The Year 7 Drama Ensemble’s performance focused on the range of relationships that can occur between students in a school.
Staged as a series of vignettes, the play explored the importance of friendships, what can happen when they don’t work and strategies for dealing with difficult relationships. Devised by the students, under the guidance of Ms Lauren Smith, Coordinator of Drama at Wadhurst, the play also delved into the reasons why some people might act as they do.
“You could imagine our surprise when we first found out that the storyline, posture and gestures were completely controlled by us, the students,” says participant Angus Bardsley. “This gave us an extraordinary feeling of freedom; we could make this production anything.”
The unique piece of theatre was largely drawn from the students’ own experiences or observations. Non-naturalist conventions and physical theatre were used in effective ways.
Set in a school, the boys wore their uniform as costume. In addition to filling all the acting roles, Year 7 students also assisted with lighting, sound, and backstage activities.
The Ensemble is open to all students, providing boys with an opportunity to interact with others who share a common interest.
“Drama and theatre are often viewed as just entertainment,” explains Ms Smith. “However, it goes well beyond that, teaching students to think creatively, to think laterally, and to communicate effectively and confidently. Creating your own piece of theatre also requires problem solving skills and entrepreneurial skills.”
“It was very rewarding to watch the show become owned by the students,” she added. “You can see they are enjoying the process when the energy really starts to flow.”