Experimentation: Blue Heart, by Caryl Churchill
The summer term of Year 10 can be a difficult time. The weather is warmer and the appeal of doing practical work in a classroom or a black drama studio is limited. Students often have one eye on the looming holidays and the other on anything except the lesson. Practically, it can be hard to know what to teach. Anything too active leads to complaints about being too hot or the dreaded ‘Can we do this outside?’ Anything too slow-paced results in students becoming distracted. It can be impossible. In our school we have experimented with a range of schemes to fill this problematic time.
We’ve tried doing research for future practical projects, evaluating their progress to date and even creating a nonassessed performance that enables students to remember why they enjoy doing drama when there isn’t the pressure of their acting being exam-focused. The most effective solution we have found actually takes elements from all of the above. It uses a text as a stimulus but the practical work is well structured, using teacher-led exercises in order to maintain focus.
The process is based on a specific text in order to give examples of how a playwright uses form and structure. The ideas naturally feed into students’ own work and help them to appreciate different elements of live performances that they see in Year 11.
Number of lessons: n/a