Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Giving Students a Voice in the Theatre

Students add depth to their voice work with movement during a recent Grade 7/8 Drama
Major class in the theatre.

Our new performance theatre isn't just for large-scale productions - it provides an authentic environment for classes and workshops, too.


Down in Greenwood’s theatre, Grade 8 student Gabe has finished his performance and is ready for feedback.

“He’s crying,” says a woman’s voice offstage. “He’s just so panicked.”

Gabe takes this in and nods. “Okay,” he says. “So do I keep the old one as well?”

“If you want to layer [your performance], you can add it on top,” the voice responds.

The reply comes from Melissa Altro, an accomplished voice artist with over 20 years’ experience in TV and film. (You might know her as Muffy Crosswire from TV’s Arthur.) She knows a thing or two about using her voice to create character, and on April 12 she shared that expertise with our Grade 7 and 8 Drama Majors.

An Authentic Learning Experience


Experienced voice actor Melissa Altro's visit was part of the "Sound and Foley" unit
for Grade 7 and 8 Drama Major classes.

Melissa explained to students that one of the most important elements in voice work is putting your whole body into the character. It’s not enough to just read the lines; your facial expressions and actions are what add depth to the performance. To reinforce this message, it’s important that students work in an authentic environment - which is where the new theatre comes in. Students took advantage of the excellent acoustics as they worked with Melissa to create different voices, and the theatre’s state-of-the-art lighting added an extra level of professionalism.

Melissa’s visit was part of the “Sound and Foley” unit in both the Grade 7 and 8 Drama Major classes. For Grade 7 students, this experience came at the beginning of their unit and was used to introduce the different elements of voice, including pitch, articulation and tone. For Grade 8 students, their work with Melissa consolidated their understanding at the end of the unit. Both groups learned how to use their voices to bring a wide range of characters to life. This skill will support the completion of their culminating activities a little later in the year.

Melissa’s specific feedback - and the willingness of our students to take it on board - was a big part of what made her visit so impactful. Check out the video below to see how Gabe ultimately incorporated her feedback to add more depth to one of his characters.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

From Costumes to Haute Couture: Fabrication Room

The fabrication room gave our Junior Play crew the space they needed to create these
amazing costumes, sets and props.

Greenwood’s recent production of The Lion King Jr. was our most ambitious ever. Our new fabrication room played an important role in bringing the Serengeti to life.

Putting on a play like The Lion King takes lots of costumes, sets and props - and somewhere to create them. In the runup to opening night in December, the fabrication room provided plenty of space for students to work on everything from painting scenery to sewing a gown.

On show nights, the fabrication room also doubled as a dressing room.

Move-in day is challenging for any school production. The large scale of the sets for this year’s Junior Play made this task even more challenging. Having the fabrication room located within steps of our performance theatre, minimized the moving distance (and the risk of accidental damage to sets and props). Additionally, the doorway of the room is designed to accommodate an 8-foot scenery flat with ease.

During the performance, this area also doubled as a dressing room. Reconfiguring the furniture provided an ideal surface for applying makeup, styling hair and making last-minute costume adjustments before students took the stage.

Creating Catwalk-Worthy Looks


Amelia Ferguson ('17) models one of her fashion creations at our Winter Arts Showcase.
"It felt professional - like a real fashion studio," she says of the fabrication room.

The fabrication room isn’t just for plays; it also supports our senior fashion classes. Rather than being packed away after each use, sewing machines are ready to go throughout the semester, providing students more work time by reducing set up and clean up time. Recently installed shelving also allows students to safely store their work between classes.

Amelia Ferguson (‘17), a fashion student and Junior Play crew member, has really enjoyed her experience in the fabrication room so far this year.

“It felt professional - like a real fashion studio,” Amelia says. “There was so much usable space, and I loved having the sewing machines already out before every fashion class. For the play, it was amazing having everything stored in one area and being able to grab anything we needed quickly.”

Students have already produced amazing work in this space. We look forward to seeing what they create next!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

A Space for Artistic Endeavours to Flourish

Our student actors can now rehearse regularly in the space in which they will
eventually perform, which helps build skills and confidence.

When the cast, crew and musicians  take the stage for tonight’s opening of The Lion King, they’ll do it in our very own state-of-the-art theatre.

An ideal theatre is a blank slate - a space that students can use as a tool to express themselves. Greenwood’s theatre, designed in consultation with theatre experts Rick Schick and Philip Silver, encourages students to give their creativity free rein. Whether they’re performing in drama class, rehearsing for a school play or screening a film, our new theatre provides the perfect space for students to hone their skills.


The theatre's 144 seats can be retracted when not in use, giving students more room
for drama classes, rehearsals or grade-level activities.


How Does Our Theatre Make a Difference for Students?

Highlights of the theatre include:

  • Regular access: Our student actors can now rehearse regularly in the space in which they will eventually perform, which helps build skills and confidence. Having the theatre in the school helps build community, as student audiences can attend dress rehearsals.
  • Black walls: Students can use props and lighting to turn the theatre into anything they choose, from an office building to the African savannah.
  • Retractable seating: Our 144 seats can be retracted when not in use, giving students even more room for drama classes and rehearsals, or provide a large space to gather for grade-level activities.
  • The latest technology: Greenwood’s theatre is one of only three in Canada - and the only high school in the country - with full LED lighting. Coupled with a new sound system, our technical setup gives students early exposure to forward-thinking technology.
  • Accessibility: The theatre is fully wheelchair accessible and is enabled for Hearing Assist technology.

Our new theatre is one more example of giving students spaces to develop character. Through performance, students build confidence, learn how to work together and experience what it’s like to see the world from viewpoints other than their own.