The String of Pearls
by Matthew Harper
GADS are pleased to acknowledge a
grant to support this workshop from
The Hadfield Trust.
8 to 13 August 2016
Gosforth Public Hall
The workshop began on Monday 8th August and was open to anyone aged 8 years or older at the start of the week. There was a performance at the end of the week on Sat 13 August, which was open to the general public.
Day 1 -
This year, "The String of Pearls" is written by our very own Matthew Harper and is based on the story is the infamous Sweeney Todd, "the Demon Barber of Fleet Street".
Day 1 was busy as usual. We introduced ourselves and played games then we read through the entire script.
There was toast (of course) and the parts were allocated by lunchtime.
In the afternoon we tried on lots of costumes and started singing the songs.
As well as that, the stage got cleared and we started putting up the scenery for the Barber's Shop. It will all have to be designed and painted before the end of the week, so tomorrow will be busy too.
And Wednesday ...........
Day 2 -
In the morning, Tom from the Youth Theatre Group helped us to develop a scene to show the streets of London and the suspicions of all the characters, using just our voices and motion to draw the audience to certain characters. The cast created a section of the production, completely devised by themselves, to open the second act.
Meanwhile, the main part of the set got a first coat of paint to cover up the old scenery so that we could start rehearsing and blocking on stage in the afternoon. We also found some furniture and props to use on stage for the many scenes.
Scripts are still in use but several of the characters know their lines already. Amazing for day 2.
Day 3 -
Today we began painting the set. It's not finished but we made a good start with so many painting at once.
Some of us painted our tongues -
Then we ran through the whole play, with some of the props. Sweeney Todd's cut-
And did we mention toast? there is always toast.
Day 4 -
Yet another busy day. More set painting and decoration -
Day 5 -
How can it be day 5 already? This week has truly flown by. We had a run through in the morning then a break for lunch. In the afternoon we got into full costume and make-
We even had time to pose for photographs to go with our article in the forthcoming Egremont2Day. After all that, we got changed, cleared the hall, swept the floor and set out all the chairs for the performance tomorrow. Nothing to it.
We are all looking forward to the show tomorrow which will start at 7pm. After that we are going to unwind with a little party -
Feedback from some of the parents and participants
I'd like to thank everyone for all their input in this year's summer drama workshop. Our son has really enjoyed it again this year. It has become a welcome, and hopefully permanent, fixture of the holidays, and really, really good, family entertainment.
I think it is a brilliant opportunity for young children in our small local rural community to have a go at experiencing live theatre and all that involves. I feel my children are safe and secure and treated as mini adults. They thrive on being given responsibilities and job roles within the production. The children come away with such fond memories and a new sense of self belief and a can do attitude.
"I have enjoyed learning drama skills, playing fun games and mixing with new people". We enjoyed the show, it's amazing what is achieved in a week.
"I think it’s really good to help teach children dramatic theatre. I’ve had loads of fun." As a parent I thought the workshop was brilliant and the final production was really good given the age of the actors and the short time available to get it all ready.
It was superb to see the confidence with which the children spoke and sang in the performance. It was clear to see how much that confidence had grown during the week. It was also great to see such a wide age range of children working together and supporting each other. The children have been truly enriched by your generosity.
It was obvious that the participants had enjoyed the enterprise and took a pride in the performance. It was particularly inspiring that the (very good) play had been written by a young GADS member.