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.
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.
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!