Graduate Production Ensemble – Lucy’s Blog

In January 2017 SDTN launched an exciting new Graduate Pathways initiative for students from our Network of Colleges and Higher Education Institutions across Scotland.

This initiative aims to provide an industry standard work experience for students who will be graduating in 2017, either from HND2 or degree programmes.

Over the next six months SDTN will create an Ensemble of performers, theatre technicians and designers to work with a professional director and produce a show at the Pleasance Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017.

This is the first of our blog posts about the project.

February 2017

Mark Thomson, award-winning former Artistic Director of the Lyceum Theatre agreed to direct the Ensemble’s first production and the project benefits enormously from his considerable talents and many years of industry experience.

This project has been designed to include as many students as possible in learning from and working with a professional director, and last month we began Phase 1 of the project with a series of workshops held in different locations across our Network.

It has been a huge undertaking to get this project off the ground, but now we have started it is clear that already students are getting so much out of the experience.

The development days were held in four different geographical locations across our Network of institutions: Queen Margaret University, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of the West of Scotland and North East Scotland College bringing students from across the Network to work together.

The students who took part were selected by their lecturers from a range of courses including: HND Acting & Performance, Musical Theatre, Physical Theatre, BA Hons Drama and Performance and Acting for Stage and Screen.

Mark started each workshop by asking students about the types of theatre they like to go and see and also about what was important to them in their lives.

During the workshops students participated in a series of improvisations, from a range of stimuli, including lines of text and music to inspire the creation of characters. Mark also spent time discussing ideas with the students and asking for their feedback and responses, before exploring some of these ideas through improvisation and further feedback.

Mark is now developing a script inspired by some of the ideas from the development process.

Here’s what some of the students involved had to say:

“Today Mark left me with lots of new ideas and methods of creating theatre and he opened my eyes.”
“It was interesting to see how a professional works – he was engaging and we never felt pressured.”
“Very open dialogue about the process, nice to see a director in action formulating a concept.”
“This was the first time I had worked with a professional director.”
“Mark makes you feel very safe and creative.”
“I thought it was going to be a lot less relaxed.”
“I hadn’t worked with a director without a script before.”


Technical Theatre and Production Design

Abby McMillan, who will be the Production Manager, and I have also held Information sessions for students from Production design, costume design and Technical Theatre courses to talk to them about the range of technical and design roles with the Ensemble.

Over the next three weeks, the second Phase of the Project will take place with auditions and creative team interviews and I will provide an update on this process in my next Blog.

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