The Summer School this year was held at The Roadmender, and consisted of sessions on voice, text, status and Elizabethan attitude, Tudor song and dance, and the performance of extracts from As You Like It. Twenty-five students aged 13 upwards took part, and worked with visiting tutors Rebecca Gould and Tom Wright (both Associate Directors of the RSC) as well as Kay Warcaba and myself. The week ended with a short performance for friends and family, and the presentation of course certificates.
I knew a couple of people that went to Masque Youth Theatre and I was eager to join in. One of my friends told me about the summer school and it sounded great. The night before I went, I was a tad scared of all the people there and how they might already have their own friends etc. But straight from the offset I, along with the other new people, was made to feel really welcome. Every task felt like a real team effort, and within the course of the first morning my fears were long gone.
All the tasks we did were really fun and all felt relevant and worthwhile. For example, during the first session we created tribes that moved, spoke and invented a national anthem to their own particular beat (Iambs, Trochees, Dactyls and Anapaests). This really helped me to grasp the concept of iambic pentameter, which came in very useful when we eventually read from the texts we were given. I had never really focused on the rhythm and poetry of text before, but this exercise put across the concept in a fun way.
I felt myself grow as an actor over the course of the week, with huge support from the visiting tutors who were really good and gave a real sense of the meaning and dynamic in As You Like It. When it came to our final performance, I felt really good about myself and felt solid in the character we had studied. The skills I learnt at summer school greatly improved my confidence for speaking on stage, a skill I look forward to developing throughout various productions at school and also in my drama GCSE work next year.
As well as thinking that our final presentation was a great all-round performance, I really feel that everyone there was really nice and welcoming. I can’t wait to join the group.By Benedict Churchus