• Expressive Arts
  • Sixth Form

MSJ Year 12 drama pupils participated in a workshop run by the Frantic Assembly theatre company who thrive on their commitment to making ‘brave and bold theatre’, which can be ‘physically dynamic and brutal’ but also ‘proudly tender and fragile’.

Their style revolves around unique and empowering physical theatre, which carries emotional depth and enhances the text. As a school we constantly look for opportunities to connect with this company, whether through watching their productions, studying their work, or inviting them to lead workshops with our pupils. The workshop option isn’t always viable for a small school like ours. With a small A-level group we don’t meet their criteria for groups of between 15 and 25 pupils and at this time of year other year groups have their minds on their written papers rather than new physical challenges. Because of this, we decided to invite drama students from two local schools to join our girls in a workshop run by movement director Linzy Na Nakorn, one of Frantic’s practitioners.

Our large group of 18 drama pupils, consisting of both girls and boys, instantly recognised that joint purpose of learning about the work of this excellent theatre company.  They all threw themselves into the ferocious warm-up. Then they began to build the collaboration as they worked very much together at the ‘speed of the collective’, all moving as one unit at the same pace, changing the dynamics and the directions with a growing awareness of the ensemble as a whole. Splitting into pairs – with people they hadn’t known before this workshop – they learned how to circle their partner in a lift from the hips, using the physical theatre to ‘expand the world, without flourishing it’, trusting each other as they closed their eyes to do it. This small lift grew into 8 lifting one flyer, with surprise and slight shock as the ensemble realised they could have the same success with the most petite female and the most burley male, the weights being very different, the technique being the same.

The MSJ Year 12 Drama pupils have just embarked on directing the Year 10 Drama students in a play about the 2023 Women’s World Cup and that was an excellent opportunity to draw out ideas for the physical ‘expansion’ of this production. We watched with delight as ‘goalies’ flew through the air in slow motion to save the ball from the mouth of the goal, we watched the crowd jumping and cheering and being lifted by their fellow supporters and the emotions of the players emerge.

Overall, this was an outstanding experience for all those present, who will go away with vivid memories, extraordinary new skills, tired muscles, and some new friends!

Written by Mrs Julliet Fisher, Head of Expressive Arts