A supportive and unforgettable experience

Learning Lines #23

A Year 10 Student from St Benedict's High School, Alcester, Warwickshire reflects on being part of the Playmaking Festival 2017.

Andrew Fox © RSC Browse and license our images

For our production at The Other Place as part of the RSC Playmaking Festival we performed The Tempest.

We had 12 people (including me) from St Benedict’s Catholic High School involved in the play, and we played both key and minor roles, alternating throughout and changing into different characters. 

Throughout the preparation of the play, as a group, we would devote both lessons and free time preparing for the performance. Before we began casting characters or beginning rehearsals, we spent two lessons understanding the play, such as reading scenes and adapting the play to make it our own.

Since we only have two lessons of drama a week, we would spend our lunch breaks collectively as a group improving our scenes. Sometimes, we would have to work on individual scenes at a time to make it effective to the audience and not become repetitive. We would also give up our free time and rehearse after school. We did this for two weeks to make sure there were no errors and to make any changes if needed.

Performing at The Other Place was a nerve-racking experience. Where the audience were positioned made them seem up close, as if they were in the play, allowing them to delve into the atmosphere and the characters’ emotions. The stage was smaller than I imagined due to the prop of the rib cage and individual tree stumps. The stage overall has a good atmosphere and because of the positioning of the audience tension can be clearly shown, grabbing the audience’s attention further into the play. A good example of this was the Caliban scene. The change of a pale white light into a heavy dark red, which focused on individual aspects of Caliban’s abuse towards Miranda, was engaging for the audience to watch as well as intense because lighting can ‘set the mood’.

What I will remember most about my experience was the support not only given by the RSC crew, but in particular Lucy, our assigned RSC Director Mentor, who would personally travel on numerous occasions from London to have a one-to-one experience with our group. She visited twice; both near the beginning and end of the play, to see our progression and give us tips and tricks on how to improve our performance.

When we arrived at The Other Place we had a pre-performance rehearsal which enabled us to practise on stage allowing us to become familiar with the layout. As a bonus to this, we had our own dressing rooms. 

Working at The Other Place was an unforgettable experience which I really enjoyed, and I hope to do again.