In the beginning…
My year 10 class have studied Shakespeare’s The Tempest this term and, after reading the play, I began to introduce the work that we would do – a PBL unit in which they would create a multi touch study guide to be shared.
After I had explained the project one student piped up and said, “we should do a performance of the play!” I had just returned from a trip to Singapore and had a cold so was feeling quite groggy but said, “okay, lets do it! ” The class buzzed excitedly with plans about how we would pull it off, I felt quite stunned at the end of the lesson but very excited about doing it.
I created a Padlet board with notes containing different headings for the class to add to and it quickly filled up with ideas.
We then had a committee meeting about the first steps we needed to take and discussed the style of performance we would do. We decided on a modern interpretation with a rewritten and condensed script. We want the vibe to be dark but stylish. The costumes would mostly be dark colours and the lighting would be dramatic. The music would reflect this vibe also. The musicians in the class planned to have some live music and singing. The actors playing Ariel and Stephano both have good voices so can pull off the singing parts well.
I realised that in order to complete the perfomance and the study guide we would need extra time so I told the class that the study guide would be due next term.
Over the first weekend I had one student email me with a proposed rehearsal schedule and notes on the music that would be needed because she felt like doing it! It was so great to have this kind of enthusiasm.
The rehearsals began and progesssed well. I asked a colleague, Kayleigh Haworth, who is an actor and has appeared in TV programmes Go Girls and Agent Anna, to come and watch a rehearsal and give my kids some feedback. She offered some great advice which helped the actors to deliver their lines with more emotion and gave them an awareness of their audience.
I went over to the drama department one day to lock down the performance date and see if we could use the drama room for the last couple of rehearsals. A new teacher to school but an experienced drama teacher, Annie Millard, offered to help out with the rehearsals as she wanted something to get her teeth into. Fortuitously, Annie had non contact periods for most of the periods that I had the class so we were able to do nearly all rehearsals in class time. It was great having an expert to help with this as she got the best out of the kids.
Each period I sent a group of students to the drama room to rehearse their scenes. Other students practised and recorded music; one student designed the lighting and sound; 2 students, who would MC the play, wrote and practised jokes. There was a team for costume and make up and a team for set design.
One student used Pages to design the tickets and a programme to sell to parents and family for $2. We raised $103.00 and the proceeds will go to Amnesty International to help the fight against human trafficking. I had to print these and found that my print/photocopy card no longer worked because I hadn’t used it for over a year!
The Big Night
Finally, the night of the performance came. Annie and I were a little nervous about how it would go as the rehearsals were still a bit shaky in parts. It was a big ask from students who had only had a month to pull this off and many were also involved in other performances that were on. But as long as everyone had fun and the families enjoyed seeing their kids perform, all would be good.
The performance was awesome! The venue, although small, was packed and everything ran smoothly. There were no noticeable hickups and it was a polished and entertaining rendition. At the end of the evening our MCs presented Annie and I with flowers to say thank you which was an unexpected and lovely moment.
The kids were stoked and excited about what they had a achieved. I received the following email from one student:
This makes it all worthwhile.
The next day we celebrated with a class party and we watched a little presentation that I created in Photos on my Mac. A great way to end a long and busy term.