The Arden Theatre Youth Group ExperiencePosted on: 28/02/2022
On Friday 24 February 2022 a group of Year 9 students performed three devised pieces at The Arden Theatre, Faversham in front of friends, family and the Mayor of Faversham.
We were approached by the director of The Arden, challenging Barton Court to create devised performances based on two stimuli: A theme from a Shakespeare play or a piece of educational theatre which informs the audience. The aim of the challenge was to allow pupils to perform in front of an audience after two years of lockdowns and limited performance opportunities. Also, to meet and watch other young thespians' devised performances from a variety of drama schools, drama clubs and schools.
The challenge was offered to all Year 9 students, not just drama students. Eleven came forward and accepted the challenge. These 11 students split into three groups, the two choosing to educate their audience chose the topics of mental health during lockdown and homophobia. The group using the Shakespeare stimulus chose a theme from Macbeth, betrayal. Students rehearsed during lunchtimes and after school for a term creating entirely original and personal performances with no input or direction from any teachers.
They were in charge of organising costumes, making and sourcing any props and blocking their performances. We had a dress rehearsal allowing students to use The Arden stage, block their performances and get used to the acoustics of the theatre.
The evening of the performances arrived swiftly, nerves were high, many Barton Court cast members struggling to eat anything before their performances. The auditorium quickly filled full of excited and proud parents, family members, friends and The Mayor of Faversham. The three Barton Court devised performances were fantastic. Every group member was professional, spoke with clear diction and performed the best they had all term. Our Year 9 students really rose to the challenge, producing some of the most effective, emotional and informative pieces of the evening.
At the end of the evening, all pupils were called on stage and awarded a plaque and free workshop from The Ugly Bucket Company who will be coming in and working with them later in the year. It was a truly inspirational evening; as always, our students represented the School in the most mature and respectful way. The talent amongst our drama students is sensational. We are very proud of all who performed. Congratulations and a very well done.