Last week 13 lucky Lower Sixth Drama pupils took part in a virtual workshop from actor Peter Polycarpou. Peter is a critically acclaimed actor with an impressive career spanning film, television and theatre. He starred as Beadle Bamford in the successful 2013 revival of Sweeney Todd alongside Michael Ball as Sweeney.
We spent three hours with him delving into the text of Sweeney Todd and developing pupils creative vision for performance. Highlights included putting the key themes of the play on trial to try and determine the strengths and weaknesses of them all and an in depth analysis of the contribution of Music (particularly in underscoring the action).
In the final hour of the workshop pupils had the opportunity to break the play down to character level and consider in detail how an actor and director could highlight each character to the audience.
Three Lower Sixth pupils have described their experiences below;
Povy: ‘The workshop we did with Peter helped us to understand more about the play. Take the characters for example, we have to ask ourselves who they are, why they are where they are, what actions they were involved in, and how we express this on stage through planning. The questions we ask are a way to further explore what we can do to express creativity in a play. Peter gave us a great opportunity to further breakdown the play by holding this workshop.’
Charlotte Lower Sixth: ‘The workshop we did with Peter was very engaging and three hours went by so quickly. It was very helpful in terms of music in the play, because music has a major impact on many aspects of the performance. It is also a strong association and choosing the right music is crucial for a director. I’m very grateful for being given the opportunity to explore Sweeney Todd in depth and meeting Peter was a pleasure.’
Tudor Lower Sixth: ‘Our workshop with Peter was incredibly informative yet fun, we learnt a lot about how important music really is in a play even though we may not notice it. For example, I learnt that 80% of everything said on stage is in song. This shocked me but it shows how music is used to portray emotion and give spoken words life. Peter was extremely engaging and funny whilst teaching us a huge amount about the musical. I thank Peter and the school for giving us this opportunity to learn more about how performed musicals in theatre really work.’