Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Making + Sharing


HS and MS students collaborating on a devising project with Action Hero

Of course, Making is central to a Performance course. Long gone are the sterile times of Theatre Studies, where a script is poured over again and again by students, to divine some great meaning from it. Furthermore, I'm an advocate for the messy exploration and discovery of DevisingThe best drama classes bring Making to the fore-front, pushing ahead of the passive, reproductive presentation of ancient texts. Students are not practicing being actors (with a single mindset of one day going into the acting profession) but performance-makers and self-expressors, tasked with creating all aspects of the rehearsal/production process. 

In answer to the questions posed by Ashley Bayles and Ben Doxdator's post But is it making?, in my pedagogy I highly value lots of the elements of the chart, some on both sides. As Will Vreugdenhil pointed out in Making PE Better there are skills and techniques to be learnt from teacher-led instruction and student reproduction, the same is true for Performance class. 
Gemma Paintin from Action Hero devising with ISB students

It's hard to pick a single element out and raise it higher than the rest; so many are intertwined. However, if you were to hold a keyboard (or a gun) to my head, I'd be forced to pick 'Learning with head, heart & hands equally valued'. The head has to combine all the generated material that the heart has dreamed of then the body has created.This principle is core to Performance, and Art in general and encapsulates many of the key-skills that I think are improved by studying the subject.

Art involves the mind, the body and the soul, in both the creation and reception of it.

As we strive to move more towards the right side of this chart I look forward to the idea of Making bouncing around between more people's earsBut at the same time as we concentrate on Making, here at ISB and elsewhere, we are shifting much more into Making + Sharing. There will be times when our work remains personal and private, but increasingly we are asking our students to share their work online, to broadcast, perform and present in digital and physical spaces.

I am excited for Performance (performing in all it's forms including broadcasting and public speaking) to become even more embedded across all aspects of education, not just in the drama classroom. For us as teachers, its an opportunity to combine our understandings of Maker, Performer, Audience and Format as we blend disciplines and subjects together into a vision of education which more closely resembles real life. 

The beautiful chaos of making performance


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