Perse Sixth Form actors become stars of screen
16 Apr 2021
Perse Sixth Form actors have been working hard performing a selection of Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales on camera.
Although the cast members were able to take to the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre stage, Covid-19 restrictions meant there could be no live audiences for this year’s Sixth Form Play.
However, their performances, which took place during the Michaelmas term, were recorded and have been edited into a film by the show’s director Andrew Pritchard, Perse Theatre Practitioner in Residence and are available to watch this weekend only.
Working in small, socially distant groups within their year group bubbles, the actors portrayed six of Pullman’s re-workings of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales, adapted for the stage by Philip Wilson.
These include a traditional rendition of Little Red Riding Hood and versions of Rapunzel and Thousandfurs against a 1930s/1940s backdrop, as well as a quirky take on The Frog King, a contemporary urban reading of Hansel and Gretel and a dreamlike performance of The Three Snake Leaves featuring shadow puppetry.
Mr Pritchard felt Grimm Tales lent itself to being produced effectively in difficult circumstances.
He said: “I wanted to do something with small groups, but also offer as many students as possible the opportunity to be involved. I was also looking for something with recognisable ideas which could be tackled from diverse perspectives.
“We only had six weeks to do it and the students could only rehearse at lunchtimes or after school, so it was very challenging. We had some taking part who were old hands at acting and some who had never performed at all, which was great.
“After such a disjointed year, it was an opportunity for students to get together and be creative and connect with other people, even in small groups. They really put their back into it, had fun and hopefully developed new skills as well.”
Among those skills were acting for screen with performances recorded from multiple camera angles, including the use of a GoPro attached to the actor for certain scenes, before being pulled together for the film.
Mr Pritchard added: “It was challenging, but it was also a very enjoyable and collaborative process where everyone was able to be creative. It was a wonderful experience.”
‘The Perse School amateur production of Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman is by arrangement with Nick Hern Books’.