Interview with Katie Barton
With our new class for children aged 4-6 just over a week away we caught up with class teacher Katie Barton to find out what she has planned for the Autumn Term.
Katie, a very warm welcome to Dramacube. We are delighted you are able to lead our new class but of course this isn’t the first time you’ve worked with us at Dramacube. Can you tell us about your first experience?
With pleasure! I had a wonderful time playing young Ellie in Dramacube’s production of Ellie and Starlight. The story is all about climate change and it is a complex issue, but the brilliantly creative people behind Ellie and Starlight managed to make it clear and hugely enjoyable for little children. It was quite something to see all the children singing and clapping along for the final number and pointing at our brilliant polar bear! I have fabulous memories of the show – and playing a girl of Ellie’s age certainly helped me to get fit quickly!
It was great seeing you in Ellie and Starlight and we hope to see you as Ellie again when the show returns next year. Can you tell us a little more about your other recent projects, particularly your new play?
Thank you so much – I’d love to do it all again. It’s true that I’ve had a few other projects on the go! I studied for a Masters at Cambridge and wrote a stage play during my final year. It’s based on a true story and is all about a mercurial woman called Dr Linda Hazzard and the disturbing events at her sanitarium. I was delighted when it was picked up by a production company and taken on tour to the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe and then to London in 2019! It’s been a rollercoaster but it taught me a great deal about the life of a writer. I’m now writing a new play for radio and will be working on another acting project shortly.
It is great to hear you are doing so well as a performer and writer. Can you tell us more about your experience as a teacher and the classes and workshops you’ve run?
Of course! After drama school I worked in theatre in education, touring many plays to primary schools and I spent a lot of time rapidly changing outfits and trying to remember if I was an Egyptian mummy or chimney sweep each morning! It was intense, but I loved using drama to introduce curriculum topics to young children. Later, I trained as a primary teacher and after working in a school in Hounslow, I spent several years as the English Lead and Early Years Coordinator at a school in Roehampton and supported a hospital school with one to one lessons in the community. I loved my teaching job but I longed to get more involved in creative projects. Luckily, I was able to run Shakespeare classes for little ones after school and that was great fun. I’ve always believed that classic stories should be introduced early to children – and Shakespeare is no different!
We are really excited about the new class but what have you got planned for the children?
I’m terribly excited too! We’re going to be telling a very dramatic and rather watery classic story over six weeks and the children will be using mime, games, singing, movement and improvisation to help bring the story to life. There will be a little sword fighting (don’t worry – it’s slow motion!) and I think it will be great fun. The aim is to leave the children wanting to know the next chapter each week and to have a really good idea about an important story by the end!
We love the idea of using story-telling. What sort of themes can we expect to see over the coming academic year?
Ah! Well, without giving the actual stories away, the children will be helping to tell stories by some very famous authors and playwrights and will be engaging in a range of ideas, such as friendship, secrets, power and magic. The sessions will also embrace plenty of elements that are important in theatre, including bringing a character to life, dramatic choices and (most importantly) teamwork!
Thank you for your time and we would like to wish you a very enjoyable Autumn term.