Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

Acclaimed Director Visits Redland Green GCSE & A Level Drama Students

On Friday (16 October) we were delighted to welcome Tom Morris, Director of War Horse and current Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, who came to talk to our Year 10 and Year 11 GCSE drama students and Year 13 drama and theatre studies students.

Tom rode his bicycle to visit us here in Redland, and while en route to the school unfortunately his bike chain broke! Luckily he managed to still get here and Tom used this experience as an opportunity to introduce himself to our students and the process of imagination. He asked all our students to imagine the point at which his bicycle chain broke and then talked about how all of our imaginations would create a different image of that experience. The same with the creation of theatre, it all starts with an individual viewpoint.

Tom's visit was arranged through the Speakers for Schools Network. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students and they have been busy researching and preparing key questions for this inspirational theatre practitioner.

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Tom started off by talking to our students about the creation of War Horse; from the first inspiration, through to collaborating with Michael Morpurgo, to working with the Handspring Puppet Company. As one of the UK’s most acclaimed practitioners, Tom is in an excellent position to be able to provide them with detailed insight into the intricacies of direction, production and theatre creation, in preparation for their exams this coming summer.

Tom was very warm and engaging, with a clear passion for his work that shone through and resonated with our students. They were keen to ask him questions, which included: What has been your favourite play so far; Are you ever worried about other people’s opinions of your work; Did you ever have any doubts that War Horse could work; When you represent real people in a piece how truthful to their story do you have to be?

One Year 13 student, Riley Dolon, asked Tom, “We are devising a piece of theatre at the moment and we are a bit stuck at the moment. What advice would you give us?” Tom’s response was very encouraging. He advised Riley and her fellow peers to ‘play’, to try out lots of different ideas and do it with confidence. He also said don’t be afraid to make mistakes, do it with conviction and quoted the mantra, ‘strong but wrong’. How else can you learn if you don’t make mistakes, which is a very ‘growth mindset’ approach that we follow at RGS.

Well done to the following students who asked Tom questions:

Nina Townsend, Year 10

Sia Janjua, Year 10

Harry Jones, Year 10

Osama Ilyas, Year 11

Latia Holden Williams, Year 11

Lola Milsom, Year 10

Joe Penn, Year 10

Grace Rich, Year 10

Lily Chappell, Year 13

Georgia Harris, Year 13

Riley Dolon, Year 13

Celina Thomas, Dex Francolini, Darcy Tye, and Zac James Knights (Year 10) also asked Tom a question after the talk.

One of our Year 13 students, through asking Tom a question, was also offered the opportunity to collaborate with a current production at the Bristol Old Vic. What a wonderful opportunity!

Alison Clark, Joint Subject Leader of Drama, stated, “We were thrilled to be able to invite Tom as our speaker through the Speakers for Schools scheme.  All of our drama students have seen and studied War Horse as part of the drama curriculum and they have been busy researching and preparing key questions for Tom about his work and practice.  We had over 70 GCSE and A level students here today for this unique opportunity to hear from one of the most innovative and inspirational stage directors of our time and I know they have all found Tom’s visit incredibly valuable and enjoyable.”