Classes suspended during Corona outbreak… and plans to move online instead!

While schools are closed we are not able to run any face to face classes. We miss our students very much, and want to do whatever we can to keep them educated and entertained during this strange and difficult time.

We are planning some exciting online classes using ZOOM so please stay in touch with us to find out more about this…

We’ll be working in small groups and specific age ranges and adapting all our materials so that they work brilliantly when delivered through a screen straight into your own home!

Whether or not you can join us, I really hope you are all staying healthy, safe and as positive as possible, under the circumstances.

Wishing you well from the whole team,
The Playing Space

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Our Very Own Festival of Speech & Drama

Since setting up The Playing Space in 2008, we had always entered our students into the local Speech and Drama Festival, which most of them had really enjoyed. However, there were problems that I couldn’t fix, as festivals are run in a very particular way, and are not necessarily that great at changing.

I knew that I didn’t want to stop giving our students the opportunity to perform in a real theatre, with stage lights to add that bit of extra magic, and a large and enthusiastic audience. And so, four years ago, I decided to create a special Speech and Drama Festival, just for The Playing Space. That way, we could run things exactly the way we wanted, without having to fit into anyone else’s rules.

This year, I thought it would be interesting to look back at our decision, reflect on the changes made during that time and see how things are going four years on…

1) COMPETITION

I didn’t like the competitive nature of the regular Speech and Drama Festivals. I wanted everyone to come away from our festival feeling like winners. Everyone is on their own journey, and although some of our students can manage (and even enjoy) the competitive nature of festivals, for others it really detracted from the experience and actually knocked their confidence – the opposite of what we are trying to achieve!

So… our festival was to be non-competitive, but with an invited special guest from outside The Playing Space to act as the Adjudicator, giving valuable feedback and awarding prizes to EVERYONE!

However, some of our teachers and students really missed the competitive element, so last year I relented and said that our Adjudicator could choose three scenes, three performers and one compere who had really stood out for them over the course of the weekend and who would be awarded a special prize. This wouldn’t be a big issue during the weekend itself, and so wouldn’t cloud over the experience… but for our groups who enjoy a bit of healthy competition, they knew that there was something to fight for! This new system seems to satisfy everyone and we’ll be continuing with this policy this year.

2) REHEARSAL TIME

At Speech and Drama Festivals, students are not given the opportunity to rehearse their scene in the performance space, and it was very difficult for our students (particularly the younger ones) to make the transition from a small rehearsal room to a big theatre. We wanted them to have a chance to run through their scenes before the performance, so we introduced rehearsal time! On the big day, performers get dropped off at the theatre 2 hours before the show, so that every group has the opportunity to run through their scene onstage, and get used to any entrances and exits.

There is a brilliant side effect of this, which I hadn’t anticipated; all of our groups can watch each other rehearsing; and they really enjoy seeing the other scenes that are part of the festival performance. They also have a great time socialising backstage during the performances, and are well supervised by our chaperones.

3) RANGE

At The Playing Space, we run classes for a wide range of ages, from 4 – 18 year olds, and a wide range of performance areas: acting, devising, verse-speaking, public speaking, musical theatre and more! At the old festival, parents would only be able to watch one age group and one performance style (depending on which class their own child had entered)… and I thought it would be nice for our audience to see a range of ages and genres. We therefore made the decision to change the format to accommodate this; each hour-long performance at our own Festival has a nice mixture of ages and styles so you can see the big picture of the work we do at The Playing Space. And it’s so nice for our youngest students to see the work of our advanced students – and also lovely for our older students to take a trip down memory lane, remember what they were doing when they were little, and reflect on how far they’ve come.

4) COMPERES

The other thing I really like about our festival, is that the students run the show themselves; we select a group of advanced students at each performance to act as Comperes, and they introduce and reflect on each scene, showing how it fits in with the overall theme. They also perform themselves and introduce the Adjudicator. The less time spent on stage by the teachers, the better! It gives our students a sense of ownership, and builds valuable life skills.

NEXT STEPS

All in all, I’m really happy that we made the change – and we will continue to make changes based on feedback from parents, students and teachers. Do let us know about your experience of the festival this year – we love knowing what we’re doing well, but are also really grateful for constructive criticism if we can improve!

(And, by the way, we do still enter some students for the North London Festival of Speech and Drama – it’s a high pressure environment and not suitable for everyone. But if this is something you’re interested in for your child, then do let us know.)

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The Playing Space has fun at the North London Festival of Speech and Drama!

We are super proud of all our students who took part in the North London Festival this weekend. The standard at the festival is so high, and it can be really daunting to get on stage and show everyone the results of all their efforts! Our students gave an excellent account of themselves, and if they were nervous it didn’t show. We don’t worry too much about getting placed at the festival – as always it’s the taking part that counts – and we are equally proud of all our students! But we would like to give a special mention to these students who won prizes:

COMMUNICATION CLASSES
Verse-speaking 7-8 yrs: Mia Constantinou 1st; Yashika Krishna Rao 3rd
Verse-speaking 9-10yrs: Shasmeen Ahmed 1st
Public Speaking 11-12 yrs: Jasraj Karthi 2nd
Public speaking 13-14 yrs: Aadi Goel 2nd
Sight-Reading 9-10 yrs: Shasmeen Ahmed 1st

PERFORMANCE CLASSES
Solo Modern Acting 7-8 yrs: Olivia Anastasiades 1st; Eliz Ozer 2nd; Leisha Karthi 3rd
Solo Modern Acting 9-10 yrs: Hannah Kamel 3rd
Solo Modern Acting 13-14 yrs: Ruby Currie 3rd
Solo Modern Acting 15-17 yrs: Shayaan Ahmed 2nd; Oscar Maddocks 3rd
Acted Scene 13-17 yrs: Rosie Telling and Yalie Hill 2nd
Group Acting 10-12 yrs: TPS intermediate actors (Wizard of Wobbling Rock) 1st
Group Acting 13+ yrs: TPS advaced actors (Step by Step) 1st – WINNERS OF THE STARLIGHT SHIELD!

If you want to find out more about the festival then have a look at their website here.

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The Playing Space students gain places at The BRIT School!

At The Playing Space, we pride ourselves on creating a fun and welcoming environment for our students. Our classes provide a unique opportunity to build performance skills and confidence whilst making new friends.

Sometimes we are also asked to help students prepare for their upcoming drama school auditions. This is something we really enjoy being a part of. This term alone, we have helped three of our students prepare monologues for their auditions for The BRIT School… and we are thrilled to announce that all three students have successfully gained places! We wish them the very best of luck as they embark on this important step towards their future careers.

If your child is keen to gain extra help in applying to drama school or a summer drama course, then please get in touch with us. We would love to help!

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Zoe – 10 years at The Playing Space!

This week we have had one of the longest-serving Playing Space students working with us in our office! Zoe, 14, began classes at our after school drama club at Campsbourne Primary School (which we still run!) and then joined our drama classes at our studio in Southgate the following year. Each year she has been an active and enthusiastic member of the group, and we are thrilled to have her joining us in The Playing Space office this week. Thanks Zoe!

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The Playing Space Festival at The Bull Theatre – tickets on sale!

The annual Playing Space Festival at The Bull Theatre in Barnet is coming up soon – and tickets are now on sale! The festival is the culmination of a term’s worth of work from the students. They have been working on either scripted scenes, devised pieces or on public speaking presentations, to bring you a show created all on the theme of ‘Journeys’. Book your tickets now.

Please note – parents with children participating in the festival have been sent the performance times of their children by email – please make sure you book for the correct show. We look forward to seeing you all there to see the brilliant work your children have been doing!

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Easter Holiday workshops now open for bookings!

Our Easter Holiday workshops are now open for booking! We have two weeks of fun activities and drama for different age groups. They are:

The Sheep Pig
Monday 8–Thursday 11 April 2019, 9.30am–3.30pm
Introductory (Ages 4–8)

Adventures in Hogwarts
Monday 15–Thursday 18 April 2019, 9.30am–3.30pm

Junior (Ages 6–10)

Take a look at our school holidays page for more info and to book a place.

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LAMDA exams at The Playing Space

That’s another year of LAMDA exams done for The Playing Space and its students! This year 350 students took their exams at our private centre in Southgate across December and February. Well done to all for their hard work!

Keen for your child to take LAMDA exams?

If you would like your child to take LAMDA exams at The Playing Space, we work throughout the Autumn term on these, so please get in touch this summer to enrol them in one of our classes.

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A Lovely Thank You Note

We were so delighted to find this anonymous ‘thank you’ note in the Studio lobby last week!

We don’t know who wrote the note but it’s so lovely to feel appreciated!

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Christmas Holiday 2016

With only twelve places available, our next holiday drama workshop will fill up fast, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Details of the workshop are on our school holidays page, and you can now reserve your place or places in a few clicks by using our online booking form.

Christmas Holiday 2016 Holiday Workshop

Frosty the Snowman
Introductory (Reception–Year 3) maximum 12 in a group
Thursday 22 and Friday 23 December 2016, 9.30am–3.30pm
Children will have lots of fun creating their own characters, writing poetry, drawing pictures and constructing Christmassy crafts as well as rehearsing their own mini-show for parents to come and watch on the second day. Perfect for building excitement in the run up to Christmas Day!
Price: £77 for the two days.
Discounted sibling price: £69.
Early drop-off and late pick-up available.

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