On Thursday 24 May 2023, Rydal Penrhos Year 10 pupils invited guests to a hotel like no other as part of a memorable immersive drama experience.
Rydal Penrhos is known for its commitment to providing a holistic education that pushes pupils beyond their comfort zones and helps them be their best. Recently, Miss Fiona Earle and her Drama students provided a perfect example of this as they brought to life an unforgettable immersive drama experience.
In a transformed Sports Hall, an imaginary hotel came to life, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Drama and Physical Education departments. Pupils skilfully recreated various rooms within an imaginary hotel, including a gym, kitchen, and guest room. Teachers and staff from across the school were then invited to tour the hotel, led by the talented Safa Maqsood, who was in character as the irascible hotel receptionist.
What truly set this performance apart was the interactive nature of the production. The audience of staff and teachers became active participants, making choices that directly influenced the unfolding story. In every room, guests had the choice of either taking or refusing a certain item. For example, in the kitchen, guests were invited to take away either a toad-in-the-hole or a hard-boiled egg (thank you to Mr Jonathan Stubbs’ catering team for their assistance!).
Although these decisions may have seemed benign, they were in fact vital to the development of the performance. As the immersive experience unfolded, it was revealed that the workers at the hotel were trapped, and that the guests risked the same fate, depending on whether they had chosen the right items to free themselves, or not.
The interactive elements allowed pupils to practice their improvisation and problem-solving, while honing their ability to adapt and respond to unexpected situations. There was plenty of fun for pupils in creating the immersive drama experience, however it also posed positive challenges in terms of executing the vision. Thankfully, the talented Year 10 actors were more than up to the challenge, inhabiting their characters convincingly.
Pupils will have the opportunity to experience an immersive drama performance when the next exciting theatre trip takes place on Thursday 22 June 2023. At Theatr Clwyd outside Mold, ‘The Great Gatsby’ will offer an immersive promenade-style piece of theatre. The hope is that this excursion will deepen their understanding of this style of theatre while also providing a fun dramatic excursion to round off the academic year.
With the premiere of ‘Henry the Tudor Dude’ fast approaching on Tuesday 27 June 2023, there is still plenty of Drama to look forward to this term!