One of the best parts about working at Digital Theatre Plus is when we're able to go and see students put on productions at their schools. It's even more exciting when the school has been using Digital Theatre Plus to explore and prepare for the play they're performing.
So we were thrilled when we were invited to Langdon School in East Ham yesterday to enjoy their production of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The students put their heart and soul into an interpretive, abridged version of the Bard's tragedy.
At the helm of the production was drama teacher Matthew Roberts. We know Matthew well as he helped us create Shakespeare in your Space: Macbeth when he was teaching at St. Marylebone's school where we filmed the workshop. If you haven't seen it yet, Shakespeare in your Space: Macbeth is the first in our series of filmed workshops which offer teachers an insight into how they can use practical drama exercises to help them teach the texts.
As a strong believer in Digital Theatre Plus, Matthew used the resource to help him guide the new Shakespeare performers through what can be a challenging and scary piece.
The performance began with an introduction from Matthew to the audience of teachers, parents and other students. Matthew explained how he and the students had prepared for the performance using Digital Theatre Plus.
We used Digital Theatre Plus to explore the journey from the page to the stage. Our students watched different extracts from the workshop which they could incorporate instantaneously into their work. It was that level of immediacy which helped them achieve. The group explored language, meaning and themes using the helpful exercises. Not only did we work through the workshop, but we applied it to this performance. It's the work we're doing with Shakespeare in your Space: Macbeth that will really thread a dynamic relationship between English and Drama.
The performance was notable for the students' camaraderie and ability to support each other on stage. Their engagement with the text was fantastic on all levels - dramatically, thematically and linguistically. One of the most admirable aspects of the evening was discovering the students had taken their own time, at lunch breaks for example, to rehearse for the performance. Many of the students weren't studying a drama course, and one performer had not stepped on a stage before.
We hope this experience inspired a few of the students to explore Shakespeare more fully and perhaps even consider a career in performance!
Photos: Dora Wade