Drama students from GCSE and A Level classes have attended a performance and workshops of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus as part of their studies. Year 9 were also able to watch the play with the other students before returning to lessons.
The play was performed by theatre company Splendid Productions in the main hall using three actors and various props and costumes. After the play, the Years 10 to 13 students took part in creative workshops in the drama studio and drama space classrooms.
Adapted from the original text by director Kerry Frampton and with musical direction by Ben Hales (Splendid Productions), the production of Doctor Faustus was engaging and intense with a few moments of audience interaction which made the play vibrant and relevant to those studying the work.
“Splendid Productions always bring something different to the table in terms of their style, based on the methodology of practitioner Brecht and aim to create theatre to inspire young people. With minimal set and props, they multi-role as all of the characters, showing students that they too can create amazing theatre without a West End sized budget,” said Miss Owen, Head of drama.
Written by Christopher Marlowe c. 1590, the play tells the tale of scholar Doctor Faustus who wants to know more than logic, medicine and religion allows and who gives his soul to Lucifer in exchange for the knowledge of magic.
After the performance of the play the students were divided into two groups to participate in workshops led by the actors which took place in the drama department, with each workshop focussing on different content.
One workshop led by actor Grace was based on ‘the directors view’: what were the contributions of the director to the piece and how did they manifest themselves? The students in this group were chosen to strengthen their understanding around directorial ideas to help them with their course.
The other workshop was based on storytelling and acting. Led by theatre group members Tania and Nick, the session was noisy and vibrant; at one point there was an army of worms being chased and terrified by angry-looking birds!
In smaller groups the students worked on improvised pieces based on traditional fairy tales which had to be created and performed without words and included vocal sound effects and noises.
GCSE and A level students will be evaluating the Doctor Faustus performance as part of their written exams at the end of the course. Year 9 and 10 students will be inspired by their experience and may use this style in their own work later in their studies of Drama.
The Splendid Productions Company specialise in performing and exploring syllabus texts for GCSE and A Level students. The performance at Heart of England was number 98 of about 150 planned since September 2019 so they are pretty busy! The group perform six to eight shows a week and they estimate that around 15,000 students will witness their production of Doctor Faustus this year.
Thank you to our visitors who were inspiring and motivational and it looks like our students have had a day to remember and will find it useful for their studies.
Miss Owen said: “The work that the students created in the workshops was fantastic. They worked quickly and diligently and created some quality pieces inspired by the actors’ energy and vision. What better way to spend a Tuesday morning?”