Last Thursday the Year 10 GCSE drama class took a piece of physical theatre to The Dance House theatre in Manchester. The day brought together physical theatre company Frantic Assembly and students across multiple United Learning schools, all passionate about drama.
After weeks of anticipation, hard work and stimulating rehearsal the day had finally arrived. Wearily, we traipsed into school at 7:30am and then a few hours later we arrived at the theatre feeling excited, energised and eager to see what the other schools had produced.
We began the day with a full group energetic warm up of ‘Bouncing Quads’ and Frantic Assembly’s iconic ‘Clear the Space’ exercise.
Sweaty and most definitely set for the rest of the day, we split into mixed school groups and a Frantic Assembly practitioner led a fun workshop which allowed us to bond with the students we had just met.
We learnt a variety of new games and techniques. I particularly enjoyed learning all about the different lifts the company incorporates within its shows, like the pocket, hook and swing lift. Some of us, with the support of familiar and new faces even got the chance to Fly with Frantic Assembly.
Feet firmly back on the ground and stomachs grumbling, a well-deserved lunch was earned. Fed and fuelled, we reunited as a full cast and ran our piece to Frantic assembly pro Johnny, who worked solely with our class. He gave us feedback and then directed into our piece with ideas of how to refine individual moments looking at focus and working with mistakes, a great piece of advice he gave being; “If you make a mistake on stage, don’t kick yourself as you’ll no doubt end up making 3 more!” We were really appreciative of Johnny’s direction as it really helped to push our piece even further.
It was almost show time – all the schools came back together in the main theatre and performed their pieces. We were the final group to perform so anxiety and anticipation were increasing as we watched so many other talented pupils present their work. Thankfully our performance went exceptionally well, in fact all schools performed incredible pieces and it was really interesting to see so many different responses to the theme of identity.
Overall the day was challenging but totally worth it! We learnt so much and left with multiple ‘magpie moments’ from the Frantic Assembly practitioners and other schools that we can now use to help inspire our own devised exam pieces.
R Cadley, Year 10