Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Throughout this academic year, RoughHouse Theatre has been the Boys’ Division’s theatre company in residence. RoughHouse, comprising Moira Hunt and Shane Morgan, have collaborated with boys in Years 7 to 9, devising drama from topics drawn from the wider pastoral curriculum. RoughHouse Theatre were commissioned to produce a new, original piece of theatre based on the boys’ work in these sessions, which will be performed by Bolton School pupils.
RoughHouse Theatre have facilitated whole afternoon sessions on race, democracy, justice and law using verbatim theatre techniques and have explored skills designed to create a physical language to investigate these complex topics and to develop pupils’ ability to establish informed, thoughtful viewpoints. Boys have worked in various collaborative dynamics from small group work through to stylistic experimentation and development as a year group, appraising examples of boys’ work.
Miss Lord, the Boys' Division Director of Drama, said, “Cultural learning of this sort provides our pupils with the opportunity to explore what it means to be a member of their immediate community and to actively engage with important trends in social politics. Partnerships with professionals from the creative industries bring new and varied approaches to applied learning, as well as a sense of contemporary arts production and career pathways. RoughHouse have brought boundless enthusiasm to this project and boys have collectively benefitted from their methods and their energy.”
The workshops with the company have also fed into the Lower School Arts Award: Year 7 boys are retelling famous tales from alternative perspectives as part of their work towards the award, while Year 8 began with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and looked at empathy and exploration of character. RoughHouse Theatre’s sessions linked well with these topics and allowed pupils to extend what they had learned in their wider theatre studies.
Boys’ work in lesson time and at home has provided a wealth of material which has been shared with the theatre company to allow them to create an original piece of drama. Boys carried out interviews with family members and peers, recording verbatim transcripts of the conversations. Verbatim theatre retains all features of spoken language, including fillers and false starts. Use of this increasingly popular storytelling technique will mean that the voices of our immediate and broader School community are audible in the piece.
Auditions are now under way to produce this piece of verbatim theatre, using RoughHouse Theatre’s theatrical expertise and the boys’ research material, over the course of two days in early July.
This unique opportunity is open to pupils in Years 7 to 10 and offers them the opportunity to devise, rehearse and present the play in partnership with professional theatre makers.
The play will be performed during the Boys’ Division Drama Festival on 6 July alongside Arts Award final performances and Lower School Drama Club sketches.
RoughHouse Co-Director Shane Morgan said, “RoughHouse Theatre are proud to have established links with such a progressive and dynamic school and department. Having now taken two shows to the school and worked with a broad range of the students, we feel completely at home at Bolton and look forward to the final result of this current project and to further collaborations in the future.”
RoughHouse Theatre was established in Sydney in 2000 and has a rich inventory of adapted non-theatrical pieces of work for the stage, reinventing classics and building new work from scratch. Previous collaborations have included adaptations of work by writers Nick Hornby and Daniel Wallace. They have worked in association with institutions like the Victoria and Albert Museum, Theatre Royal Bath and most recently the Professional Cricketer’s Association with their critically acclaimed When The Eye Has Gone, which opened its second national tour at Bolton School in March this year.
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