Workshop with the Royal Court Theatre

London A63

On Friday 28th April, two practitioners from the Royal Court Theatre came to work with the Year 12 and 13 Drama students. The workshop took place at the Drayton Arms Theatre and was an interactive session based on the set text Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker. Set in the late 18th Century and focusing on the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia, the play explores the themes of Crime and Punishment and the redemptive power of theatre. Written in the 1980s, it was a manifesto for the power of the arts and education, at a time when cuts to education and theatre budgets were commonplace. In their final written exam, students must write about their Directorial Concept for the play. This session helped them enormously to develop practical ideas and explore concepts in a creative way. 

Interestingly, the play was originally performed at the Royal Court and directed by the seminal director Max Stafford-Clarke. Romana Flello, Head of Education at the theatre, was able to contextualise the play for the students and the original conditions in which it was performed. She also used her extensive knowledge of Max Stafford-Clarke's unique rehearsal methods to explore sections of the play text. The students responded well and went away from the session with lots of sketches and imaginative ideas about how they would stage the play. This process of working with theatre professionals was an invaluable experience for MPW students and enabled them to explore a play text which is as relevant and vital today, as when it was written. 

Lucy Bellingham