Picture the scene: thirty pupils working diligently in the Greek Theatre, studying their scripts as Mr Saunders and Mr Ashton give direction to bring Act 2 Scene 3 to life. The sun is beating down and birdsong can be heard from the canopy above. It’s not an unusual sight as rehearsals for the Summer production continue. But hang on, that didn’t happen.
However, with resilience and innovation as corner stones of the school’s Education for Life strategy, Bradfield’s pupils were unable to remain silent so – like everything else – Drama adapted and Greeker was replaced by the digital realm and pupils performed to an online audience.
Taking inspiration from the 2016 Shakespeare Solos series by The Guardian which featured a number of actors celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by performing some of his most famous speeches through a series of video performances, we decided to take the same path.
Through a combination of online resources and remote direction, three videos were produced in which pupils could share the outcome of their work, delivering their performance to camera. Thanks to Mr Pidgeon in the Film Studies Department, these individual recordings were then edited together to create a recording in which many voices breathed life into Shakespeare’s words.
The series featured ‘All The Worlds A Stage’ from As You Like It and ‘If We Shadows Have Offended’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, two speeches that are designed to remind the listener of the power of performance. The other speech was ‘The Storm Still’ from King Lear which was chosen not only for being a representative example of Shakespeare’s mastery of language, but also because it was written when he too was in lockdown hiding from the Great Plague.
Greeker may have sat quiet, but Bradfield voices still rung loud.