Is it possible to continue rehearsals for a youth theatre production with a cast of 33 during the coronavirus crisis? According to Leigh Wolmarans, director of Northhampton-based Silhouette Youth Theatre, the answer is yes! Leigh gives some great advice about managing classes/groups online which is helpful even if you are not directing a show.

Here’s a summary of what we talk about in a value-packed ten minutes (video below):
He is currently running 4 productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream – and rehearsing every evening.
His prime software is Zoom.
At the start of a meeting he goes over rules for rehearsal, such as appropriate dress, no mobile phones.
He spends the first ten minutes on warm up games to relax everyone.
He stresses the importance of using the Mute function in Zoom, and disabling the chat window.
Mirroring the script onscreen.
Characters are unmuted for the read-through.
The lag can be a problem.
Preparation is important – young people are asked to look at some YouTube clips and images on Pinterest before the meeting.
He uses an Office 365 site for the technical team.
Use of breakout rooms for small group work.
Homework – young people are asked to rehearse and video scene excerpts at home to show later.
Importance of being aware of the effect social distancing can have on young people and that they might need to take a break from rehearsals.
How effective it can be to teach about a text on screen
One of the hardest things to do online is to block actors’ movements. Leigh talks about a piece of stage visualisation software called Capture which enables you to virtually design a stage performance with the actors, lighting, video and other elements of a show.

Thanks Leigh!