On Thursday 26 January a large group of over 50 Year 11 and 13 drama students went to watch Noughts & Crosses at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. Miss Lancaster writes about the trip and a follow-up workshop:
The production was part of a national tour by the Pilot Theatre company and the book uses a modernised Romeo and Juliet narrative to examine racial injustice. The play uses twelve actors to create a whole, stylised performance to tell the story. The set design was developed to create an anonymous location at an unspecified time, allowing the audience to focus on the issues raised and to establish where there are links to contemporary society.
Originally from a series of novels by Malorie Blackman, Noughts & Crosses was adapted for the stage in 2019 and more recently in a BBC series. The play is about forbidden love and is set in a world in which young people are full of dreams and potential but powerless to make change happen.
Heart of England were lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet Olly and Lizzie from the Pilot Theatre company to join us in school the following Tuesday to run a practical workshop for all our GCSE and A Level drama students. The students discussed the play, embedding their knowledge and understanding of the action and production design in preparation for their final exams. Students read extracts from the play and used characterisation rather than props and set to create the illusion of a scenario. Drama teacher Miss Lancaster said: “The students were very engaged and supportive of their own learning by asking insightful questions of Olly and Lizzie.”
Students are required to see a live performance as part of the GCSE and A Level courses and need to answer questions on the performance in their final exam. This is the first time in over five years that the drama department have been able to take the students to the theatre. “In more recent years we have either had companies come into school or watched online performances only, said head of drama, Mr Taylor. “It was nice to have our students experience the magic of live theatre and seeing their reactions to the play reminded us of why live theatre and the arts are so important.”
“Our students were impeccably behaved and showed excellent theatre etiquette. It was a pleasure to be able to give them this theatre experience,” said Miss Lancaster.