LEAVERS’ PLAY WITH PUPILS AT KENTON PRIMARY SCHOOL
In July, MED Theatre spent time with Kenton Primary’s Year 6 class revisiting their most treasured memories from their time at Primary school. Over four sessions, MED led the young group through a series of games and devising exercises that culminated in the creation of an original script that placed its actors inside a video game. In order to escape the game and their evil captor (their beloved teacher, Mr Kay) the group had to complete a series of memory related tasks. The play was performed as part of their leavers’ assembly.
LEAVERS’ PLAY WITH PUPILS AT KENN PRIMAY SCHOOL
MED Theatre used drama techniques with students to explore favourite, funniest, scariest and most proud memories of their time at Kenn Primary School. They went on to devise (improvise and act out) a scenario of being reunited many years later in an old people’s home and sharing memories. This devised process led to a comical script which they presented as their leavers’ school play.
FILM ‘MACBETH PAST AND FUTURE’ MADE BY PUPILS AT ABBOTSKERSWELL
Abbotskerswell Year 6 Pupils created a film helped by MED Theatre, to go some way towards explaining the malicious behaviour of the witches in Macbeth. They did this by looking at Macbeth’s childhood. The film was shown as part of the school’s performance of Macbeth, and included an epilogue which suggested how the curse might be lifted. MED Theatre mentored the children to create their own dual films to appear either side of their play all about the story of Macbeth. The first film explored why the witches decide to become so evil and what Macbeth and his friends may have done to them as children, and the second film looks at what could have happened to the witches after Shakespeare’s play Macbeth finishes, right down to the present.
‘WOLF GIRL’: PLAY ABOUT REWILDING, WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY PUPILS AT MORETONHAMPSTEAD PRIMARY SCHOOL
SHORT STORY PROJECT WITH HATHERLEIGH, LEWTRENCHARD, SOUTH TAWTON AND NORTHLEW SCHOOL
MED Theatre mentored G&T children at four primary schools in the Hatherleigh area to write and record their own short stories, based on the theme of ‘Dartmoor Elements’.
RADIO PLAY WORKSHOP WITH WEST EXE SCHOOL
MED Theatre worked with drama students to prepare them for recording their own radio documentary feature
EXETER UNIVERSITY WORKSHOP
MA and third year Applied Drama students joined MED Theatre professionals at Exeter University exploring how we practice community theatre with rurally isolated communities. They were set the task of adapting our style to their own community groups and some really exciting project ideas were born! Dr Kerrie Schaefer tweeted: ‘Big thankyou to @medtheatre for masterclass with MA Applied @UofEDrama exploring use of folklore as stimulus with community groups!’
‘THE WALK’ AT BOWHILL
HOUSE NUMBER 13 – by BOVEY PRIMARY
This July we have been working with year six pupils at Bovey Tracy Primary School to create their short film ‘House Number 13′. The pupils devised an exciting and imaginative plot line, mixing haunted houses, witches’ curses and magic riddles, all with the theme of bullying at it’s centre.
KENN SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Every year Kenn Primary School year 5s and 6s are mentored by MED Theatre to devise their own script for their leavers project. This last year they got creative with the world of Hogwarts and magically wove in their own stories of the most fun and proud moments of their time at Kenn – the witches and wizards even broke into song at the end!
‘LORD OF THE PIES!’ – A PROMENADE PLAY BY MORETON PRIMARY
Set on post-apocalyptic Dartmoor in a world with no adults, a group of surviving children from Moretonhampstead Primary seize hold of the school’s last remaining resources and set up camp. All is well for a short time, until a group of refugees from Exeter arrive and disrupt the new status quo… A story about team-work, ‘Lord of the Pies’ was a promenade play, devised and performed by year six pupils at Moretonhampstead Primary School and mentored by MED Theatre.
BRIGHT NIGHTS PLAY SHOWCASE
On Sunday 21st June our Bright Nights drama group presented their plays from playwriting club to an invited audience in Moretonhampstead Parish Hall. It was a great opportunity for them to show their families and friends what they have been working on and see their ideas taking shape.
THE WALK SCHOOLS WORKSHOPS
As part of the Arts Council funded project The Walk our education officer Grace Swordy ran two workshops with students at Boasley Cross in March and Widecombe in May. We explored our local environments, looking out for shapes and images in nature, and brought them back to class to inspire drama and creative writing activities. Both schools created some really interesting pieces and responded beautifully to their surroundings.
MED Theatre worked with Whitleigh Primary School to create and perform a play about Victorian Plymouth and its press gangs and workhouses.
RADIO PLAY – The Cavalier of Blackton Rocks
Gifted and talented pupils from Hatherleigh, Northlew, South Tawton and Lewtrenchard primary schools came together to create a radio play based on the Dartmoor myth of the cavalier of Blackaton Rocks
Two primary schools became film makers this summer covering the eras of the first and the second world wars. Abbotskerswell Primary School film was a poignant look at local men who returned home suffering from the tragic effects of shell shock, a sensitive subject matter that the children explored with sensitivity and maturity. At Bovey Tracey Primary The Cursed Camera was a thriller where a psychic young girl from the present day experienced creepy flashbacks to a fatal accident that her grandmother had witnessed which still haunts her today.
Moretonhampstead Primary received MED Theatre’s flagship Playwriting and Performance Course. They wrote and performed their brand new play Spy or No Spy, sticking with the war theme – on Halloween a group of children sneaked into a haunted hotel where they met ghosts who have been trapped there since WW1 and helped to solve the mystery of a local man being accused of being a spy.
Playwriting is not the only way to create a script as Kenn Primary proved – they devised their own play script which then was written down and given to them as a finished script… their creative performance juices flowed as they came up with every word without having to pick up a pen!
THE RECOVERY BUS
traces a journey of real people’s pasts and routes to recovery
MED Theatre mentored Exeter University Applied Drama MA students to run a community play project with people from Exeter who are Drug and Alcohol Service Users along with the wider community. The project culminated in a an original performance written and devised by the cast, called ‘The Recovery Bus’, on Friday 9th May 2014. The performance received acclaim from an invited audience, and not only showcased the participants’ skills in writing, acting, music composition and puppetry, but was telling their personal stories of recovery.
PAIGNTON ZOO PERSONALITIES
In the May half term MED Theatre were invited back to Paignton Zoo’s holiday club for the second time to deliver a film-making course. The young people made a comical mocumentary-style film which delved into the human as well as the animal personalities at the zoo.
THE LEGENDS OF DARTMOOR RETURN
written by pupils of Mary Tavy and Brentor Community Primary School
MED Theatre spent a week with pupils at Mary Tavy Primary School this April as they devised and performed their own play, inspired by local history and Dartmoor legends. ‘The Legends of Dartmoor Return’ was set in the Victorian era; a dispute arises over where the school for the Brentor area should be sited. Pupils from the Blackdown area are recorded to have been expelled from Brentor school due to the machinations of the school secretary, but shortly afterwards the teacher starts a new school at Blackdown and Brentor is closed.
The play was written by the children working in teams, or devised by the younger ones. Some of the material for the story was provided by interviews which the children conducted with members of the local community. Thank you to all the staff at Mary Tavy and Brentor Community Primary School for their help and support, and to the members of the community who contributed their knowledge and memories of the area during the children’s research. This work was supported by a grant from West Devon Borough Council.
WW1 THROUGH PHYSICAL THEATRE
Also in April, Widecombe Primary School students had a fun morning bringing to life the harsh realities of what people were going through in their local area during World War One. They used games, drama, fact finding and imagination to learn about their local heritage.
March has been a busy month for MED Theatre. Alongside our annual community play we have also been working with gifted and talented pupils from Northlew, Hatherleigh and Exbourne Primary Schools to produce an orginal radio play. ‘The Tree and the Beaver’ was written, performed and recorded by the pupils themselves, combining poetry, acting and sound effects and inspired by an article about a beaver on the loose! Watch this space for sound clips!