Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 29th June 2008
So I have now, successfully, finished my first year at the fantastic Knox Academy and all I can say is roll on next year. Looking back over the past year I can honestly say it has a pleasure to work such committed teachers and amazing pupils.
Highlights this year include:
- Setting up my studio with my posters and visual aids and meeting my classes
- the S6 Pantomime ‘Cinderella’. A great rehearsal period and production that went down well with everyone who seen it. Great songs, dances, acting and great audiences.
- The senior play ‘In Holland Stands a House’. The pupils really took on board the challenges of staging a small intimate studio performance. This play also was the FIRST production at Knox Academy and we made the audience cry!
- Holocaust Memorial Day – An emotional experence enabling every pupil in Knox look at the themes of the Holocaust through the eyes of young people. It was great to see all our hard work pay off during our assemblies and the wall of silence that hit you after the string group stopped playing.
- Working with students from Queen Margaret University and enabling our young people to create an Award Winning piece of Drama.
- Creating the ‘Across the Pond Theatre Project’ with Carol in America which aims to enable our pupils to engage in various arts form from other countries.
- Seeing the department grow from just teaching S1 and S2 and S6 to having Two Standard Grade Drama classes and a Higher Class as well as two senior Acting Classes and the S1 and S2.
- Having two students accepted in Scottish Youth Theatre Summer School
- Fantastic trip to London with S2/S3 pupils.
- Seeing two students leave Knox Academy and pursue a career in Drama at Drama School.
- Attending my first Knox Academy Prom Night.
What am I looking forward to in session 2008/2009
- Higher Drama Investigative Drama performances in Oct.
- Senior Play (More News Later)
- Junior Play (More News Later)
- The First Knox Academy Musical (more News Later)
- New York, New York! CAN NOT WAIT!
- working with my two Standard Grade Classes on exciting projects.
- Creating more work with ‘Across the Pond’
- Possible exciting trip for Activities Week to the birth place of Theatre.
The Future is Bright… The Future is DRAMA!
I would like to take this time to say a few thank yous and goodbyes;
Thank to Mrs Craig who has fully supported me in everything I do and who’s door has always been open. Mrs Black for being my Faculty Head and dealing with any issues as soon as she could. To my wonderful pupils who with you I wouldn’t want to be in this job, you inspire the Drama we create and your ability to take everything I throw at you is amazing. Loving your work. To the S6 students of 2007/2008 – you were fantastic to work with. To all the staff at Knox who have helped pupils engage in Drama or who have supported the department. To you my readers (do I have any??? lol) a blog without readers is like an play without an audience.
To Claire; thank you so much for all your help with the Pantomime and all your ideas for dance. You’ve been great to work with. To Andy, Fiona, Gill and Katie; You are great and will be a loss to Knox! All the best!
So that’s it! We’re off now for seven weeks – meeting the Queen on Friday with pupils and that’s my final duty of this session. Again thank you everyone and I will see you all in Session 2008/2009 – which to be honest… looks like another great year at Knox Academy!
Posted in American Schools Link, Higher Drama, In Holland Stands a House, International theatre, Knox Academy, Queen Margaret University, S6 drama, Scottish Youth Theatre, Standard Grade | 2 Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 10th January 2008
On the 27th January 1945 the Red Army marched into the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz and liberated the prisoners from their opressors.
Seven years ago National Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) was created to commemorate, to educate and to prompt action in the UK. HMD commemorates the lives of those lost in the Holocaust; as a result of Nazi persecution and in more recent genocides. It educates about the Holocaust and it lessons for the present day. It prompts action in the UK highlighting the continuing dangers of racism, anti-semitism and all forms of discrimination.
As a teacher and theatre pracitioner I feel that it is so important to educate young people about the Holocaust and Genocide since World War Two. We are now getting to a stage in history where first hand stories are being lost and it is up to children and grand children of survivors to pass on information.
Throughout the Drama Curruiculum at Knox Academy students experience various insights into the Holocaust… S1 look at the Holocaust through Dance/Drama, S2 look at the topic through the eyes of Refugees and writing monologues to perform and the S6 have just completed In Holland Stands a House about Anne Frank, as well as looking at scenes from Fear and Misery of the Third Reich. I have just written the Standard Grade course for next year and the students will have to create a piece of Docu-Drama based on Genocide. All these topics look at the aims of HMD and hopefully will engage students.
I think it should be council wide that all schools should be doing something active for HMD; an assembly, cross curricular work, research, presentations etc anything that will enable the students to look at the topic and engage them.
We are living in a world where sadly Genocide happens and yet young people are quite niave about the topic due to lack of education, please don’t think that is only a teachers job, I feel parents and the governement should also be doing all they can to make young people understand that being different for whatever reason is actually fine. The tragedies of Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur have shown that the international community, and each of us as citizens, have not truly understood the lessons of the Holocaust.
Every year, a different theme is announced for HMD. In 2008, the theme is Imagine…remember reflect react.
Knox Academy has already started their work towards the day, ending with a memorial by the senior students for those who have died throughout the world. It is my aim that Knox Academy makes this a day in their calendar, enabling students to look at the day each year from a different point of view.
Imagine… what it is like
remember… the past
reflect… on the memories
react… so it won’t happen again
What will you be doing on the 27th?
Posted in In Holland Stands a House, Knox Academy, Standard Grade, T.I.E, What is theatre | 5 Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 8th December 2007
I just wanted to write a wee something about our first production by Knox Academy Drama Department.
It was always going to be a challenge to do a full scale production with a group of S6 students who had never done drama before and rehearse it in only two months, one hour a week. The technical rehearsal was awful and so I thought we, and I say we as drama is a team subject, had bitten off more than we could chew.
To find a play that will a) not only engage the actors but also the audience and b) suit the talents of the cast isn’t always an easy option.
Come opening night we were all nervous and with an audience of around 30, students, teachers, parents and friends the lights went to black and the show began. Having decided to stage it on the thrust (audience on three sides), to make it seemed confined and like the house they were living in, the actors and audience were very close together and the company really had to focus to get through the night. As soon as the last scene finished I became teraful, they done it and they were amazing. The second night seen us perform to a full house with us having to turn a few away and through word of mouth we performed to a varied audience including SMT.
The Holocaust is very personal to me and I am honestly honoured to have worked with these talented and amazing students on such a powerful piece, to make members of an audience cry, to make them discuss, to make them feel moved by what they have seen is a great thing for any actor to be part of, let alone a student company. That is what theatre is about!
As Tess said, we’ve set a standard now and I really hope we can live up to it.
A huge thank you to everyone involved, I am so thankful to work in such a supportive faculty in such a fantastic school. Rock on next terms S6 production.
Posted in Directing, In Holland Stands a House, International theatre, Knox Academy, S6 drama, What is theatre | 2 Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 3rd December 2007
…In Holland Stands A House.
In Holland Stands A House
by Sue Saunders and Directed by J Naples-Campbell
Wed 5th Dec & Thurs 6th Dec 2007
Drama Studio, Knox Academy
The senior acting class at Knox Academy having been busy learning their lines and putting their finishing touches to their play ‘In Holland Stands A House’. Two students who went to Poland to visit a concentration camp will be holding an exhibition before and during the interval of the play about The Holocaust and genocide since.
This is the story of Anne Frank who with her family went into hiding during the Nazi occupation in Holland. The play interweaves a dramatised account of events in Europe with domestic scenes from the secret annex. The script draws strongly on Anne’s diary.This is the story of Anne Frank who with her family went into hiding during the Nazi occupation in Holland. The play interweaves a dramatised account of events in Europe with domestic scenes from the secret annex. The script draws strongly on Anne’s diary.
This is one of the events leading up to National Holocaust Memorial Day that the school will be hosting.
If you are interested in attending please email me at school or leave a comment, limted seats due to space.
Posted in In Holland Stands a House, International theatre, Knox Academy, S6 drama | 5 Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 18th November 2007
I was inspired by a talk that our Deputy Head gave on International Education. The talk made me question the course we have in S6 and how we could use our time in creating a course that isn’t only fun, engaging but looking at the world in which we live in, after all Drama is a key subject in examining our culture, surroundings and world.
After several draft plans and discussions with my PT Faculty and SMT I have now created an International Theatre Course in which students will learn the different dramatic theories practiced across the world.
In my final year at Queen Margaret I had the pleasure of being taught Non-Western Theatre by a fantastic tutor called Dr Ksenija Horvat, for this unit I gained a 79% (one of my highest grades) however I have never been interested in the genre and completely forgot about it till the Whole School day meeting.
The course will cover African Storytelling, Japanese Noh Theatre, Chinese use of music and Opera, European Absurdist Theatre, Australian Aborigine movement, American Drama and British ‘In Yer Face’ theatre. Students will be able to explore each country through a practical and academic way before choosing three theories to devise a piece of international theatre that will be shown to a public audience.
A new development since I started this blog is that a fellow Drama teacher from the Georgia in America has been reading my blog and we have now created a partnership in helping one another to develop our international practices and working together on an International level. She was very keen in learning more about our play ‘In Holland Stands a House’ and I have now sent her a copy of the play which she hopes to stage, we aim to stage an American play next year.
So the Knox Academy Drama Department is certainly becoming fabulously International!
Posted in In Holland Stands a House, International theatre, Knox Academy, S6 drama, What is theatre | 6 Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 1st October 2007
Well my weekend was spent going to the theatre and rehearsing. Friday I went to see the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Rupture (review in no business like page) and Saturday I went to see Algebra of Freedom by 7:84.
Both very different, both had some excellent touches but both left me wanting more! Find out why on the relevant page.
About to start full rehearsals for the full play ‘In Holland Stands a House’. The sixth year, not having done drama before, are excited, as am I. We are going to be quite experimental with the production and seeing certain movement from Rupture I want to focus on movement for the first rehearsal. The use of gesture can be very powerful in any production and I feel using music adds a certain something to a piece.
The students at Knox at very creative and I’m sure they will come up with some amazing movement for the opening. Rehearsals begin…
Posted in In Holland Stands a House, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 29th September 2007
Hello! After an insightful CPD on ICT and being friends with someone who is very passionate about blogging I have decided to create my own teaching BLOG.
I am a Drama Teacher at Knox Academy in Haddington, just outside Edinburgh in East Lothian. I spent a great two years at Maxwelltown High School in Dumfries and Galloway. I am drama graduate from Queen Margaret University College school of Drama and have worked as a Director, Actor (Musical Theatre) and Drama Facilitator. Two years ago a few friends and myself created random ACT theatre company to facilitate the work of gender theatre. We’re still new but hailed as an ‘exciting and up and coming theatre company’ by the Scotsman is quite exciting. Hopefully I can help use some of the work we do at random ACT within the classroom and vice versa.
Knox Academy is a great school with lots of stuff going on and am very excited to be part of an amazing team of staff. At present we offer Drama to all S1 and S2 students with Standard Grade being introduced next year. The S6 students have the chance to take Drama as an option throughout the year; focusing on drama technique and production skills. At present I am involved in writing and Directing the S6 pantomime as well as the school senior play ‘In Holland stands a house’. I’m very passionate about education and how drama can enhance learning. ‘In Holland stands a house’ is the story of Anne Frank but told through a docu-drama making the audience flip between the secret annex and what was happening throughout Europe at the time.
The senior play is just one of a series of curricular events I am proposing for national Holocaust memorial day in January. I feel very strongly about this area and feel each student should be aware of the Holocaust and similar acts since. Through the work we do we should educate young people to accept each other and themselves as indivduals.
So… my first blog… not much really but it’s a start…
Posted in In Holland Stands a House, Knox Academy, Maxwelltown High School, National Theatre of Scotland, random ACT theatre company, Rupture, Traverse Theatre, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »