Getting creative in half term

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Katrina Houghton dropped in on our Creative Careers Week…

I‘m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about meeting a group of young enthusiastic teens.  It’s not been that long since I was one (actually longer than I thought) but nevertheless up arose the dusty memories of my younger self, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, eager to see what the world has to offer but anxious to step outside. I guess not that much has changed, with that I figured we would have a lot in common and up I went to the Annexe.

The group where just coming together after a break from the morning session, swiftly I made my move to see if they could all fill me in on what they had been up to. The past few days had been spent in filmmaking workshops learning about the different roles in film production, trying their hand with professional equipment and editing software. We agreed upon Final Cut Pro being a bit of a challenge but also a great skill to take away with them. Most had come on the course because of their love of film and theatre and were interested to see what it takes for it all to come together in a production. I chatted to a couple of people before the session started up again…

Chris Honer, Artistic Director at Library Theatre Company led the directing theatre workshop for the afternoon. One of the first lessons of the day was that as a director, producer, actor or theatre company you must have trust. Trust enough to feel comfortable to be able to make a fool of yourself amongst the people around you. It’s only then that creative freedom can begin.

The afternoon focused on two main sides of theatre direction. On the one hand having an understanding of stage presence – what does your character want and is it credible? On the other hand being aware of your audience – is everyone on stage visible and does the actor’s body language narrate the story of the scene?

The group began with a few spatial awareness exercises moving around the room at different paces, ensuring they filled each corner of the space. They then split to face each other across the room and were asked to imagine different scenarios and obstacles they must overcome to get to the other side. This ranged from crossing a busy road, to plodding through a muddy field and walking on ice.

As a director you must be able to direct body language and in order to do so you must understand your own. Chris encouraged the group to critique and give direction as they took it in turn to perform different role-plays in groups and as individuals. This allowed everyone in the group to actively participate in their own mini productions, creating their own stories, casting and directing each other.

Opportunities like this are greatly inspiring for young people, offering the chance of hands on experience and a taste of the creative careers that are out there. Watching the group interact took me back to my own youth spent doing similar workshops at my local theatre. The experience had a great influence on my life, pushing me to believe in and pursue a creative career even when it seems the odds are stacked against you. It’s the opportunity to connect with like-minded creative people that gives you the confidence to believe in yourself and that experience can’t come soon enough in a young persons life.