Collaborative Creation with Students…Bret Jesse
Within a four-week timeline, students at Raymond Jr High School developed, built, rehearsed and performed an original haunted house project. They began by creating a storyline with a fully developed narrative to suit the performance space and actors. They followed that by creating lists of performance needs, assisting with character development, scripting, casting and finally rehearsing. Many rehearsals were student-led with a director as a guide who would establish expectations. Students would then split into groups and learn how to work with groups of students on a common goal. When the chance for performing came around, students built the haunted house in the hallways of the school and performed for small audiences at a time throughout the night. After the performance, students were given a chance to reflect on their project and its importance to the community.
The community has found a new love for drama. We had an unexpected turnout of over 200 people. The students got a great reaction from the crowd and began to find a love for the performance aspect of building a show. Parents were waiting for over an hour to get into the performance and I heard many times that the wait was worth it. Students were given time to prepare for different kinds of audience members and put that preparation to the test when they were asked to supervise their own sections of the haunted house. Students learned the high intensity of a live performance and are now prepared to take on bigger productions. The school itself was astounded by the level of performance that these students were able to achieve. Raymond Jr High is not known for its drama productions, but I think this made the community see that with the right drive behind the students, they can perform miraculous things. Students now have the capability, drive, and the knowledge to create dramatic pieces and have been encouraged to continue looking for ways to be artistic. I look forward to seeing what Raymond Jr. High has in store for the theatre community in coming years.
Bret recently graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a BFA/B.Ed, majoring in Drama with a minor in English. View his professional site at http://mrbretjesse.weebly.com.
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