The teachers and pupils involved in the Building a City of Literature project began by exploring some of the resources which have been developed as part of CRACL’s long-standing research partnership with community arts company Excavate. These include the scripts of two community plays, written by local playwright Andy Barrett. You can find out more about these plays, and the work we have done in CRACL in the Our Research section of this site.
The creative writing that was produced by pupils who took part in the project can be seen in the Play Scripts section.
The teachers involved in the project share their own ideas about how you could use these community-based playscripts in your own classroom. These make great resources for teaching and learning in lots of different contexts. The scripts can be used to illustrate particular concepts related to drama and creative writing. They can be the focus for one-off lessons, for example, and are ideal for cover work.
Ideas For Writing
Ideas For Drama
Before each run through of a scene, ask students to answer one of the following questions:
Where has your character been directly before this scene?
Where is your character going directly after this scene?
What time of day is it?
Is there anyone else around who could see or hear this scene? What can you see around you?
What can you hear around you?
What can you smell around you?
When an answer to the question has been decided on, ask students to consider this in the way they play the scene. Build in as many answer as possible.
Take a brief exchange between two characters which might be pleasant on the surface – what are they saying underneath?
Create a back story for a character of your choice.
Create a Facebook profile for a character of your choice
What do other characters say about a character of your choice?
How might this help you play your character?
This exercise may help to establish power and status in a scene but can also help with ideas for blocking and movement.
1) Start with the students standing 2 to 3 paces apart.
2) With each line they say they must make a choice, to move towards their scene partner, away from their scene partner or to stay where they are. Students may only move on their line.
3) Students should reflect on their decisions at the end of the scene. Why did they choose to move in the way they did? Where did they end up in the room? (This will say a lot about the amount of power their character has in the scene).
1) Students should choose a line from the text and consider to whom this line is delivered.
2) First, ask the actors to repeat their line as if it’s being said to candle they are holding in their hands. Reflect on the change in voice in physicality that this causes.
3) Then ask the pupils to choose one other person in the room, and direct the line to them.
4) Next, ask them to deliver the line as if it is being said to every person in the room.
5) Lastly, ask them to imagine that they are delivering the line to the audience.
6) Reflect on the changes. Now that they have experimented, how do they feel this line should be said?
Once a scene has been rehearsed and actors are comfortable with their parts, place everyone’s name in a hat and re-cast for one run through only.After this run-through reflect on how the scene changed. Are there any developments or decisions other students made that could work for the final product?
1) Have each student choose one word to reflect an emotion their character feels during the scene. This may be anger, frustration, guilt, shock, boredom, jealousy etc.
2) Ask students to rehearse the scene playing their emotion ‘turned up to 11’ as extreme and exaggerated as possible. This will almost always result in an unrealistic or comic version of the script but students can use this as a reference point for experimenting with playing their emotion at other notches on the 1-11 scale and deciding to what extent this emotion should drive their performance in the scene.
Ideas For Speaking & Listening
Take ten lines from a scene and mix them. Students have to work in groups to put them into a ‘correct’ order using the internal logic of a text to help them justify their ideas.
Ten years pass from the end of the play and the characters meet up again. What do they have to say to each other and why.
Ideas For Other Subjects
Design the set for a scene– label it carefully and ensure that you are justifying your ideas.
Design the props that are used in the play– label carefully and ensure that you are justifying your ideas.
Design the make up for a character – label it carefully and ensure that you are justifying your ideas.
Design the costume for a character– label it carefully and ensure that you are justifying your ideas
Take a short extract from one of the scenes and storyboard it to allow the focus on particular camera angles.
Create a storyboard with the main six points of the scripts.
WikiHow have an excellent article covering how to create a storyboard.