The Drama Club: Developing Successful Performances Book Cover The Drama Club: Developing Successful Performances
Mark Wheeller and Clive Hulme
Pping Publishing
Feb 2015

In this book, well-established young people's playwright Mark Wheeller writes about the time he was reluctantly persuaded to take over a junior drama club with 7-11 year olds, an age-group outside his previous experience. Sceptical of the abilities of this age-group, the author experimented with an approach which was designed to appeal to parents (as well as children) by involving the audience via a quiz format running alongside the performance. The first project features some novel ideas for using freeze frames, mime and improvisation to present aspects of well-known stories, with the audience having to guess stories, deleted scenes and lines from the characters.

The second project was a devised play, Midnight, (a boarding school mystery) which evolved into a script written by Wheeller, included royalty-free within the book. The process of the third project (a musical) is briefly described, although there is less of practical value to take away. Co-author Clive Hulme also offers downloadable resources to accompany Midnight through his website.

Whilst limited in scope, this book certainly provides some useful tips and ideas for a junior drama club as well as a free script and downloadable resources. In content and style the book resembles a blog, in the way that it describes Wheeller's personal journey of discovery as he tries out his ideas with the group and successfully wins over participants and audience.