Plymouth pupils swap their brand new plays at own Theatre Royal shows
Two groups of pupils from two different Plymouth schools and of different ages are busy preparing the first of three performances of a new theatre production that will feature two plays the pupils have written for each other.
The pupils, from respectively Eggbuckland Community College and Austin Farm Primary School, have been involved with every aspect of the production, right down to figuring out the ticket prices, designing and putting up posters and finding out who should be working the merchandise booth.
“At each school they have worked in three groups focussed on either performing, backstage work - which includes all the practical aspects of putting on a production - and playwriting. The students wrote a play each that will then be performed by pupils from the other school,” Education Producer at Theatre Royal, Fran King, said.
A total of around 80 students from Austin Farm Primary School took part. Two of them were Lee Rose, 11, and Tyann Adams, 10.
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“It has been really interesting. I have been working on stuff like figuring out the ticket prices. I like maths and It was really fun working on a problem that was connected to the real world and would mean something for the show,” Lee Rose Said.
Tyann Adams had run the Primary School’s blog about the projects.
“I went around to all the other groups and asked them about what they were doing. They were all really friendly. One of the best things about writing it was trying to figure out how to write to a certain group of people. I have never tried that before,” she said.
The new show is the third so-called School Ties production arranged by the Creative Learning team at Theatre Royal. The School Ties production, which has been sponsored by the Theatre Royal Applause Club, aims at combining a fun learning experience for the pupils with a practical project where their actions and decisions have a direct impact on the group’s shared goals and deadlines.
“We try to engage all the students and by having three different groups where they can take on various independent roles, while their teachers and Theatre Royal staff are there to help if need be, we give them a chance to make an entire theatre production from start to finish,” Fran King said.
“On the evening, the theatregoers might have come because they have seen some of the posters made by the pupils, they will buy tickets priced by them, the ushers showing them to their seats will be young people and the stage production and play will all be the work of the pupils.”
“We hope we might see one or two come back to work for us later, but I think they all come away with a unique experience.”
Some of the 20 Eggbuckland Community College pupils who have been part of the project are Taylor Roper, Emma Rabin and Helen Lawton, aged 17 and 18. They have been part of a group that started writing their manuscript back in April, 2012.
“Our play is about finding your own identity, which is a journey the students at Austin Farm are just starting out on. For us, it involves not being pushed around by the crowd and being yourself. We think that is the main theme and lesson of the play we have written. Part of the learning experience has been the fact that we were writing for a group that is not the same age as us. None of us had tried that before,” they said.
“After writing the script we went and read it aloud to the pupils at Austin Farm Primary and they liked it a lot. That was a good experience. It has been good fun to work together on a project like this.
The School Ties production consists of:
A Girl Called Eva
-written by Eggbuckland Community College, performed by Austin Farm Primary School.
Shy and feeling alone, Eva wants to fit in. She wants her voice to be heard. Will revealing her secret at the Summer Solstice party be the answer to everyone finally accepting her?
The Lemons' Labyrinth Lives
- written by Austin Farm Primary School, performed by Eggbuckland Community College.
Follow twins Drake and Emily Lemon as they are sent to a foster home. Mum is in custody and Dad left them years ago; they only have each other. Their bond is challenged when they adapt to their new life and they are no longer on their own.
School Ties is performed on January 30th, 31st and February 1st at 7pm.
Tickets for School Ties are not available online. Anyone interested in watching the show should contact the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01752 267222