Our plans for the year in Drama
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Our plans for the year in Drama

Sometimes, when people picture a Drama lesson, they think of games and make-believe sketches. While we often do games to focus on building particular skills (group collaboration, focus, pace, timing, reaction etc.), we also do so much more when focusing on developing creative behaviour.

By Judith O’Brien, secondary Drama and English teacher

Here at ISUtrecht, we aim to engage students in an enriching drama curriculum, which is grounded on solid didactic and artistic foundations. This means that we feel that it is important that students have a strong knowledge and understanding of theatre arts through the ages, for example Russian realism (grade 8), Japanese Noh theatre (grade 9), Greek theatre (grade 10) and Commedia dell’Arte (grade 7).

Getting the drama studio ready for the new academic year

They also investigate the theatre teachings and acting methods of practitioners such as Brecht, Stanislavski and dive into the absurd world of writers like Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee. The students develop their communication skills through engaging with scripts and learning how to combine theatre elements; ranging from Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, to a range of more abstract contemporary theatre texts.

‘No man is an island’

There are currently two members of the Drama department, Erick Aufderheyde (affectionately known as Mr. E) and Judith O’Brien. We are a united team and we really enjoy collaborating with each other to make interesting drama units for our MYP students. We both believe that ‘no man is an island’ (John Donne) and that shared work is happy work! In the near future we will be teaming up with other drama teachers from Dutch international schools via the DISS.

The performing Arts productions have a fantastic track record at the school, including productions of a musical Midsummer Night’s Dream and a dramatic rewrite of the musical Hamilton. In the last academic year, the musical At the End of The Day, which was inspired by Les Misérables, was postponed to this coming November (you can see the students rehearsing in the picture at the top of this post). The students who have taken part in preparing for this are very dedicated to the show, and we are sure that the performances in November, will be one of the highlights of the school year.

Drama Troupe

In addition to these performances in November, Mr. E and I will be starting up a fourth version of the ISU Drama troupe for this current academic year with an introductory session on 16 September in the Drama studio and henceforth, we will be meeting there on Wednesday afternoons from 15.00-16.30 pm. All interested students are welcome, as a range of skills and experience are needed!

Musical theatre production

Also this year, we will work closely together with our new music teacher, Mr Paul Kemp, to make the ISU drama troupe complete with singers and musicians. The three of us are excited to start working together focusing to bring the third pilar in our school’s Mission Statement alive: creativity. After At the end of the day, we will combine last year’s Drama troupe with this new troupe, so that we can work on a new musical theatre production or theatrical music production. What will it be? Well, that is a hot topic, but this mystery will remain a mystery until the new troupe have settled in and then we will find the best possible option for the students that we have in the troupe.

At ISUtrecht, the performing arts productions are an ongoing, and very successful collaborative effort with the Music, Drama and Visual Arts (Yu can see the whole team in action in the pictures above) and this is so that we can have the best quality acting, music, costumes and scenery! In these times of uncertainty, we need the Arts more than ever and we need to be enriched, inspired and entertained. We really look forward to working together with our students to create another unique production for the whole community to enjoy. Watch this space…