Drama Production Skills Workshop

Report by Mr Gillespie

Our Lady’s High School’s National 5 Drama classes enjoyed a superb opportunity to gain experience in a professional theatre venue earlier this month. They attended Cumbernauld Theatre for one full day on Thursday  15 January,

Our Lady’s pupils had the theatre all to themselves, with practical workshops on Lighting, Sound, Costume and Make Up. We worked in the theatre itself, in the studio, backstage and in the dressing rooms.  We worked with theatre staff, designers and technical staff, and got the opportunity to use the theatre’s lighting and sound equipment.  We looked at the different kinds of lanterns used in the theatre, and had the opportunity to explore their effect and to create some exciting lighting states.  We designed costume and created our own Soundscape for a piece of text, selecting sound effects choosing appropriate music and creating sound to enhance the production. Using Make Up proved great fun, but we also learnt about how to create the effect which we sought, and got the chance to try out some of our ideas on one another!

This was a great day, where pupils had the chance to use their imagination whilst learning about how to create some of the crucial backstage elements which go towards making a production so effective.  The National 5 Drama Production Skills workshop helped prepare pupils for the forthcoming National 5 examination. It covered important elements of the course, and helped pupils to understand much more about the nature and effect of the creative choices which are made when creating a production. Thanks go to Cumbernauld Theatre, to  the specialist staff who offered invaluable support, and to North Lanarkshire Council for supporting this excellent venture.


Shakespeare Schools Festival

Report by Mr Deans

The Shakespeare Schools Festival is the UK’s largest youth drama festival. Every night during the Festival  four schools perform a half hour abridgement of a Shakespeare play.

2010 is a very special year as it’s the Tenth Anniversary Festival. It began in 2000 in Wales with eight performances. In 2010 there will be 650 schools taking part in 80 theatres with 13,000 performers. It is UK-wide and involves students from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Our Lady’s High School will be performing the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare on 1st October, 7pm at the New Athenaeum Theatre in the RSAMD in Glasgow.

 The production will be performed by Mr Deans’ 3rd year Drama class. This is the first time that many of them will have performed on stage, and certainly the first time many have tackled Shakespearean language on stage. The production has been directed by Mr Deans, with Mrs Smith and Mrs Glover assisting with movement and singing.

 We have been rehearsing the play since the term began in August, and during that time we have taken part in a cast workshop with another school, as well as giving up most of our lunchtimes.

 We are so excited about taking part in the Festival and hope that pupils, parents and staff from the school will come along and support us.

Citizenship winners!

Report by Lauren McKinnon

A group of 2nd year pupils went to Education HQ in Kildonan Street, Coatbridge, to participate in the North Lanarkshire Police Citizenship Awards and came home with the award for the Most Innovative Approach!!!!!!

The pupils and staff had a fantastic time and enjoyed the chance to be able to take part in such an prestigious event.

Dalziel HS, Firpark School, Coltness HS and Greenfaulds HS also took part in the presentations on their chosen subjects and also received appropriate trophies.

Many thanks to all the staff who helped us: Mr Duff, Mr Jakusz, Mrs Macfadyen, Mrs MacKay, Mr Miller, Mr Murphy and especially Mrs Zambonini.

Othello workshop

Report by Mr Millar.

Fifty Advanced Higher and Higher English students took part in a drama workshop about Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ led by the drama department at OLHS. The workshop’s objective was to assist in deepening the students understanding of characters within the play and to examine the complexities of the characters.

The workshop looked at character desires and objectives as well as looking at how certain words and punctuation assisted in the overall psyche of particular characters within the play. Group work, tableaux (Still images), role-play and movement work featured heavily in the workshop in order to achieve the workshops overall objective.

Mr Millar of the Drama department at OLHS explained “It was really important that the lesson was not only practical based using a variety of drama techniques but also and, more importantly, could be accessible for all pupils to feel comfortable to participate. The emphasis was on exploring the desires of each of the characters within Othello and not on the students ability to ‘perform’.”

Mrs Millar, of the English department at OLHS praised the workshop, “This was a really exciting way to study Shakespeare – pupils and teachers gained different insights into characters by moving from words into actions. We’ll definitely be exploring texts this way in the future.”

Likewise one Advanced Higher English student, Mark Boules said, “The workshop helped us understand the physical qualities of the play better. Mr Millar taught us about the features of the speech such as rythmn which is something that is not dwelled upon in English and yet can have a profound effect on the impact of the piece. An insight from the Drama department helped us to realize this and much more.”

Mr Millar concluded, “The department always welcomes the opportunities to take part and lead lessons with other departments within the school and while the drama department has its own curriculum to teach it’s important to work together to create some examples of some stunning teaching and learning.”

Top marks all round!