Monday, 16 January 2017
Boys in Year 7 learned more about directing a play in a special assembly with visitors from the Octagon Theatre. Resident Director Ben Occhipinti and Education Practitioner Imogen Woolrich talked to pupils about the Octagon’s recent production of Cinderella, which a large number of boys went to see with the School in November and December.
Using Cinderella as the basis for their discussion, Imogen and Ben talked to the boys about the process of directing a play and what stages go into the design, from choosing the story to making everything needed for the production.
They also spoke about the importance of choosing the perspective. The Octagon’s Cinderella was told from the point of view of the rats, which made the story significantly different and original. They asked the boys to think about other points of view they might tell the story from, such as the prince, the Ugly Sisters or the Stepmother, and how this might completely change the narrative.
As the director of Cinderella, Ben was able to give the boys lots of little behind-the-scenes details about what went into the Octagon’s production. His stories included setting live rats loose in his kitchen to see what they would be interested in, and running a workshop about what musical instruments rats would play in a primary school and finally agreeing on drums. These experiences and more informed the final production. He could also talk about the creative and practical reasons why certain choices were made.
As well as being fascinating to see what had gone into Cinderella, the Year 7 boys were able to pick up lots of tips about directing and designing a production from start to finish. This will be really valuable for them as they continue with their work towards Explore level Arts Awards.
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