Young actress role plays the Good Witch

Role Playing The Good Witch

The benefits of role play are fundamental in helping a child to understand the world around them.  Here at Dramacube Productions we love nothing more than role play.  This week it was the 25th Anniversary of World Book Day so every child got to role play for the day.  Schools were suddenly buzzing with Matildas, Alices, Cats wearing hats and various characters from The Wizard of Oz.  Teachers were able to get creative with the curriculum- spend time reading much-loved books and discuss features of the characters within them.  Given the chance to add a little drama to the day, some schools set role play challenges for the pupils to complete and happy memories were created for years to come.

The Benefits of Role Play at Dramacube

At Dramacube Productions, all age groups, including our 4-6, 7-11 and 14-18 yr olds get a chance to role play on a weekly basis, whether it be in preparation to play a part on stage or as a group exercise.  Our youngest members particularly enjoy showing off these new skills to their adults, as they did recently with their presentation of A Christmas Carol at the end of 2021.  As well as developing courage and bravery, there are a whole host of other key benefits that role playing can offer.

Young actresses role playing

4-6yrs Being Brave & Confident

Communication Skills & Confidence

For very young children, role play is essential as it enables them to communicate and practise their language skills with others.  Confidence is gained as children are allowed to experiment with new situations, explore and investigate the world around them.

Social Skills & Empathy

Social skills develop as children collaborate with others in group role play so they become more aware of themselves and other individuals.  By playing a different character, pupils also learn to empathise more by seeing the world form a different perspective.

Expressing Emotions

Role Play can also help to develop children emotionally. Children can learn more about how to express their emotions and ideas during role play which can really help with speaking and listening expectations at school.

Young child Role Playing

Expressing Emotions through Role Play

Time to be Creative!

Most important of all, by becoming another character in another world or setting, children get thechance to be creative, use their imaginations and have fun- which is what childhood should be all about!  If you think that your child or teen would benefit by joining Dramacube, please click here.

Sarah Watson- Dramacube

I Am Legend

At this week’s film-making classes for kids, it was all hands on deck as the Dramacube Movie-makers got super busy!  So far, they have worked on scriptwriting, improvising and special effects make-up for their movie-making creations.  The plots have been well thought out and the blood, sweat and tears, fashioned out of plaster of Paris and stage make-up.  The excitement and babel has literally been enough to raise the dead! Yes, you guessed it, they’re filming Zombie movies!

Best Zombie Movie-makers

Film-making classes for kids

Getting their Zombie on!

Let’s help to inspire our marvellous Dramacube Movie-makers by taking a look at some of the best Zombie movies of all time.

I Am Legend (2007)

A post-apocalyptic action thriller, loosely based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson.  Zombies, known as Darkseekers and born from genetic engineering gone wrong, hunt humans by night.  It is up to US Urologist, Robert Neville, played by Will Smith, to save the day. Watching Smith go about his daily survival rituals in the derelict ruin of Manhattan is fascinating and proved a costly idea as- one scene filmed on Brooklyn Bridge cost $5 million to shoot!  Personally, I loved the exploration of his relationships with his beloved dog, Sam, and the inanimate objects littering the destroyed city but I have to say I was disappointed by the ending.

World War Z (2013)

Directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt in the lead role, the film grossed $540 million at the box office, making it the highest grossing Zombie movie of all time.  Despite several production challenges and criticism surrounding a rather disappointing ending, the film was obviously a great success.  Unflinching reality, special-effects and fast-paced action ramp up the terror and helped to bring the Zombie genre crashing into the 21st century!

Warm Bodies

How romantic!

Warm Bodies (2013)

Described as a paranormal, romantic, comedy zombie movie, this was always going to be unusual offering.  Based on Isaac Marion’s novel of the same name.  The film represents an almost complete yet refreshing departure from the Zombie genre, particularly because it is shot from the perspective of the Zombie, R, played by Nicholas Hoult.  R  falls in love with Julie, played by Teresa Palmer and the blossoming relationship starts bringing him back to life.  Some really funny moments and another endearing performance from Hoult makes this a watchable choice.

Film-making Classes for Kids

If your child would like to have a go at script-writing, acting for screen or taking part in a  Zombie apocalypse, please click here!

Sarah Watson-Dramacube

This month our 4-6yr olds have been exploring The Wind in the Willows through drama, music and movement.  The book was first published in 1908 and written by Kenneth Grahame. It has gone on to have great success throughout the century, with many stage and musical adaptations written by the likes of Walt Disney and A.A.Milne.

What makes it so popular with Drama Clubs?

Plot

The story follows the adventures of a group of anthropomorphised (act and behave like humans) animals in a particularly beautiful Edwardian countryside.  Long, endless summer days are juxtaposed with fast-paced action and danger.  Mole is our main protagonist and we follow him on his journey through the countryside as he meets Ratty by the river and Toad of Toad Hall in his stately mansion.  A delicious element of danger is welcomed when Mole endeavours to seek out the home of Mr Badger in the Wild Woods.

Characters

The beauty of these creations is that we all know people exactly like this in real life!

Children performing.

Children in the Willows

Mole

A sensible soul who is hard-working and loyal.  His slightly reclusive lifestyle has led to him being anxious in the unfamiliarity of the outside world and definitely gullible.

Ratty

Happy with his lot in life, Ratty serves as a sort of guardian to Mole.  He dabbles in poetry and likes to stick to his usual routines but he is reliable and charming towards his friends.

Mr Toad

The village Squire provides the comic thread of the book. Being jovial and kind-hearted makes this character particularly lovable but his conceited and boastful nature gets him and his friends into all sorts of trouble!  Mr Toad has a new obsession each day and fails to understand the word NO!

Mr Badger

Fearless, powerful and wise- Badger provides the strict parent figure in the play.  He struggles to immerse himself in society but is willing to do anything for his friends.

Settings

The Riverside

A lavish display of flourishing wildlife encourages us to fall in love with the slower pace of the riverside.

Toad Hall

Endless corridors, fountains and four-poster beds demonstrate the wealth and excess of Toad, whose inherited fortune may well be wasted on him.

The Wild Wood

Moving shadows and ever-present threats make the woods a mysterious and terrifying place.

If your child would like to explore this story through drama, movement and music, please click here.

Sarah Watson-Dramacube

Why don’t you and your little ones join Dramacube this Easter for our Dramacube Encanto Easter Workshops. Dramacube Productions is providing musical theatre workshops for 7–14-year-olds. Inspired by Disney’s Encanto, Dramacube Productions will be providing holiday workshops at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham. Additionally, we also offer Dramacube Movie-Maker Workshops during the Summer, Easter and October school holidays.

Dramacube Encanto Easter Workshops

Dramacube Encanto Easter Workshops

This Easter (2022), children can sign up to a fun-packed 3 days with Dramacube which involves drama, games, singing, dance and improvisation based around the inspirational box office Disney hit, Encanto. Taking part in a short performance, your children will show their work and be encouraged to join our Movie-Makers workshops

The Dramacube Encanto Easter Workshops provide opportunities for 2 age groups. The first is designed for 4–6-year-olds and will include 3 days of games, story-telling, singing and arts and crafts – all of which will be inspired by Disney’s Encanto. The costs are detailed below.

The second is aimed at 7–14-year-olds. Participating children will work with our experienced creative team to put together a performance for their family and friends to enjoy on the final afternoon. Singing, dance, improvisation and exciting games will be at the forefront of the Dramacube workshop, and we hope that those involved will want to return for our Movie-Makers workshops and Dramacube productions.

Dramacube Productions Workshops

Dramacube Productions is an award-winning Richmond borough based performing arts company that use performance as a platform to educate and inspire young people.

We now offer Drama Classes and Workshops for children aged 4-6 years. We focus on confidence building with drama, movement and music classes.

Our Movie-Making classes and workshops for children aged 7-14 years come with a team of experienced tutors and specialists in drama, film production and performing arts.

Classes take place at Stanley School in Teddington, and Millthorpe School in York every Thursday from 5pm to 7.15pm.

Join Dramacube this Easter and inspire your young ones with the Disney themed, Dramacube Encanto Easter Workshops.

Here are the details, and don’t forget to book early as places are limited:

BOOK NOW THE 3 DAY WORKSHOP FOR 4-6YR OLDS

Date: Monday 11th–Wednesday 13th April

Time: 9:30am-3:30pm

Location: St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Cost: £115 (Sibling discount of 10% on 2nd child)

BOOK NOW FOR THE 3 DAY WORKSHOP FOR 7-14YR OLDS

Date: Monday 11th–Wednesday 13th April

Time: 9:30-4.00pm

Location: St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Cost: £125 (Sibling discount of 10% on 2nd child)

Children looking confident on stage.

Building confidence as our children are preparing for assessments is essential.  Schools are busy practising exam techniques and filling heads with as much content as possible. As Parents/Guardians what can we do to support our children?

Educate Ourselves

Bluntly speaking, SATs really have no significance other than to the school itself as they are used to rank the school in the National League Tables.  Results may be used to set groups for the next academic year but these groups are temporary.  It is important to make anxious children aware of this as some schools put pressure on pupils and make up stories about what will happen if they get a low score.  As a Tutor I find that most anxious children are struggling to learn in Year 6 because they believe that they will be refused entry to secondary school if they do badly in their SATs!

Positive Aspects of Assessments

Animals Being Assessed Unfairly

Our Education System

Some pupils gain a real sense of achievement when they work hard at something and the outcome is positive.

As a teaching tool, SATs are really helpful as they inform teachers what their pupils know and what needs to be covered again.

Negative Aspects of Assessments

A major failing with the current system is that children are being treated like computers rather than human beings.  The latest introduction, of a Baseline Assessment, means that every child is assessed in Reception and Year 6 and that they should each be seen to have made the same level of progress during that time!

Children have good and bad days- teacher observations are therefore more realistic and reliable than a snapshot test.

The impact of these tests and the pressure they can create is having a catastrophic impact on education.  Many educators are being put off by the constant pressure and need to prove their own value.  As a Tutor I am astounded by the fact that these tests get harder every few years, without rhyme or reason.  The children are the same age and yet our expectations of them grow, tenfold!  This can make bright pupils feel inadequate, let alone children with learning difficulties.

Be Gentle with yourself. Your best is good enough.

Make A Poster!

Build Them Up

A good healthy diet and lots of fresh air and exercise helps to stimulate and support brain function.  Also, give your children the opportunity to talk about any concerns they are having.  If kids have worries and nobody to share them with, the worries will grow.  If they understand that their best is good enough, this will really help.  Some children need a little nudge but generally added pressure from adults will cause brain blocks and effect achievement negatively.

 

Non-academic clubs, particularly drama clubs, are excellent at building confidence in children. Singing, dancing and acting can provide a creative escape and give children courage.  Having a positive focus away from school will help to put any pressures into perspective and give them another chance to excel and achieve at a level they are comfortable with.

If your child is interested in dancing, acting, singing and musical theatre, please click here.

Sarah Watson, Dramacube

 

At Movie-Makers, we have been introducing a variety of film genres to the group. According to Wikipedia, a film genre is “a stylistic or thematic category for motion pictures based on similarities. These can either be in the narrative elements, aesthetic approach or the emotional response.”

Here is a rundown of some of the best examples:

Family Films

These films contain children within the context of the family or home. They often appeal to children and adults alike, and are often comical and highly entertaining with lots of action. Our Movie-Makers all enjoyed Peter Rabbit 2 – a popular sequel with our young Movie-Makers. It was even filmed locally in Richmond!

Animation

Wallace and Gromit

Stop Motion in Action

This genre covers several different styles. This includes 2D/3D, Stop Motion (as seen in Wallace and Gromit) and Motion Capture (used for Avatar).  Encanto was a firm favourite of 2021 and the large number of characters made this movie challenging. Authenticity was a top priority so Columbian dancers were used for choreography and local botanists consulted on plants, flowers and backdrops. We were so impressed that we have chosen Encanto as our Easter Holiday Workshop theme!

Adventure

Adventure films often centre around the main protagonist leaving their home. Is most circumstances,  they  go exploring, seeking treasure, on a rescue mission or on a quest of some kind.  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was popular with audiences and critics alike. This was due to great performances from Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black. Entertaining comedy was also provided by Kevin Hart on set, as he was literally terrified of anything that moved!

The Peanuts Movie

Giggles All Round!

Comedy

Comedy films rely heavily on exaggeration. Characters, situations, language and action will often be over the top. Main characters usually end up with a happy outcome. The Peanuts Movie was a delight from start to finish and seeing Snoopy “flying” so successfully in to the 21st century was a happy ending for us all.

Horror

Physical violence, terror, suspense and surprise are the main elements of this genre. The spectrum is large ranging from supernatural thrillers to blood-thirsty slasher movies and all sorts of terrors in between! Within this genre, Ghostbusters has cult status and this is because of the entertaining storyline, impressive special effects, as well as the star-studded cast. The Marshmallow Man is also very significant and terrifying!

If your child would enjoy film-making, acting for camera, scriptwriting and being creative why not Join Dramacube Movie-Makers? Click here for more information.

Sarah Watson- Dramacube

The 7th February 1812 was Charles Dickens’ birthday. Considered to be one of the best novelists of the Victorian era Charles Dickens was influential and transformative.  In order to mark this occasion, let’s take a look at one of the most colourful adaptations of his work.

Oliver! is a 1968 period drama, based on Lionel Bart’s 1960 stage musical. The film cast both unknown and established performers, including, Ron Moody, Mark Lester, Oliver Reed and Jack Wild.  A phenomenal success, it won 6 Academy Awards and 2 Golden Globes that year.  So, what made it such a hit?

Performances

Jack Wild (The Artful Dodger)

The Best of Friends!

Wild’s portrayal of a lovable rogue continues to impress audiences across the globe.  The maturity of his performance adds gravity to the idea of him being a street-worn orphan.   His award-winning acting is further complimented by his ability to deliver the somewhat challenging choreography!

Ron Moody (Fagin)

Ron Moody’s deliciously devious portrayal of Fagin makes him a firm favourite amongst movie critics. His superb characterisation of the wizened old crook, makes his song and dance routines utterly captivating.

Reviewing the Situation!

Oliver Reed (Bill Sykes)

Reed’s dark interpretation of the film’s main antagonist introduces a sinister edge to the plot.  The character of Sykes offering a more realistic snapshot of life in a Victorian slum and the fate that Oliver must therefore escape!

Shani Wallis (Nancy)

Wallis does an emotive job of playing the most complicated role in the film.  Despite being part of Fagin’s gang and emotionally involved with Bill Sykes, Nancy manages to maintain a degree of morality throughout.  Wallis’ ability to capture the complexity of this character on screen led to Nancy becoming the, somewhat unlikely, heroine of the film.

Setting

A Victorian Sunset

The backdrop of a smog-filled Victorian London is lovingly romanticised in this adaptation of the book.  However, varying hues of brown, capture the gloom of poverty in the underworld.  The damp decaying walls of Fagin’s Den are offset beautifully by St Paul’s Cathedral and portray a sharp contrast to the pristine brightness of Mr Brownlow’s world.

Songs and Music

The songs convey such an emotional journey, from the heartbreak of Where is Love? to the fun of You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two.  The musical brilliance of Boy for Sale and comedic value of Reviewing the Situation make Oliver, unique and unforgettable.

If your child would like MORE????!!!!! singing, dancing, acting and musical theatre in their life, then please click here.

Sarah Watson, Dramacube

The Psychology of Colour in Film

Filming Starts!

Filming started this week at Dramacube Movie-makers!  There was so much to bring together including; scriptwriting; camera work; acting for screen and costume.

Since the dawn of Technicolour in Hollywood, costume and more importantly, the colour of costume has been used to convey meaning in film.  Early films, such as The Wizard of Oz, can be seen as a celebration of colour- with its richness and variety.  The Horse of a Different Colour scene, was almost a celebration of what could finally be achieved.  Since that time, Costume Designers have used colour to convey layers of meaning in clever and subtle ways.

Red

Red has often been used to represent danger and violence in film.  Little girls in red duffle coats are often used as emblems of worry and terror.   Steven Spielberg’s use of red against the black and white backdrop of Schindler’s List, drew the audiences’ attention and encouraged an emotional response.  M. Night Shyamalan uses red to signify the presence of a ghost in The Sixth Sense.  The balloon, the tent, the cellar door knob that refuses to budge, the blanket and the top worn by Malcolm’s wife are all strategically placed to symbolise trouble.

Pink

Pink on the other hand represents innocence and femininity.  This has been used sincerely in films like Legally Blonde but clearly turned on its head for Mean Girls.

Yellow

Yellow carries an array of meaning depending on the tone.  The mellow yellow in The Shining is said to highlight madness but the richness of Alicia Silverstone’s school outfit displays energy and naivety.  The depth of the yellow dress in Elizabeth: The Golden Age could be historically accurate but also carries connotations of madness and illness.

Purple

Heath Ledger as The Joker

The colour purple is often worn in fantasy and adventure films.  Seen as a rather mysterious colour it can be used to dress both good and evil characters, as witnessed by the Joker’s purple suit, the stylish wig worn by Hit Girl and Hulk’s purple trousers.

If your child would enjoy screen-acting, scriptwriting, costume designing, filming and movie-making please click here

Sarah Watson- Dramacube

holiday workshops

The Importance of Performing Arts

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February 2022). The theme is Growing Together which encourages children and adults to think about how they have grown.  So, let’s have a think about how being part of Dramacube can help you to grow.

Focus & Thinking Skills

Participating in a performing arts club is really good for your brain.  For example, our youth theatre group have to focus really hard to remember stage directions or lines from their scripts.  During Drama, Movement and Music classes, our 4-6 year olds have to think on their feet when improvising and retelling stories.   When children are inspired and happy, their brains function at a higher rate.

Positive Growth

Social Skills

Children make lots of friends at Dramacube.  After a long time spent at home, being back amongst peers is really important for social development.   Varying ages also means that pupils can enjoy mixing with younger or older children in a safe, secure environment.  The sense of belonging is very important to all of us.  Spending time with like-minded individuals enables us to grow and flourish.

Commitment

Showing commitment to something is a life skill.  Signing up to participate in a musical theatre production demonstrates great commitment as you will devote time, energy and enthusiasm to the show.  Seeing it through from the early days of casting to the final curtain is a journey worth taking.

Speaking and listening

At Dramacube we reinforce basic manners.  Taking turns to speak and listening to others is fundamental to our group setting but also helps pupils to concentrate at school .  Processing instructions from the Director is a large part of performing on stage whilst having the courage to add your own ideas develops confidence.

Team Work

This is something that has recently been in short supply so it’s important for children to experience a team setting once again.  Working collaboratively towards a common goal demands compromise which is a great skill to conquer.  Team work also highlights the importance of  individual input- no matter how big or small- and teaches children trust and cooperation.

Developing Confidence

Confidence

Participating in a class or show really helps to develop confidence in a child.  The sense of belonging, of reaching individual and collective goals, of creating something positive, has a major impact on how a child feels about themselves and the world around them.  If you can perform in front of your peers and adults alike, what else could you possibly be scared of?

Performance Skills

Perhaps the most obvious- children are able to sing, dance, move and act at a level which suits them.  With encouragement and input from Performing Arts specialists, pupils will improve and develop these skills over time.

Sarah Watson- Dramacube

I’m sure you’ve seen a few lovely photos from the show on our social media platforms and I’m pleased to now share all the pictures which were taken by local photographer Bomi Cooper.

To view please copy and paste the following link into your browser.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/145964772@N02/albums

For anyone wishing to order digital copies please use the following process:

1) Send £4 per digital copy to account: Bomi Cooper / Sort 11-14-58 / ACC 10271268

2) Send an email to bomicooperphotography@yahoo.com stating your child’s name and the file number(s) you would like.

3) Bomi will send you an HR digital copy of the photo(s) you’ve requested. (Watermark free).

 

If you have any questions please contact Bomi directly.

Enjoy the photos!