Alex’s Lockdown Blog

I really love going to Spotlight Drama on a Wednesday.  The session is at the Music Centre which is my second home, as I do LOTS of music there.   As well as drama I perform in Heavy Metal Bands and the Brass Band and also have drum and guitar lessons and sing in Junior Choir.  BUT NOW, all of that has changed, because of the Corona Virus.  I can’t do all my favourite stuff!!

When I first found out all my classes and activities were being cancelled I felt like the world was going to end. Football and swimming were also cancelled – basically everything.  As well as missing playing – music and sport – I was really missing my FRIENDS!!!

So when Mrs Dodd e mailed to say that we could still do Spotlight, but over the internet on a zoom call, I felt like I was in HEAVEN!!! It meant that I could still do my favourite things and chat to my friends as well.  Its nice and relaxing doing Spotlight from my bedroom!!!

Some other aspects of lockdown are that I’m not going to school!!! Although I miss my friends and my teacher.  I am also playing a lot more Minecraft and Roblox and a lot more drawing – I love art!!

We all need to be super careful and look after each other and protect the NHS.  We are also being super, extra careful as my gran lives with us.  She’s 90, so we really don’t want to put her at risk.  I would miss her if she had to go to hospital. 

I’m going to try and write something each week about how this all feels.  It is so different to how things were only a few weeks ago. 

Easter Holiday Challenges #spotlightathome

Welcome to Spotlight Drama Easter Challenges!

Our first challenge is to perform a poem to camera. It can be your favourite poem or one you have written yourself. Remember to look at the camera as much as possible as if you are seeing your audience through the lens. And don’t forget to say the title and author, particularly if you wrote the poem.

I thought I would write a poem as well, here’s mine:

The Girl by Claudia Jazz Haley

There once was a girl

Whose long straight hair refused to curl.

Her name was Claudia

And she would often say: Oh Dear!

As she would crash and fall,

Her co-ordination was not good, not at all.

Lacking was her knowledge of left and right,

No matter how hard she tried with all her might.

Bruise on bruise, plaster on plaster,

Claudia was known as a walking disaster!

Send your poems to us at nicola@spotlightdrama.co.uk. We will be posting some of them online! We’ll be sharing challenge number 2 over the next few days. So keep an eye out for messages coming through from us!

Dominic’s TV Experience

Name:                            Dominic Lang

Event Attended:         ‘Sam and Mark’s BIG FRIDAY Windup!’

Thanks to SPOTLIGHT DRAMA introducing me to some lovely people from The BBC, I was lucky enough to be chosen to take part in ‘Sam and Marks BIG FRIDAY Windup’ TV show on CBBC… Only I didn’t know it at the time (as you’ll see if you watch it!)

It’s been a great experience!

The show is due to air on Friday 26th February on CBBC at 5.30pm ( but you can take a sneaky peek on the CBBC website now!)

I hope you enjoy the show!!

Dominic 🙂

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Picking Up Accents – Advice from Jannah Zulqurnain

Jannah is a speech and drama student who is currently working on material for exams, performances and competitions. Jannah works on a variety of material and recently has been tackling different accents in prose readings and drama pieces. This is what she has to say about working with accents…

“For the competitions and exams, I have had to prepare a lot of pieces that require me to do certain accents. I often listen to audio books to get the accents just right. Apart from that, I generally enjoy listening to different accents and impersonating them.

I all ways find myself speaking to my brother and my friends in American or Yorkshire accents while we are playing. Sometimes I don’t even realise that I am doing it. I would really like to learn to do more accents. The next ones I want to learn are Scottish and Australian.”

Thank you Jannah, you’ve given us some useful information there about listening to stories to absorb the accent sounds and rehearsing the accents through playing. We’re looking forward to hearing your Scottish or Australian accent in the future!

Learning Lines by Eliza

I think we all must have been in the position when we have to learn something off by heart. If you think about it, it’s practically inevitable. Learning words for a spelling test, speech, vocab test, etc., etc. The problem is: how do we learn them? Read on to find out my three top methods.

  1. Rereading

If you are ever learning a large monologue or speech, remember to keep on going through your lines. Let me tell you, if you read through each line individually, you’ll have forgotten half of it when you get to the end. Instead, keep on adding your lines. E.g-‘I went to the shop.’ Say if your next line was ‘ I bought some crisps.’ You would then say ‘I went to the shop, I bought some crisps,’ and keep on adding lines.

  1. Thinking positive

Picture the scene. You’re sitting at the table with a massive script in front of you. Your initial reaction would be to look at it and groan. Understandable. We’re human. Instead, look at it with a positive attitude. Don’t think ‘Oh great, I’ve got to learn all this.’ Think ‘ Good, if I read the script and learn the lines, I’ll get to know the story!’ Just keep reading the script as a whole and you’ll pick it up.

  1. Putting it in context

As I said in the last point, reading the story will help you get a grip of the words, but it will also show you how to say your line. Saying your line with the right attitude will have an impact on the entire performance. If you forget a line, think about what your character would say in that circumstance. Chances are you’ll go along the right lines and the audience will know what you mean.

Thanks for reading!

Eliza  

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Welcome Back! Summer fun was gone like a flash but we started this new term off with a bang!

It’s been a busy summer this year with all of our new courses attracting a lot of new and old faces. From our new inspiring courses such as Character Development and Public Speaking to our always popular Drama and Musical Theatre Club week. We had some fantastic fun but it has to be said that one of the highlights were welcoming CBBC to the Claremont Centre who ran a fun workshop for our students as well as game show auditions. Very exciting! Keep your eyes pealed here for future news and developments as we find out about them on that particular occasion. Also some of our students had the opportunity to visit and be apart of the Blue Peter audience, we shall be hearing about their experiences soon.

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However the summer flew by and with September comes a new term with some new faces both as staff and students. As I am sure everyone is aware we said goodbye to Tom last term, who ran several of our classes including Friday nights’ Musical Theatre class. We hope he will return to say “Hello “ and tells us all about his new ventures. Replacing Tom we would like to welcome the extremely experienced Becky who has taken over the Musical Theatre class with gusto and panache! Welcome on board Becky!

We also ran a Facebook competition at the beginning of term offering first time families two free places on our Stage 1 Drama Tuesday and Friday classes until October half term. All the first time families had to do was tell us what their child’s favourite book or character. With many people sharing our competition on friends’ walls and group pages we picked two winners by random: James Eisen won a place for his daughter Charlotte and Sylvia Emerick’s won a place for her son Samuel. Both children have now started their sessions and are enjoying working on Aesop’s Fables and The Great Fire of London. Congratulations to both families and thank you to everyone who entered or shared the competition.

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This term we also have some new classes on offer in particular the Foundation Speech and Drama for 6-9 year olds on Saturday mornings (9:45am). A small group of up to 8 children who will focus upon clear speaking, communication skills, poetry speaking, story telling. This class will then act as a feeder class for our Advanced Speech and Drama for children in school Year 6 and above. Also on a Saturday morning at 10.40am, these children will be selected for the class by audition only. Ensuring keen and experienced students will be encouraged, allowing their potential and talent to thrive in a like-minded environment.

There are also more offers, adult consulting, events, sessions and projects in the planning. As they begin to take shape and then put into action you will be the first to know. So as I said earlier keep your eyes pealed, as it looks set to be an entertaining and thrilling term and year ahead!

We look forward to seeing you and your children this term.

Claudia and all the Spotlight Leaders

Taking Spotlight Exams with LCM University of West London by Sudiksha Devendra Kumar

Thinking of doing a LCM (London College of Music) exam soon? Then look no further, I will be telling you about the whole experience and what it entails! So what are LCM exams?  LCM exams are recognised qualifications and UCAs points are given to people who successfully achieve Grades 6-8, so it definitely is a very rewarding experience!

So what do you have to do? Different exam levels and types have different requirements so if you want to do an exam, the first thing to do is look at the exam syllabus which can be found online (on: http://www.uwl.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Academic-schools/London-College-of-Music/Web/LCM-Exams/PDF/Drama%20and%20Communication/drama_grades_2014.pdf  ) and try to find your exam type and grade.

In most grades, the candidate is expected to prepare two pieces: this may be an extract from a book or some prose or you may have to write your own talk/speech! If you are writing your own talk, make sure you include a clear but brief introduction which simply just tells the examiner what you’re going to talk about. Then, in a logical/chronological order, talk about your topic/experience! Ensure that you are speaking formally and that what you are saying makes sense- but this doesn’t mean you have to be rigid and uptight, have a friendly tone and include plenty of expression in your voice (e.g. if it’s an exciting moment then sound excited!). And to finish it off just conclude your talk with maybe a reflection on the topic or maybe a question! But do remember, when you are writing/performing your talk, don’t expect it to be right first time! There will be several drafts and versions but don’t worry about it- this is going to be learning experience and you will improve over time (with practise of course!). You also need to ensure your piece fits snugly into the time limit- aim for your performance to be about 30 seconds under the time limit so that on the day even if you speak too fast or too slow it won’t seem too short or too long! Also make sure you know what all the words in your piece mean because your examiner may ask you for the definition (I was once asked what a circus was!). The pieces usually carry around 60 marks (30 marks each).

The candidate is also usually asked to make a folder of work/portfolio. Depending on the grade, this could be pieces of work that interest you (which may have to be on a linked theme) or background material for a talk. Make sure you know what you are doing- if you are unsure ask your teacher! They should be more than happy to help! When making your folder/portfolio, make sure you are including things that interest YOU because the examiner may ask you questions on it! You may also be asked to write a Personal Reflection which is usually around a page long and the content of it, again, depends on the grade. To achieve the highest mark for your folder of work, try to make it artistic-but if art isn’t a strong point for you (it certainly isn’t for me!) then don’t fret, just try and make it colourful by backing pieces onto colourful paper/card and print out relevant pictures: let your creativity flow! The folder of work and discussion with the examiner carries 30 marks overall.

In the exam you will also receive a sight reading chosen by the examiner and you will usually be given around one or two minutes to look at it before performing. This could be any piece of work: a piece of prose, a poem or maybe an extract from a book! The only way to get better at sight reading is to just read out random extracts from books or poetry books. This part of the exam usually carries 10 marks.

On the day, the exam isn’t usually a stressful experience as long as you are organised and bring all of the required material to the exam. The exams are usually held at Chethams School of Music in Manchester- but this can change on some occasions! The length of the exam depends on the grade that you are doing but it usually goes by very quickly! You’ll go in and exchange names; then when you’re ready you’ll be asked to perform your pieces. Then you’ll do your sight reading! Finally you’ll discuss your folder of work and then that’s it, exam over!

Hopefully this has helped any of you thinking of doing LCM exams in the near future; and if you’ve decided that you want to, good luck!

by Sudiksha Devendra Kumar