Theatre company come calling

Year 11 boys gained fresh insights into J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls when a theatre company came into School.

Say Two Productions not only performed the classic drama to the whole of Year 11 with the participation of some of the pupils, but also conducted a ‘hot-seat’ question-and-answer session, with the professional actors answering the boys’ questions while still in character.

""English teacher Lucy Riseborough said: “This was a fun and engaging delivery, which refreshed Year 11s’ minds about the plot and the key issues of the play. It was also a good opportunity for some of the boys to immerse themselves in the play by participating in the action.”

Set in 1912, the play exposes a wealthy family’s guilty secrets following the death of a poor, young woman. Priestley, a socialist playwright, used the story to critique Edwardian English society and to suggest that people of all classes bear responsibility for each other.

""The play, which was first performed in 1945, is one of the texts that the boys have been studying for this summer’s English GCSE examinations; the theatre company’s visit thus served as a revision aid.

Towards the end of the session, one group of boys was invited to change into costume and recreate the opening scene of the play. They therefore had to consider how to go about staging a scene, looking, for example, at what can be communicated by where the actors are on stage.

""Say Two Productions design a bespoke experience based on the School’s requirements. “In this case they were asked to help students understand the context of the play and the characters’ thoughts and motivations. This was certainly brought out in the Q&A after the performance,” said Miss Riseborough.

The English department is now considering commissioning another visit from the company, possibly for a performance of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.