BWW Blog: Learning Theatre Away from the Theatre
My first year at University and I was on campus for two months, tops. It took around those two months to get into the groove of learning Theatre and Performance, getting used to Movement classes and vocal practice but then Covid-19 happened.
The Drama Department at Rhodes University have created an interactive way of learning these different aspects of Drama. Every week we have a lecture, currently focusing on Reading Movement and Dance through Choreography. We now have movement one week and voice the following week.
Both the lectures and physical practices, share information of the new topic and in order to see our understanding require a journal entry on what has been demonstrated and spoken about. This way of learning is obviously not ideal but the department have worked hard to ensure that every drama student at Rhodes has access to their course.
Learning the theory of the dramatic arts is simple. We are told what to look out for and what that could mean. We are then required to watch a specific video or read a specific article and write a journal entry on our understanding of that video or article. This helps us with study notes and enables our lecturers to keep an eye on their students and to see our understandings of the topic while assisting when necessary.
But learning how to articulate and use your voice fully without damaging it and learning various gestures and putting them together alone, is difficult. We are required to participate in a physical performance class and vocal practice class.
Physical performance online is very difficult, considering we have to tackle different tasks in, sometimes, not so big spaces - I went from having this class on a theatre stage to having to make space in my bedroom to complete each task with the greatest outcome. Online physical performance requires a descriptive explanation of what gestures we have compiled together and how we merged them, which isn't always the easiest.
Vocal practice online is fun, our tutors have come up with really awesome tasks to keep us active in learning about out voice and how to utilise it fully and properly. At the end of every task, we are required to send in a journal entry; explaining what we learnt and how we felt about the task. Being able to write a reflection for voice is great because it reminds me of our classes, before coronavirus sent us home, when at the end of class, we'd have a little reflection and feedback moment with the class and our tutor.
I am very impressed with the work of the Drama Department. They have managed to continue the semester while we are all scattered across the globe. The Drama Department have made all the lectures whether it is a theoretical, movement or voice; everything has been created to ensure everyone, anywhere can access the information without falling behind.
I won't lie, online learning is a struggle. It is hard to stay motivated, keep up with the work and even understand the work, sometimes but I know I am privileged to have a department like the Rhodes Drama Department, so dedicated to helping us finish the year without any delay.