association, a global educational theatre company with strong links to the IB, and they have recently established a base in Hong Kong. Last weekend they celebrated 40 years of school festivals, and Hong Kong Academy hosted 80 students from 9 schools in Hong Kong for their 2-day festival titled ‘Come Together’. We had 6 DC students participate, from both primary and secondary, and in the space of a day and a half they created an incredible, fully formed production for an audience. This experience never fails to amaze me -the students start working with kids they’ve never met before, and led by ensemble leaders they create the most visual and physical work that, under the guidance of an Artistic director, is formed into a dynamic performance with lights, sound, projections, and even a live band accompaniment! Well done to these students who dedicate their entire weekend to this festival -you did a fantastic job, and you are true artists in the making! I know for a fact you each loved this festival and will be sure to join future events – I look forward to going with you!
So these are all the main events we have seen happen this eventful March, but all have happened alongside the continuation of the regular events, like classes and Lower secondary production rehearsals twice a week. The production is coming along nicely – as a Director my aim to is to give the students involved as much ownership over this play as I can -and their ideas have continued to pour in, demonstrating how innovative and creative these wonderful students are. This is going to be a great show! I would like to offer family and friends the opportunity to walk into any of our rehearsals to see how we work. You are always welcome -only please realise you are letting yourself into spoiler alerts!! In any case, we look forward to welcoming you to one of the shows held on the 3rd of May. We know you’ll think it’s ‘incredible’!
All of the events in the Theatre and Drama studios lead to a lot of mess, so this term we are starting up our brand new after-school club of ‘Stage managers galore’. Every Tuesday a dedicated group of volunteers come to tidy and manage the rooms, props, costumes and spaces we use for Drama. Thank you to those who signed up! The students who show dedication and commitment to DC secondary theatre have the greatest chance of becoming a DC Drama captain in the future. Each year we have one student from year 11 chosen to work with the captain from year 12 to run our events. Drama captains manage the spaces, run lights and sound at evening and daytime performances, support the Secondary school productions, and led a whole host of events. We are very grateful for the dedicated work of our current captains; Leticia and Csende – Thank you!!!!
This term we welcome a workshop for Y8 students by the world-renowned UK theatre company, Trestle. This company makes and performs with masks, and as well as a teacher workshop, DC is inviting the actors to lead a workshop for our year 8 students, coinciding perfectly with their unit of learning on Masks.
Year 11 are launching a brand new Drama unit this year. Replacing the performance of a full-length play, this unit will be deeply embedded in our community of ESF schools. Our year 11 students are creating their own pieces of theatre, supported by an activity, to bring to Jockey Club Sarah Roe school as Theatre in Education. JCSRS is our ESF sister school for differently abled children, who have special learning needs. Our students have studied Sarah Roe’s unit plan of ‘We are the World’ and they have designed theatre pieces which complement the inquiry of their target audiences, even creating an activity to play with their audience to support the performance of their play. Students will be taken to JCSRS on the 5th of June, and I am sure both our students and JCSRS students will enjoy and benefit greatly from this unit of learning. I am really looking forward to these pieces!
Thanks to all the commitment and enthusiasm of all our Drama kids – you are helping to grow this department and making us shine brightly as the stars we all are! We look forward to sharing with you again soon!
DC Drama Students Participate in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ Workshop
Posted by Carla Acepcion
The annual Hong Kong Arts festival provides our community with the opportunity to see some great theatrical productions.
This year, our DC Drama students from years 10, 11, 12 and 13 will have the chance to attend five productions at the festival, through our new partnership with Young Friends of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. This is a local organisation which promotes theatre experiences for schools and young people in Hong Kong, offering various programmes and events such as ‘Meet the Artist’ opportunities, open rehearsals, backstage tours and masterclasses to encourage and nurture students’ appreciation and passion for the arts. This partnership means we have reduced rates for tickets, and, aside from seeing some great performances, our students will also attend a rehearsal for a production; giving them a chance to see how professional troupes prepare, as well as a workshop in connection with one of the productions.
On the 14th of March, we will be taking all out year 11, 12 and 13 Drama students to a performance of the play, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’. Winner of five Tony Awards® and seven Oliviers including Best Play, Best Design, and Best Director this thrilling production from Britain’s National Theatre has been hailed by The Times as “a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle.
“15-year-old Christopher Boone has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. When Christopher falls under suspicion of killing his neighbour’s dog, his detective work to identify the true culprit takes him on a frightening journey that turns his world upside down. The Curious Incident is a story about all of us, a story about difference, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.”
Hong Kong Arts Festival Programme Information
To prepare for this production, our Year 11 and 12 students received a workshop focussed on the play, led by Emily from Young Friends of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, on the 5th of February. In two groups, our students explored the theme of marginalisation and how differences between people should be celebrated, not merely tolerated, based on interactions with the main character from the play. They worked through various devising activities and games; Emily did some fantastic Teacher-in-role acting, and the students worked on improvising a range of responses to the character of Christopher. Through a workshop of only one hour, each student from both groups transformed their initial negative responses into a deeper understanding and true empathy for the character, which was mesmerising to watch.
This workshop will give our students a far greater understanding of the play when we go to see it on the 14th of March, and definitely more empathy for the main character. Not only is this useful for appreciating the production, but this also sets our students up beautifully for their next unit in year 11, where they will design and create a piece of theatre especially for students at the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School; our ESF sister school for students with severe learning needs, many of whom also live their lives through the lens of Autism, just like our main character Christopher.
A snippet from Monday; Year 11s and 12s received a workshop on "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime"Posted by ESF Discovery College Theatre on 2018年2月7日
Another snippet from the workshop on 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime' last Monday, 5th Feb. So great to see how caring and compassionate our Year 11s and 12s are!Posted by ESF Discovery College Theatre on 2018年2月12日
Dewi Hughes leads Year 10s in a workshop on ‘Using Your Voice Effectively’
Posted by Carla Acepcion
On January 25th, we had Dewi Hughes visit us to lead three Year 10 Drama classes through a workshop on ‘Using Your Voice Effectively’: running a marathon demands physical fitness, and if you earn your living through speaking, you need to be vocally fit. In this workshop students explored fun and easy routes to vocal fitness. Students learned how to speak over background noise without strain, and found out how their voices could attract the attention of the listener. Students also learnedpractical exercises to give their voices stamina, to meet the challenges of the professional voice user.
Dewi graduated with an English Literature BA (UCL) in 1991. He has been working in and around theatre ever since, appearing in many productions in London, on tour and at Edinburgh fringe. He graduated from Central School in 1994 with an MA in Voice Studies, since when he has worked in many drama schools, including LAMDA and Drama Centre, and is currently Head Of Voice at Drama Studio London.
Year 10 Workshop: 'Using Your Voice Effectively' by Dewi Hughes
Yesterday, Dewi Hughes led our Year 10 drama classes in a workshop on 'Using Your Voice Effectively', a skill applicable to anyone!Posted by ESF Discovery College Theatre on 2018年1月25日
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