12 December 2023
Heads of Drama from five schools and five playwrights came together for a series of bespoke workshops and Q&A sessions to set out how the ground-breaking process can benefit schools. With the help of Drama students from both LEH School and St Albans High School, a fantastic sense of energy and enthusiasm was generated as they discussed ideas and worked on bringing the playwright’s proposals and short scripts to life with voice and movement.
In a speed dating style session, the Drama teachers and students rotated to work with a new playwright every 40 minutes, allowing them a chance to workshop original new drama that puts women’s stories front and centre. Seeing the passion shared for this initiative on the day gives us the belief that this will lead to new collaborations in the future.
Director of Drama at LEH, Sophie Torrent, who has been a driving force behind this initiative, said: “It was such a pleasure to host the next WTG event. To have a room full of Drama departments and playwrights was so exciting! To share and inspire one another with new writing to challenge what is already out there for our students to perform. Each bespoke workshop showcased a vast amount of theatrical genre and style. I’m looking forward to continuing this dialogue into the new year!”
“It was such a thought-provoking event” said Claire Brown, Head of Drama at St Augustine’s Priory, London whilst Helen Arney, a comedian and playwright found it to be an inspiring day. “I loved the moments I had of students putting movement to the Fire song”.
The LEH Drama department were also thrilled that a number of the schools and playwrights were able to join us for the final night of our latest Write the Girl production, Team by Beattie Green, in the evening, giving them the opportunity to see the realisation of commissioning a play through the initiative.
Beattie Green is a young playwright whose work has been performed at the National Theatre (after winning the New Views competition at age 17) and the Corpus Playroom in Cambridge, as well as read at the Royal Court Upstairs, Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Hope Theatre. Interested in miscommunication and how language both makes and destroys us, Beattie’s work focuses especially on telling stories about women and queer people without tokenism.
Bettie describes ‘Team’ “as a play about women’s football away from the zoo: no lionesses, no caged animals, no hungry punters. This is the wild grassroots, all played out in a muddy field somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Without flashing lights, without stadiums, without online forums dissecting the relative weaknesses of “the women’s game”, as if it were a different game, a different ballpark.”
Team was performed by a cast of students from both LEH School and our local partner, Hampton High, a maintained school. Having attended the Write the Girl event during the day and watched the final night’s performance also, Beattie exclaimed: “What excellent young actors! They brought such life and colour to the characters which was more than I ever could have hoped for. Thank you for doing such a great job of directing and bringing the play to life so sensitively and ambitiously.”