30 November 2020
St Helen’s students were delighted to discover the the Tune Up Tuesday platform, populated with a rich array of resources from arts professionals in all areas of the arts industry. Divided into ‘Upskill’ (five-minute activity videos), ‘Uplift’ (a range of performances for one day only), and ‘Upcoming’ (a library of careers resources), the free resources were rich in inspiring content which our students explored enthusiastically.
The Year 5s watched some clips on puppetry and circus make-up, and produced their own designs in their art lesson. Luella described the process: ‘We started off drawing an outline of a face. Then we did the eyes, nose and mouth. We followed the video step by step, adding detail, colour and patterns to the face. We also used rough paper for patterns and we encouraged to drop in as much colour as we liked.’
One of the Year 9 art classes looked at a Photography Scavenge video, which they used to give them ideas for a project on interiors, while the Lower Sixth art students watched a clip on ‘zines’ and had a go at making a book.
It was all about careers for the Music Department, with Year 9 students watching several of the ‘Upcoming’ videos and reflecting on their findings:
“I learned that music is a universal language”
“I learned that you have to take risks to progress”
“I never knew that music therapy existed”
“I learned that a music degree is very important when trying to branch out into different music careers”
“I learned you can travel the world with music”
In their drama lessons, Year 9 students watched an Upskill video by Richard Jones, a professional lighting designer, which introduced lighting angles using a torch and invited students to explore the use of lighting gels (different coloured filters) and angles, to create different effects. They applied these techniques to some devised dystopian pieces they have been working on, and discovered an exciting range of visual effects to enhance their acting!
Miss Jewitt and her Year 8 class discovered the world of improvisation and storytelling, creating their own improvised sketches after watching a video by LYNNEBEC, a multidisciplinary performance company.
The Sixth Form drama scholars also had the opportunity to explore the Tune Up platform:
‘As part of the Uplift section, I watched a short performance by the Young Vic called ‘Hear Us’. This was a beautiful digital production put together solely in lockdown. It had a great flow to it and it was just wonderful seeing how everyone was able to come together from their individual homes to create one running monologue. This idea of a digital piece which still flowed from line to line is definitely something I found inspiring and would like to consider adopting in future projects.
Another production I watched a snippet of was called ‘Finding Joy’, by Vamos Theatre. This piece was entirely inspired by masks and movement with no dialogue. I had never watched a performance in this style and I found it fascinating how emotions can be conveyed equally well through movement and one constant facial expression as they would be through dialogue. One of the aspects I loved about ‘Finding Joy’ being performed in this way was that it left the meaning of the story entirely open to audience interpretation meaning the performance would feel slightly different for every audience member. This sense of uniqueness and personalisation of each performance is a really special part of theatre in my opinion.’
Alice, Lower Sixth drama scholar
‘The Upcoming section really inspired me and allowed me to learn a lot about the realities of working in the arts. Many of the artists (especially the actors) were very open about how tough the business really is, which I thought was interesting.
The range of different jobs, from composers to producers to actors to musicians, further opened my eyes to the abundance of options available, with many saying that their job stemmed from doing drama at A-level. This showed me that being an actor isn’t the only route to take when doing drama academically.
I also found that it was incredibly important to be able to appreciate and emotionally engage with a script or piece of text and analyse it to be able to work out what you want to achieve with what you’re saying. This is a good way to keep every line fresh, exciting and dynamic even through an intense rehearsal process, after saying the line for the 400th time! I found that acting is all about letting go of any insecurities and having confidence when embodying a different person on stage and just going for it.’
Millie, Lower Sixth drama scholar