Social Distance Drama

9th November 2020

Socially distanced Drama? How does it work? The Braeburn Drama students have had limited access to practical work since March so I was keen to make sure they could do so safely on their return. But how can a subject so reliant on communication, physical collaboration and group dependent creativity continue in a Covid world? I had to think outside the box before asking students to step inside a box!

Drama at Braeburn now has strict Covid protocols in place. Student’s have a designated table for any theory work (1.5 metres apart) and the number of their desks corresponds directly with their own performance boxes for practical. They are the only one who touches their practical box and they wipe it down and hang it back up before they leave. They are not able to perform or interact outside of their own box and all scripts/resources are accessed through personal devices. All practical lessons are based in the open-air amphitheatre for added safety measures.  

In Drama, we are always experimenting with proxemics and how body language and eye contact can change meaning in performance. Now we have the added challenge of limiting ourselves to safe performance spaces whilst still conveying believable performances. Y12 and Y10 have already adapted to this new way of rehearsing and are starting to produce some thought-provoking pieces of coursework already. Y12 are devising their own piece of theatre that focuses on a couple living in a police state that enforces a ban on speech. Suddenly they are only able to speak 140 words a day. As time progresses this extends to physical contact and facial expressions. With extensive research, they are creating a piece of theatre that explores the evolution of communication in today’s world and what might happen in the future.

This creative approach incorporates the use of the socially distanced practical boxes, masks and no physical contact whilst challenging us to think about the psychological effects this has on relationships. The Arts may be suffering worldwide due to the pandemic, but creativity isn’t. Powerful performances will come out of this and they will be what we look back on long after this is over.

Ms Alice Coleman,

Head Of Drama