Drama beneath the surface...

29 Feb 24

Year 10 Drama students took time out on Wednesday to visit the Ramsgate Tunnels.

The Tunnels, which celebrate their 10th anniversary​‌ this year, was chosen as the starting stimulus for the GCSE drama devised pieces with 30 pupils taking an opportunity to explore subterranean Ramsgate.

The idea to use the Ramsgate Tunnels as the starting stimulus originated from Mrs Cackett who had enjoyed a family visit to the Tunnels last year. 

Mrs Cackett said "I thought this is such a great resource on our doorstep, why aren't we using it? We took virtually all of Year 8 there last summer during activities week and they really enjoyed the experience and came out with some really creative responses to the Tunnels. I think perhaps that was at the back of my mind. There's something about being there in the moment that is far more powerful than a photograph or film.

"The stimulus is designed as a starting point for ideas. The students are not expected to simply tell the story of the Ramsgate Tunnels, their final piece does not even need to be directly linked to the Tunnels or it's history. It may be the idea of 'darkness' or 'fear' or 'family'. Whatever thoughts or feelings the visit has provoked is a valid starting point. It's often really interesting to see their different perspectives and it's fascinating to see the variety of ideas one common stimulus can create."

One student commented "Jill [the tour guide] was amazing. She really brought the stories to life and gave us an insight into what it was like living there during the war."

Another stated "I thought the story of Ken Gower was really inspiring. It was such a nice way to finish the tour. I found that quite emotional."

Mr Smith said "It's certainly caused a lot of excitement. I know some of the older students were quite envious because they had more traditional stimulus when they studied GCSE, such as images or music, but as we move further and further out of the COVID-19 shadow there is a renewed desire to get out there and explore again. It's great that our students can have these opportunities.

"They are a lucky group. For some of them this is their third drama visit this year - usually we only run one for year 10 but they are such an enthusiastic and well behaved cohort that I feel confident taking them off site. And of course none of this is possible without the support of the school and many of our admin team who are the unseen heroes of these special events. As teachers we see first hand the impact and excitement the pupils experience but our colleagues in the offices who ensure invoices are paid, students are registered, lessons can be covered, medical records are checked and risk assessments are in place are invaluable. Mrs Cackett, Mr Richford, Lilly, our sixth form helper, and myself are on the 'front line' but there were eight other staff in the background who helped to make this visit possible and I don't think people ever realise how much is involved. And for that, and on behalf of our students, I wanted to give them a massive 'THANK YOU!'.

The pupils will now begin work on their final devised performance which, along with the written portfolios, count towards a third of their final GCSE accreditation.