Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Workshop Summary
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Workshop Summary- Cinderella – by Amber Turner Year 12
Members of Matthew Bourne’s prestigious New Adventures Dance Compnay have been working with students from year 8 – 13 from the Faculty of Creative Arts at Tavistock College. The recent workshop was based on the New Adventures’ production of Cinderella, which students then went to see at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
After a fun energetic warm up, swing style, the interactive workshop taught students a piece of repertoire from the show based on an air raid. In true Matthew Bourne style which they were then able to combine this movement work with their acting skills to create a full scene. This was a dance routine that was highly enjoyable and fun to perform, yet rather challenging. The instructors taught the routine at a very fast pace – allowing students to ultimately gain an insight into how a professional dance company runs. In the question and answer session that took place after the workshop, students further learned that ability to pick up material quickly and sustain long rehearsals was essential as a New Adventures production typically is up and performing within 3 weeks.
Students said one of the most enjoyable moments in the workshop was when they all collectively recreated a scene from the show – based at the Cafe de Paris – which portrayed each character slowly coming back to life. The instructors explained that the motifs they created were inspired by the bombing of the Cafe de Paris in 1941, so students used this as a stimulus (in combination with our own creativity) to add their own take on the material, creating an altogether mesmerizing scene with a “slow motion” effect.
The highly practical and hands-on workshop was an thoroughly enjoyable experience for anyone with a passion for dance, regardless of their ability. The instructors were very informative, answering any and every one of our questions along the way. Overall, they gave a highly detailed and critical insight into both their own dance journeys and what life is like as part of a professional dance company. Students left the workshop feeling inspired and enlightened on what life as a professional dancer is really like.
Royal Shakespeare Company Workshop
Royal Shakespeare Company Workshop by Archie Allen
On the 6th of February, 30 students from Tavistock College, took part in a drama workshop with Sophie Hobson from the Royal Shakespeare Company. The company are currently touring their Graffiti Ghanaian twist on ‘Hamlet’, so the workshop itself drew from many aspects from the play. We were encouraged to just completely let ourselves go of all reserve and as a result we all threw themselves into the vocal, physical and mental warm ups and the exercises that followed. These exercises all revolved around Hamlet, whether it be script, plot or theme focused. After warm up, the group worked to create several freeze frames reducing down the plot of Hamlet, from a happy family, to the death of a father and the subsequent twists of the tale. We utilized script from Hamlet’s opening monologue, memorizing lines and portraying our concept on the meaning behind them. After experimenting with text and language form, we had a chance to create and perform the argument between Hamlet and his mother, Gertrude. We played with the way we performed it, using different techniques to convey a variety if emotions, spinning the scene whichever way we were asked to, for instance having to perform an otherwise tense scene in an ecstatic manor or repeating key phrases from another character. All in all the group partaking in the mentally and physically energetic workshop thoroughly enjoyed it, as each of us took away something interesting that we had learnt from the experience. Two days later, with a further 20 students, we then went to see Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, which was by many accounts an incredible, memorable piece of theatre, that we would all highly recommend anyone to go and see.
Under the excellent guidance of Mrs Vanessa McCarty, students who took LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Drama Art) examinations at Tavistock College just before Christmas not only maintained the College’s 100% pass rate but exceeded it by every student gaining a Distinction! Mrs Pearson, Head of Creative Arts is delighted with the results; ‘These qualification results reflect hard work, rigorous rehearsal and a real depth of understanding in their area by the students – we are very proud of them Currently 35 students across years 7 through to 13 partake in LAMDA lessons with Mrs McCarty, stretching and challenging themselves in a range of areas from Public Speaking to Mime, Reading for Performance to Speaking of Verse and Prose. We are very pleased to be able to offer these opportunities to all students – not just those taking Drama as an option subject – as part of the wider curriculum at the college.’
Holly Kellock Year 13 House Captain for Bedford said, ‘I am very proud that I got a Distinction in Grade 8 mime; LAMDA has developed me as a person and performer and is a qualification highly respected by universities. I gained 30 UCAS points towards my application’
Tom Gourd, who achieved an impressive 98% in his exam said ‘I took LAMDA because it helps with confidence, it is great fun and it expands your communication and social skills as well as your drama skills. Lamda can open new opportunities to you not just taking exams and learning new drama skills but also being able to perform not just in shows but also in presentations and interviews, showing confidence to get involved in any situation’