At Brabyns we talk a lot to the children about ‘team’, working together, understanding and celebrating our differences, and so on.
Looking back and reflecting on the performances of “Superstan” I realised how much these qualities contributed to the show’s success and the benefits the children gained from working together in such harmony.
There was no greater example of this than with Year 6. Over the last few years we have developed a highly effective blue print for them to follow and this year’s cohort bought into the programme which helped them grow as performers and individuals through the whole process.
After blocking out the stage positioning in the first instance, ownership is then passed on to the children by splitting them into small groups and allowing them to experiment and develop their own (ideas) characterisation to the parts they play. My role is to flit across the groups suggesting alternative ideas and keeping the children open minded as to how their character might develop (in other words interfering as little as possible but keeping them motivated and working together).
The exciting part of this approach is that the more the children experiment, the more daring they become. This in turn feeds their confidence and ultimately achieves the effect that every actor tries to achieve; they become the character they are playing. The children not only become totally engrossed in the parts they are playing but they also feed off each others' ideas. Through this metamorphosis the feeling of being ‘self-conscious’ completely disappears.
The most repetitive question I am asked by the children is permission to try different things, to which I reply... ‘It is your role, as long it is believable to the part you are playing you can do whatever you want’.
This proved to be particularly evident during the actual performances in the New Mills Theatre as the children started to ad lib and add extra moves and actions on stage!
To see the children so invested in their performances and sparkling on stage is the best reward I can receive as a teacher but this is not possible without the help of our own staff team. The hours spent making props, co-ordinating and fitting costumes, helping back stage, supporting and encouraging the children and many other jobs beside are all done with an unswerving efficiency and co-operation that shows that TEAM is a thing we just do at Brabyns and is part of the fabric of our very special School.
James Westall, Performing Arts Specialist
To view some photos from our performance of "Superstan" click here.