Pupils at Dunedin had the opportunity to participate in a series of high quality drama workshops during the 2015-16 session, run by the professional creative team at The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. This has been an extremely positive and valuable experience which we hope to continue in the future. We particularly hoped to tie the drama sessions in to develop the whole-school Health and Wellbeing focus on building positive relationships and respect. The Lyceum therefore suggested creating a project based around their production of The Crucible, with its strong themes of integrity, relationships and the individual conscience. Pupils engaged in a range of drama activities, from mime and creating tableaux, to performing lines from the play. Through these activities, and through discussion, they were able to gain an insight into characters and their motivation. As part of the project, our pupils were also able to visit the theatre to see behind the scenes during a backstage tour which opened up the world of theatre to them, demonstrating the team work involved in putting on a production, and the numerous, and varied, jobs created by theatre.
Through these workshops, our pupils gained a really good insight into a complex and thought-provoking play and were very keen to attend a performance of it at The Lyceum. Just being able to access these social spaces, where there are many other people, is a major achievement in itself for some of our young people. However, the pupils also engaged extremely well with the performance. They all agreed that participating in the drama sessions before they saw the performance was crucial to understanding what was happening on stage, and this allowed them to access a play which we probably would not have otherwise taken them to see.
Overall, the project has helped pupils to develop trust and encouraged them to work together; it has prompted them to think about some significant themes and ideas by examining characters and their relationships in the play, and they have therefore developed critical thinking skills; it has also got them into busy social spaces in the centre of town, and given them an insight into working within the theatre.
It has also enabled one pupil to carry out work experience in the Lyceum Theatre.
Hopefully we will be able to build on the enthusiasm the pupils have shown and the confidence they have developed and introduce more drama in the future.