The arts magazine for teachers

As we head into the festive period at the end of another turbulent year, try to take time to reconnect with traditional events and activities, such as a trip – family or school – to a local pantomime. Regional theatres especially rely heavily on bumper festive audiences to help fund their programmes for the coming year, so do try to take in at least one! Our Big Interview in this issue is with panto-stalwart Peter Duncan, now writing, performing and broadcasting his own home-based family panto – born out of the necessity to improvise during last year’s enforced lockdown.

Emerging from the pandemic, creatives, theatres and drama schools have all had to adapt and adopt new methods of practice. This has given many the opportunity to “reset” and re-evaluate how they operate. Drama schools have had to introduce online auditioning and many are adapting their training to cater for both industry requirements and the aspirations of their students. Although many are looking for a fast-track into television roles, the traditional transferable skills developed at drama school are invaluable and the ‘traditional’ methods should not be overlooked.

Alongside any evolving of the training, performing arts schools are also recognising the need to become more representative and diverse, which should open the doors to a wider cohort of aspiring performers. One such progressive school, Bird College, is the focus of our feature in this issue, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, having come a long way from its original role as a dance school.

Also in this issue we take a look at how Little Angel Theatre is embracing new digital technology, whilst remaining focussed on its core of creating theatre for children using puppetry. And on a puppet theme, check out our interview with Blackeyed Theatre and their use of a huge puppet as the Creature in their forthcoming revival of Frankenstein!

Until we meet again in the new year, stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas!

John

Manchester School of Theatre

Manchester School of Theatre  

In this month’s feature on drama schools, Susan Elkin takes a look at the opportunities available at the Manchester School of Theatre.

ROH Apprenticeships

ROH Apprenticeships  

Offering another route into the industry, apprenticeships are flourishing and Susan Elkin examined the opportunities offered by the Royal Opera House.

Fourth Monkey expands to Bristol

Fourth Monkey expands to Bristol  

Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company is offering a course in Bristol. Susan Elkin talked to founder and artistic director, Steve Green about this new development.

NDT Broadgate

NDT Broadgate  

So just how do you support an industry which is on its knees – economically, theatrically and emotionally – after a pandemic which has almost felled it? Step forward New Diorama Theatre, its artistic and executive director David Byrne, and – most importantly – British Land, a real estate investment company with British holdings worth £10.3 billion. Susan Elkin investigates.

EXHIBITION: Brutal Beauty

EXHIBITION: Brutal Beauty  

Making use of alternative mediums, Jean Dubuffet’s career spanned many genres and the latest retrospective at the Barbican caught Graham Hooper’s eye.

ENO Outreach

ENO Outreach  

Determined to reach out to a wider, younger audience, the ENO is actively engaging with schools and supporting those recovering from illness. Susan Elkin discovered more.

Teaching Shakespeare

Teaching Shakespeare  

Don’t ignore the bard, implores Susan Elkin.

Book Review: The Lamplighters

Book Review: The Lamplighters  

By Emma Stonex Published by Pan Macmillan In 1900 three lighthouse keepers disappeared from a lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides. And that mystery is the inspiration for Emma Stonex’s oddly compelling and highly original novel set in 1972 and later. Three men, Arthur Black, principal keeper, William “Bill” Walker, assistant keeper, and the much younger […]

THEATRE REVIEW: Animal Farm – National Youth Theatre Rep Company

THEATRE REVIEW: Animal Farm – National Youth Theatre Rep Company  

Very clearly reimagined as muscular, vibrant, ensemble-based physical theatre, supported by John Elliott‘s relentless, menacing soundtrack, this riveting take on Animal Farm opens with a mock Pathé News item. It’s immaculately voiced by Will Stewart, who also does a simpering, comfort-loving pragmatic Mollie, and introduces each character. Then we’re into the timeless story about the […]

Vivid Direction

Vivid Direction  

Matthew Parker is a theatre director. His recent Henry V in the Roman Amphitheatre for Maltings Theatre, St Albans wowed Susan Elkin, herself a Henry V veteran, so she met him to find out more. I fell in love with theatre when I was four years old – and it was for life”, Matthew tells me, […]