What a fantastic week it’s been! We’ve performed at Solihull School and at Bloxham School, We’ve seen four amazing plays, all different to one another and yet all really fantastic, we’ve toured the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, we’ve been to the Theatre Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum and we’ve had really, really great time!
The students at the two schools we visited really enjoyed our production. Our play showed images from the First World War, through a discussion between three great theatre practitioners of the early 20th Century – Stanislavski, Brecht and Artaud. We presented the scenes in the piece using techniques that these three practitioners might have used in their different approaches to theatre.
In Stratford-Upon-Avon we visited the RSC where we were given a really fantastic tour, seeing both Front of House and backstage areas and learning a little of the fascinating history of the theatre. During the evening we attended a production of ‘Titus Andronicus’ in the RSC’s Swan Theatre. This was Shakespeare meets Tarantino in perhaps the most violent of all of Shakespeare’s works. With 20 litres of fake blood being used in the production we were astonished by the final fight scene, as several major characters died in quick succession!
Arriving in London we went straight to the Duchess Theatre to watch Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’. This allegorical play parodies the rise of Adolf Hitler and the powerful ending reminds the audience that the rise of such tyrannical characters is indeed, often resistible.
Early the next day we had a very interesting visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum to explore the Theatre Exhibition and then took the chance to examine the Elmgreen and Dragset exhibition ‘Tomorrow’ which allowed us access into a stage play with no script where we were able to explore the life and home of an imagined architect, meeting the staff of his house and examining his belongings as we tried to piece together what had happened to him.
During the afternoon we went to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to see the Musical of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory directed by Sam Mendes. This lavish show with extraordinary costumes and sets was a wonderful spectacle. We all enjoyed the Umpa Lumpas and we were astonished by the flying Great Glass Elevator.
After a brief rest and a bit of time to take on fuel… we attended our final show of the tour, the spine chilling ‘Woman in Black’ at the Fortune Theatre. This was a great way to end the tour, we were all frightened out of our wits by the simple yet effective staging used in this long running production. The audience jumped and screamed through the show and the eponymous Woman, caused many serious shocks to the system!
We crammed so much into this fantastic trip and the students we took with us were absolutely fantastic, working really hard, presenting their own work and giving great feedback on the productions we saw in London. This trip will have given them so much that they can use for their A Level work, both in the compulsory review that they have to write and towards the practical productions they will be staging next term.
Here’s a short video I’ve made which shows a little of what we got up to as well as extracts from the work we performed whilst we were there… Enjoy.