Beacon Arts summer 2020 drama project
Beacon Arts summer 2020 drama project went through many changes in the planning. Originally it was to be a four day workshop, creating a performance for Chagford show. Spring lockdown had us wondering if it could go ahead and Chagford show was cancelled. Social distancing meant planned games and activities had to be altered to work without close contact. July saw guidelines for out of school settings require us to move the project mostly outdoors and limit the numbers attending. A day after we started face coverings were required in community buildings, and halfway through the week, the ban on non-professional singing was lifted. Despite all of that going on in the background Beacon Arts and MED theatre pulled together to give 10 local children a fun week of drama club in August. Boosting the children's confidence in working in a group again after a long spell out of school.
We took as our starting point the local tales of "The White Bird of the Oxenhams" that omen of doom said to foretell a death in the family. And our principal characters were Margaret Oxenham and her fated lover Bertram, thought to have lived in South Tawton In the 1600s. The slightly gruesome story of a fall from a horse, amnesia, rage, window smashing and stabbing had lots of dramatic appeal to the children.
Drama club was a week of group games, storytelling, choral speaking techniques, actions and writing led by Helen Gilbert of MED theatre . With simple costumes and movements, we brought Margaret Oxenhams story to life in a socially distanced performance for parents at the end of the week. Med Theatre has a transcript of the play written by the kids available through their website
Beacon Arts volunteers provided organisation, costumes and stage management. South Zeal Scouts HQ was a brilliant venue and The Self Heal Association assisted with a grant towards costs.