CONGRATULATIONS to our Year 12 A Level Drama and Theatre students who performed their devised examination piece – ‘Lockdown Confessions’ – in the Black Box on the evening of June 21st.

The group performed in front of a masked, socially-distanced audience, which included Jonathan Smith, one of our Senior English Teachers.

Mr Smith said: “It was fabulous to be able to watch some live theatre on Monday night. I was privileged to be part of the small audience who watched ‘Lockdown Confessions’, a devised piece from the Year 12 Drama cohort – and part of their A Level coursework.

“Lockdown is a sensitive area and can be dominated by a kind of groupthink, so I was delighted by the sensitive, balanced approach the company took. In the hybrid, eclectic style of their chosen practitioner, ‘Paper Birds’, they dramatised the real words and stories of members of their communities.

“In addition to conventionally “acted” segments, the performers also slipped out of character to address the audience directly from time to time, a hallmark of ‘Paper Birds’. From the outset, this created a warm, collaborative feel which worked really well in creating a receptive audience for the challenging content.

“This was a brave piece, exploring the experiences of a wide variety of characters: from the bed-ridden patient, to the gaming teenager; from the front-line nurse, to the lockdown-sceptic. Its real strength was that it was structured and delivered in an entirely non-judgmental way, avoiding the very real trap for this type of show of being overly didactic or sentimental.

“At the same time, the company were able to produce real moments of insight and pathos. The audience’s extended applause showed how much they’d loved it and the post-show chatter outside confirmed that the piece had provided much food for thought. We all went away with our personal catharsis because the piece’s main message – for me anyway – is a simple and powerful one: have respect and compassion for each other’s individual experiences and approaches because, although we all suffer together, we all suffer differently.

“Congratulations to the entire cast and to the Director, Daisy Sutton.”

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