Y12 Drama students are facing the challenge of Devising a piece of Drama in lockdown. This initially felt like an impossible task as usually the Devising process is so dependent on live exploration and experimentation. However, we talked it through and realised that it is still possible to be creative and use research to develop ideas – particularly with the help of live Teams lessons. Our theme is ‘Refugees’ and is growing from the exploration of a Dutch play called Mirad, a Boy from Bosnia and a study of the practitioners Stanislavski and Frantic Assembly that we completed together in the Autumn Term. We have been very lucky to have this process enlivened by visitors to our Teams lessons – the first being Marie Bessant who is Director of Performing Arts for the exam board OCR. She was full of praise for our students saying: ‘I had never imagined that working remotely could be so exciting engaging and moving. The quality of the speeches you created from verbatim was incredible and moved me to tears sitting in my office.’
The following week, we invited Carmine de Grandis in to talk about his experiences working in Lesbos and Calais offering aide to refugees as they arrived from Syria. He was so inspiring and helped to add the perspective of ‘hope’ and optimism to a very sad situation. The stories he told us about the people he has met were insightful and helped to make it all feel more real. Carmine has also sent us the diary he kept during his time to use as verbatim. The students will use his words to create dialogue in the theatre they devise as a part of their A-Level. He also told our students that he was amazed by their empathy and understanding of a situation which the have not directly concerned them and praised them for being so ‘human’ in their approach. Drama is a subject that needs constant inspiration from the world outside of our experiences and it is wonderful that modern technology allows us to maintain this in lockdown. The work that has taken place across the Arts subjects at Attleborough Academy reminds us how flexible and resilient the Arts subjects can be and how they can change form and shape to fit the world around us. Well done to all the teachers and students who are keeping themselves creatively engaged through a different time and making ‘Art’ that will be remembered as unique and cutting edge in years to come.