Brooke Weston’s drama students had the opportunity to go onstage at the Core and take part in the action during a piece of ‘forum’ theatre.
The play ‘No Fixed Abode’ followed central character, Jess, as she faced housing issues and other social pressures and explored different choices she could have made and the outcomes that would have led to.
The production, staged by Cardboard Citizens theatre company, featured both professional actors and local people with experience of homelessness. Forum theatre is interactive, meaning that the audience could interact with cast members and influence the on-stage action.
Miss Duguid and a number of our students went on stage to work with the director, Terry O’ Leary and explore some of the play's issues of homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse.
Miss Duguid said: ‘Usually forum theatre targets issues. It will track through a character’s decisions that led to them being an alcoholic or being homeless, as in the case of ‘No Fixed Abode’.
‘The audience can interrupt the production with their suggestions and the actors rewind and show where that new path may lead. Usually it is a type of theatre that is taken to groups, such as into schools for bullying or to vulnerable groups like alcoholics to support better choice making. It is quite an educational form of theatre.’
Up to 30 of our GCSE and BTEC drama students watched the performance, staged in association with Housing Options, Corby Borough Council and the Core. The GCSE students will write a review of the production, lighting, sound, action and plot as part of their coursework while the Year 12s will use the improvisation techniques in their next assignment.
Miss Duguid said: ‘People think improvising is making things up on the spot but there is a real skill behind it. While you are thinking of what to say you also have to devise actions, make it believable and move the drama on. When we improvise with students one of the first situations we tackle is an argument as they have to learn to work as a team with their peers to drive the storyline forward. It was really useful for them to see how the cast members did that, and also have the chance to get on stage themselves.’
Miss Bailey said: ‘The performance lasted for about forty minutes then the director came on and spoke to the students and got feedback. The skills our students learned were not necessarily about acting but it was the opportunity to interact with the actors and director. The message that the director wanted to get across was, that if you do get into this situation, what are the right paths to choose?’