It is the aim of two full time teachers to help students realise the meaning of Drama in the school environment. This subject allows them to make connections between assertiveness, creativity and the world of work. In his book; Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman highlights how the rules of work are changing:
‘We’re being judged by a new yardstick… focusing on personal qualities, such as initiative, empathy, adaptability and persuasiveness.’
Through the medium of Drama, we have a vehicle to explore these personal qualities in a safe and enjoyable environment as well as developing valuable ‘performance’ skills. All students have a timetabled Drama class at Key Stage 3. Whatever the ability of the student everyone can participate in an imaginative and creative manner. They will be encouraged to appreciate and treat with respect, the efforts and opinions of others as well as understanding the giving and receiving of constructive criticism. This will be the foundation from which students will progress if they choose to develop their knowledge and skills by studying this subject at GCSE and A-Level.
Over the past six years, particular emphasis has been placed on raising our profile with outside agencies. Working with the Old Museum Arts Centre (now MAC) we both opened and closed their Cultural Industries Programme and have been fortunate to perform in their ‘old’ theatre. This went even further than being an exciting and richly informative experience. It has enabled our Examination students to gain both insight to the working theatre and an awareness of performance and theatrical skills. This is reflected in the progress students have made and in the ever improving excellent examination grades. Indeed Lagan College Drama Department appreciated the honour of being the first school welcomed to the MAC to enjoy their wonderful new venue.
We have also liaised and worked with Tinderbox Theatre Company on their cutting edge Education Programme since its inception. This excellent project/performance package is a highlight in our Drama Calendar as is working with the highly talented Lisa May, Director of Bruiser Theatre Company.
Junior Theatre Club
On Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th October 2012, the Drama Department was proud to showcase our first ever Junior School Production, which was titled ‘A Grimm Night for Hans Christian Andersen.’ The audience joined Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm Brothers as they went head to head in a hilarious battle to win over their ‘captive audience’. Each storyteller introduced their fairy tales with the hope that they would be the victorious one at the end. Open to all students in the Junior School, from Year 8 to Year 10, it was evident to see how many of our aspiring young actors wanted the opportunity to be in the spotlight! The production was developed with the aim of unveiling the creativity, charisma and capabilities that exist distinctly within our younger students. Another unique feature of this production was that the majority of the show was managed by the very competent Lagan College students. This included the undertaking of such roles as:- Assistant Director, Stage Manager, Technical Director, Sound Technician as well as our entire Props, Costume and Makeup crew. We hope to see as much enthusiasm and as many students being involved in the musical next year!
Senior Theatre Club
The Senior Theatre Club has continued to enjoy the rich variety of theatre being offered in Belfast. Amongst the theatre performances being reviewed Lagan College’s affiliation with Prime Cut saw a warm invitation being extended to all our A-Level students to view, ‘I Am My Own Wife’. The students were wowed by the talent in this one man show and thoroughly enjoyed being involved in a follow up workshop that focused on specific techniques demonstrated in the performance. Additionally, all Senior Theatre Club members were delighted to be given an opportunity to see how a comedy of manners could be modernised by Bruiser’s innovative and physical style. Bruiser’s Artistic Director has once again been invited to Lagan to workshop this style. The Senior Theatre Club will continue to enjoy reviewing live theatre throughout this year. These opportunities, which extend beyond the classroom not only add to the quality of the students’ own performances but also encourages critical analysis, personal reflection and creativity. Such qualities are essential in all walks of life. As the famous Sean O’Casey quotes;
‘All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.’