Well what a year it’s been! Not just for Unscene Suffolk, but for everyone. So we thought we would have our final blog of the year as a round up of what Unscene Suffolk drama group have achieved this year.
We started 2021 with a hope and a dream of performing our play The Mystery of Syleham Manor on stage as it was originally intended, but as the pandemic endured we were forced to think of another way to perform and share our work. An audio play of The Mystery of Syleham Manor was born. As discussed in previous blogs, this was at times a challenging experience for some members of the group, but we all persevered under extreme circumstances, learning new skills along the way and created a piece of audio drama that we are all incredibly proud of.
As the year continued, restrictions were eased and we were all allowed to be ‘back in the room’ together once more from September. It was a new term, we welcomed new members to the group and the workshops were held in a new space – The Gallery Studio in St Georges Street, Ipswich. These workshops have been a great opportunity to discuss and share ideas for our next performance. Improvisation is a wonderful way of exploring characters and scenarios and sharpening acting skills. By being completely in the moment through improvisation, it brought up thoughts and reactions for the group that they otherwise would never have explored, because they were reacting in real time.
Although improvisation has played an important role in the workshops this term, we have also been working on our acting skills through quick fire games. Pass the clap, word association, even reciting the 12 days of Christmas! These exercises may sound simple, but its amazing how effective they can be in honing an actors listening and reacting skills. If you’re not listening, you can’t genuinely react to what has happened before. We practised these games in order to build pace and increase the groups confidence.
We love to see the group grow in confidence in all aspects of performance, so when Helen Baggett from world renowned theatre company Gecko offered to run a movement workshop for the group, we couldn’t say no! We spent the afternoon using our bodies to express words and emotions. It’s fair to say that we started off out of our comfort zones, but as we relaxed and stopped worrying what others were thinking or doing, the group began to free themselves up to the idea of movement as an expression. Actions were speaking louder than words and it was great to witness the group embrace this type of exercise.
Not only did we have Helen visit the group this term, we also had a very special visit from Unscene Suffolk founder Jenni Elbourne. It’s been 28 months since Jenni was last at an Unscene Suffolk workshop, so it was lovely to see her again, catch up and of course get her participating! Well, we couldn’t let her get away with just enjoying the gossip with the tea and biscuits could we!
As this year draws to a close, we are thankful that we were able to perform this year (albeit a little differently than originally planned), and that we got to meet in person once again and have fun at our weekly workshops. The next couple of weeks are full of uncertainty for all of us, but we have everything crossed that Unscene Suffolk will meet again (In person!) on 27th January 2022. Thank you to everyone who has supported Unscene Suffolk this year, either by donating, or tuning in to our audio drama and even liking us on social media – it is all much appreciated. From us all at Unscene Suffolk, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take care.
Image shows 3 different polaroid pictures on a digital Merry Christmas card. Images are The Mystery of Syleham Manor Poster, the group members rehearsing and cast in a circle smiling at camera.