The arts magazine for teachers

Welcome to the last issue of Ink Pellet for this academic year! As we hurtle towards the summer break, you’ll soon be saying farewell to another batch of lucky students who have had the privilege of your guidance… and perhaps a ‘good riddance’ to one or two! Before we all head off for a well-earned rest, there is still time to bring you a fab array of features, news and reviews; including our Big Interview with Neal Foster, as the Birmingham Stage Company he founded some 25 years ago, celebrates another successful year.

In this packed and varied issue, we also ponder the state of education in the UK today and how this is effected by arts subjects being squeezed from the timetable due to pressures from ‘above’. It will be interesting to see what measures and policies are introduced – or in the case of new grammar schools, shelved – by the new minority government over the coming months and how our exit from Europe will change the education system.

The NT Connections festival is celebrating its 21st anniversary, with performances by selected theatre groups and schools. See the full list of performances, along with details on how to enter the 2018 festival – but hurry, applications close July 10th!

Also in this issue, we visit the Rose Bruford College to delve into the courses they offer, examine gender inequality in theatre and review the Cornelia Parker exhibitions in London.

I am delighted that this issue’s Book Review pages include a selection submitted by students at The Malling School in Kent. We would love to receive reviews from your pupils – or you – for possible publication in future issues and if there is a production in a theatre near you, it is usually possible to arrange press tickets on your behalf, given sufficient warning! If this appeals, please contact me by email, john@inkpellet.co.uk, with an outline proposal.

Wishing you all a fabulous summer and hope you manage to see one of the touring open air performances on a balmy evening!

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF… Katy Lipson

 

Katy Lipson, 32, has produced over 50 shows, mostly musical theatre. Few school and college students really understand what producing is and what a crucial part of the theatre industry it is. They could learn a lot from the hardworking Katy, as Susan Elkin discovers.

Book Review: Great Shakespeare Actors

 

By Stanley Wells Published by Oxford University Press Subtitled “from Burbage to Branagh” this book – which manages to be both scholarly and entertaining – introduces us to the finest exponents of Shakespeare across four centuries. I agree with Roy Hattersley that the ever-prolific Stanley Wells is certainly “our greatest authority on Shakespeare’s life and [...]

THEATRE REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof – Chichester Festival Theatre

THEATRE REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof – Chichester Festival Theatre  

It’s a pity therefore that this production of a fine musical doesn’t always feel as sparky as it should. One senses that – the dancers in the wedding scene for instance – are still mentally reading their choreography notes. And far too many performers – Tracy-Ann Oberman as Golde for instance – have been cast [...]

Rules of engagement

Rules of engagement  

The Royal Exchange Theatre is an iconic landmark in the heart of Manchester with a strong pedigree of plays and a close link to its schools and communities. Mark Glover spoke to the organisation’s new Director of Learning and Engagement Inga Hirst about reaching out to those beyond the bright lights of the city.

EXHIBITION: Casting shadows

EXHIBITION: Casting shadows  

Graham Hooper looks at the work of award-winning sculptor Rachel Whiteread, whose work is on show at Tate Britain from 12 Sept – 21 Jan

Confidence-boosting Shakespeare for special children

Confidence-boosting Shakespeare for special children  

This term, 99 special schools will be taking part in the annual Shakespeare Schools Festival out of a total of just over 1000 schools of all types. Susan Elkin found out more.

Sunshine through the clouds

Sunshine  through the clouds  

How important is it to teach young people that life isn’t always perfect and what role can fiction play in gently conveying this message? Mark Glover spoke to author Matt Haig about how the bad times in his novels are just as important as the good ones.

Edu-lissimo!

Edu-lissimo!  

Opera companies are engaging with more young people and schools, utilising the varied learning opportunities offered. Susan Elkin extolls the benefits of opera in education.

On the job theatre training

On the job theatre training  

A new initiative offering on the job theatre training for aspiring young actors is starting in January. Susan Elkin found out more and advises you take a closer look.

All change please

All change please  

Karen Latto spent seven years teaching before becoming a subject specialist for OCR, overseeing the new GCSE syllabus for drama which came into classrooms last year. Mark Glover spoke to her about her career, the challenges of instigating a specification and how digital theatre allows more students across the UK to take GCSE drama.