The physical theatre skills of Lower School and GCSE Drama students were elevated this week when Year 9 and 10 embarked on learning about several key elements of this area of study and the work of Theatre Company, Frantic Assembly. Frantic Assembly create non-naturalistic pieces through the use of movement and music which is embedded in the plot.

Within their study of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’, Year 9 students have learnt the art of lifts, working collaboratively and persevering to ensure that they could carry out each lift safely and effectively. In groups, they practised their lifts, combining their movement with dialogue from the play. It was a fantastic way to highlight how physicality can bring more raw emotion and help the audience see the world from the main character’s perspective.

Our Year 10 GCSE students are just starting their devised examination preparation. Following on from their own introduction to Frantic Assembly in Year 9, our Year 10 students progressed their learning further by learning three more of the Company’s techniques. These exercises challenged their use of space, their relationship with fellow actors and understanding of movement. In the lesson, students steadily worked as an ensemble around the drama studio, using numbered commands to change direction, come together and utilise the space. As a result, students were able to grasp the complexity of proximity and its role within physical theatre and enhance their skills in recognising unspoken cues.

From this, students were then taught ’round, by, through’, ‘hymn hands’ and ‘chair duets’ where actors, in a group or pair, create movement together in short steps, gestures or turns. These techniques are paramount to understanding how movement can evoke various emotions and expression within scenes without dialogue.

Both classes had a great time studying various techniques within this exciting and varied subject with many taking an increased interest in how spatial awareness and expression can change the atmosphere of a scene. The resilience, perseverance and focus of all the students has been fantastic and led to some really effective performances.

Senior School | 08/03/2022