Saturday 21st January 2006 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston students were given top tips and an insight into the acting profession during a lively drama masterclass. The workshop gave the Year 11 group a chance to improvise rapidly and confidently, and the students certainly fulfilled their tasks with gusto.
Actors Sarah Guyer, Laura Clark and Alan Parker comprise Pals Productions, a local company which tours schools promoting drama in education.
To get the session rolling they each performed a vignette and then handed over to the students, giving them a range of tasks which meant that the whole afternoon ranged from trading Shakespearean insults to performing quick-fire adverts, jingles and protest songs!
Acting for the class
Students had to perform in groups, watched by their peers and an over-riding feature of the afternoon was the encouragement and support the students gave to each other's work. Head of English, Rachel Steele who organised the workshop said: 'The students are very good at reacting to different tasks very quickly and there is a very encouraging, supportive atmosphere. All the students have taken part. At the start some were a bit reticent but there's not one student here who won't have got something out of this workshop.'
The actors, who are normally used to working with primary age children found the GCSE students to be imaginative and adaptable.
Laura said: 'The students here were very confident, accepting and up for anything. With students of this age they can take an idea and develop something of their own.'
Sarah Guyer, Laura Clark and Alan Parker from Pals Productions
The workshop was rounded off by a question and answer session in which the actors fielded such diverse queries as how to best portray someone of the opposite gender ('it's all in the body language!') and whether the actors had been in anything memorable (Byker Grove).
Laura encouraged the budding actors: 'If you enjoy acting there's lots of different opportunities out there, from working with children to fringe theatre. If you are ambitious and driven you might just suceed!'
The workshop will act as a catalyst to prepare the students for their GCSE performance. They will have to devise and perform a piece entitled 'Secret and Lies' for assessment.
Rachel said: 'This masterclass is going to stimulate their ideas and make them think about their skills. They will all give very different performances but you will be able to see their original starting point.'