‘We brought the stage to our homes’: Harrow students’ online sharing
Students in London adapted during lockdown to continue with an important educational project, culminating in an online video-sharing of their work
Pupils from four schools across the Borough of Harrow (along with their teachers and our Education team) came together during the Coronavirus crisis to embrace a challenging situation and continue with important workshops and career-development work.
In 2019 the Jeremy Lemmon Project was established. At a special live event, it was announced that – in 2020 – Harrow-based students from partner schools would work with us on this unique project that aims to support drama training in state schools across the Borough of Harrow, London.
This January, sixth-form students from Hatch End High School, Nower Hill High School, Whitmore High School and Harrow School formed an acting company, under the direction of a Globe Education practitioner.
‘The Jeremy Lemmon Project was established to support drama training, creative collaboration and access to higher education in across secondary schools in the Borough of Harrow. Jeremy was an inspirational teacher and director of Shakespeare at Harrow School, staging a series of productions exploring shared-light playing conditions, and bringing the work to life for generations of students.’
– Adam Cross, Director of Drama, Harrow School
Workshops originally planned were to focus on building an ensemble, and accessing and exploring Shakespeare’s language for a collaborative performance. The young company members – many of whom aim to pursue formal actor training, or university pathways linked to drama and literature – were to also benefit from individual coaching sessions to develop their monologue performance skills. Finally, in June 2020, they would take to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse stage to showcase their hard work in front of a live audience, presenting their series of shared scenes and monologues.
Sadly, only one of these workshops took place before – along with other arts organisations and business all over the globe – we had to close our doors to the general public in March, halting all upcoming events taking place in our buildings this summer.
But that didn’t stop the team. It was agreed that – despite not being able to see each other in person – this project was far from cancelled and together with the schools involved, we would find a way to deliver its objectives, online.
‘When lockdown was introduced, we quickly adapted our plans,’ said student, Sasha. ‘Whilst it was unfortunate that we couldn’t perform at Shakespeare’s Globe as originally planned, I felt this new style of theatre brought a really modern approach to our monologues and once again reignited the fluidity of theatre as we brought the stage to our homes.’
‘The great thing about this project has been seeing students from different schools come together and become one company of actors. We ended up being a virtual company, but we were united nonetheless. Rather than being daunted by a brand new way of rehearsing, the students embraced it and we started to find new ways of presenting Shakespeare. Their brilliant final speeches are a testament to how adversity can breed creativity.’
Working closely with each school, a new online version of the project was underway. Students were quick to adapt and began work on two monologues: one that would mimic a drama school audition self-tape, and a separate challenge in which the students were encouraged to consider staging their monologue more creatively. With a safe, online format in place that included support from teachers, coaching could take place online, via Zoom sessions.
And as for the sharing-event planned for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse… this took place digitally on 21 June 2020, only two weeks later than originally planned, with an invited online audience.
‘In times of social isolation, when many students are away from their peer groups, we are grateful for the strong sense of ensemble this project has maintained; the sense that, despite being physically separated, students have connected with one another through a shared response to Shakespeare’s words.’
– Adam Cross, Director of Drama, Harrow School
The videos shared at the bottom of this blog aim to extend an invite to you as the audience, to see how these wonderful students have thrived and continued to achieve, and all during a time of such great challenge for us all.
To the Jeremy Lemmon Class of 2020… you did it!
‘What I loved about this project was how it gave me a deeper insight into Shakespearean literature. We explored the language and the emotions within the text while learning how to connect it to our own world.’
– Sasha, Student
‘The Jeremy Lemmon Project was one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences I have done. We have learnt a lot regarding the arts and pursuing it later in life as a career. I thank everybody at the Globe who helped organise the project.’
– Regis, Student
‘What I have learnt will always stay with me. I found that the more we had to experiment and inch out of our comfort zones, the more confident we felt in ourselves and with each other.’
– Davine, Student
A special thanks to the Harrow School Development Trust, whose fundraising supported the establishing of the programme.