Dear Parents and Students
When the restrictive events of this year began to unfold last March we didn’t think that anything could replace working in the space of The Little Duke Theatre. Nine months later we all have to agree that we’ve had some great sessions in drama, dance and singing online. The remarkable thing is that having to work in this way has created new and interesting learning outcomes for us all. This was so evident in all our end of term showcases. The audio plays and the filmed projects produced by our Stage 2s and Stages 3 & 4 Teenage students, as well as our wonderful Stage 1’s live performance online, were all excellent and showed clear development among our talented students in presentation skills and performance.
We were reminded by these projects of how useful it has been for students to work on the curriculum for Royal Irish Academy Speech and Drama exams over the years. The expressive and clearly articulated speech, the lovely quality of the voices, clearly indicated this. It was easy to see how the speech theory and every other facet of the coaching for exams, had been absorbed by our students and could be easily drawn on for the audio plays and the film work. In view of this we’ve decided, that come what may, we simply cannot miss a whole year of doing exams, therefore we plan to include this work in the coming term.
In these uncertain times it is hard to predict exactly how much time we will spend working online or working at The Little Duke. At the moment it’s safe to say that we will begin our term online when the school reopens on the 7th of January, and emails will be sent to you all with links and details.
We have devised a term plan which will facilitate working both ways - online or in live classes. We feel we can very successfully coach students of all ages in their exam material online, with occasional one-to-one sessions at The Little Duke. We can also say with certainty that the Academy will accommodate students doing exams live in the space, or in video form uploaded to their site, depending on the current situation. To save parents any extra pressure we will offer to film the student’s exams ourselves at The Little Duke, if this is how the exams will need to be done when we get to the end of March.
So in our drama classes this term, Orla and myself will work with the students in the sessions which will consist of playing fun theatre games and coaching students for RIAM speech and drama exams. The ability to work in Breakout Rooms during our Zoom sessions means that students who don’t wish to work on exam material can also enjoy great drama sessions.
Danielle and Kerry have made great discoveries in new and innovative ways of running their dance and singing classes online, and these will also continue at the usual times. The same can be said for JJ and Andrew in their film and acting to camera work and teenage students will have the opportunity again to develop their skills in this area.
We’re working on an idea at the moment which we’ll tell you more about in the New Year. It consists of bringing the school together in one big production of a popular musical at the beginning of September 2021. Work will begin on the show after Easter. This will be our way of celebrating the end of Covid-19 and the return to life as we all know and love it!
Best Wishes for a great New Year from all of us at The Little Duke Theatre.
All the best,