Hot Off The Press

We’re returning IN REAL LIFE!

Hurrah! The moment we’ve all been waiting for – Dramatis is returning to an IN REAL LIFE format!

Whilst it’s been lots fun adapting to online classes (which have brought out new levels of creativity in our teachers and pupils alike!) we can’t lie: we’ve missed our face to face lessons.

So, in accordance with the latest government guidelines, we’re delighted to be bringing back our Youth Drama Programme next month. Social Distancing rules will remain in place (which you can read about here).

We have a Holiday Workshop lined up from Mon 12th to Fri 16th April and then the Summer term for Drama Lessons will begin on Mon 19th April.

The Easter half-term workshop, ‘Can’t Stop the Beat’, will be a performing arts extravaganza of acting, singing, dancing and playing games based around three well-loved musicals – Hairspray, Beauty and the Beast and Hercules. To learn more, CLICK HERE.

The Summer term drama lessons will culminate with each lesson group doing a class performance (that will be filmed and uploaded to the Dramatis Online Stage for family and friends to enjoy). To learn more, CLICK HERE.

Please note, since Social Distancing guidelines mean we can only bring together 15 children at a time, workshop and class places are limited, so BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment!

The Adult Drama Programme will remain online for now (with the continuation of Plays and Pinot playreading sessions) but we will start to transition back to real-life classes once guidelines allow.

We can’t wait to see all your faces again IRL!

Hot Off The Press

Dramatis featured on BBC South!

Yes, you heard correctly! Yesterday saw us make our TV debut with a feature on BBC South Today!

Having been quick to adapt to a virtual format when the first lockdown was announced, over the past 12 months, we’ve run a range of online activities to help support local children with their mental wellbeing. It was great to see all the hard work put in by our teachers, pupils and parents alike recognised in this news segment:

The BBC report focused on our Winter Term classes which were based on a script devised by Dramatis principal, Suzy Duxbury. ‘Willy Wonka’s Lockdown Madness’ was written to help children express their frustrations and fears surrounding the pandemic as well as provide them with some much-needed social interaction with their peers.

As Suzy explained, “Like everyone, I was concerned with how the pandemic was affecting children and so reached out to an online parenting group to get a better understanding of how kids were being impacted and where Dramatis could best support”. A common concern was “a change in behaviour”, with some children becoming “increasingly withdrawn” and others having “uncharacteristic outbursts”. Parents cited a “lack of structured activities” and “ongoing absence of friends” as possible causes as well as the “struggle for children to explain how they feel”.

As a result, Dramatis devised tailored scripts for children to work on as part of their Winter Term classes which culminated in filmed performances of ‘Willy Wonka’s Lockdown Madness’. The Spring Term, which concludes next week, will see children perform ‘Lucy’s Adventures in Zoomland’, another script created to help explore changing emotions in relation to the lockdown.

Eva, one of the pupils who took part in the BBC filming explained: “‘it was great to work through a new script that felt relevant today and it was fun trying new characters”.

We’ve had some lovely feedback about the feature, with many pupils excited to have some fun news to share with their friends in the playground as they return to school this week. For others, its given them a taste of stardom, that will no doubt motivate their drama performances in the future!

A huge thank you to Pete Doherty from the BBC team, for helping spread the word about Dramatis and for guiding us through the process of making our TV screen debut!

We will be announcing Summer Term dates in the coming weeks, but if you have a child who can’t wait to get going, check out our upcoming Easter Workshop (‘Can’t Stop the Beat’) which will run from Monday 12th April to Friday 16th April (and will be our first IN PERSON activity since last year!)

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Our online Playreading group expands and rebrands!

With the latest UK lockdown meaning people are once again finding themselves socially isolated, disconnected from others and struggling to keep occupied, we’ve expanded our much-loved online playreading group to provide a wider variety of plays, dates and times so more people can participate!

When lockdown was first announced back in March 2020, we were quick to adapt our programming and move to a virtual format. As part of the new digital offering, we launched ‘Wine and Wilde’ online playreading sessions.

This affordable online activity (which brought people together via Zoom sessions to read through an Oscar Wilde play) had such an overwhelming response, that we’ve decided to expand it for 2021. The new Plays and Pinot format provides participants with a larger range of plays from different playwrights as well as a wider selection of dates and times.

Plays and Pinot is ideal for adults who are interested in the literary classics but keen to explore them in a new way. The low-pressure environment means it is also perfect for those who are unfamiliar with acting; as there are no lines to learn, and no stages to perform on! Participants are pre-assigned characters in scenes from a play which they then read through together as a small group. In keeping with the informal nature of the group, participants are encouraged to bring along a glass of wine or alternative beverage of choice for a de-brief afterwards.

The first block of Plays and Pinot (A Country Wife) is already sold out but there are spaces available for upcoming sessions which include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Heartbreak House, Lady Windemere’s Fan and What Every Woman Knows.

For more information, check out the PLAYS AND PINOT page.
To book your place, click the BOOKINGS page.

Hot Off The Press

Dramatis introduces Playdates to help keep children connected with their friends

With Lockdown 2 meaning children can no longer socialise with their friends after school or take part in their usual extra-curricular activities, Dramatis community drama school has introduced online Dramatis Playdates. These one-hour sessions bring together four friends via Zoom for a playdate led by Dramatis. Children are given a series of drama-based games and exercises to play with their friends whilst parents enjoy an hour to themselves as their kids are being (productively) entertained!

Having moved their programme online in the first lockdown, Dramatis has now welcomed over 75 Sussex adults and children for virtual drama classes and courses. This experience with their private groups means they can now extend their services to be able to offer this more flexible Playdate format.

As Dramatis Principal, Suzy Duxbury, explains: “Play is such an integral part of a child’s development; it lays the foundations for literacy and encourages communication and spontaneity. With children no longer able to play and socialise the way they used to, our Playdates bring friendship groups together safely so children can improve their social, emotional and cognitive skills and most importantly have some fun with their friends!

Playdates are themed around a specific story and begin with some icebreaker games so Suzy can get to know the children, and vice versa. Having discussed the story plot, children are assigned drama-based exercises to develop their knowledge of the characters. They work in pairs and as a group of four as they go on to devise a short performance that is recorded and can be shown to parents.

Playdates are for friendship groups of four children aged 5 to 11. Younger age groups are themed around ‘Wonderful Walliams’ exploring stories by David Walliams, while older groups are based around ‘Riotous Roald’ and texts by Roald Dahl. One hour sessions cost £30 (for all 4 children).

For more information CLICK HERE


Online Playreading Group returns to keep West Sussex residents connected

When lockdown was first announced back in March, we were quick to adapt our programming and move to a virtual format. The new Zoom led online programme included workshops and courses for residents of all ages which culminated in filmed performances that were featured on the Dramatis Online Stage (our You Tube account).

The unexpected highlight of the programme was the introduction of our adults play-reading group; ‘Wine and Wilde’. This online activity had such an overwhelming response, that we decided to keep it running post-lockdown and are considering introducing an ‘IRL’ version in a local wine bar once government guidelines allow.

Wine and Wilde is ideal for adults who are completely new to acting or nervous about committing to a course. There are no lines to learn, and no stages to perform on! Participants are pre-assigned characters in scenes from an Oscar Wilde play which they then read through as a small group. In keeping with the informal nature of the group, participants are encouraged to bring along a glass of wine or alternative beverage of choice.

As Janet, one of the attendees, explains: “I was hesitant at first as I’m quite self-conscious, but I had so much fun!”. Marty, another attendee, adds “It’s been great to meet new drama lovers and have something to look forward to” while Mandy says, “Everybody’s really friendly and supportive”.

In a climate in which the impact of loneliness has been acutely felt, groups like this have become a lifeline.

As Dramatis Principal, Suzy Duxbury, explains: “our online playreading group aims to keep residents connected during these uncertain times and provide a much-needed space for escapism and laughter”.

The performing arts industry has been hit particularly hard by recent events and so we were delighted to see our Wine and Wilde group featured by UK News Group and Drama & Theatre alongside fellow industry friends, The Playground Theatre, Nick Hern Books, Belgrade Theatre and Up Ere Productions.

Wine and Wilde Play-reading Group
Format: Online sessions run via Zoom (in blocks of four)
Date/Time: Fridays from 7.30pm to 8.15pm
Price: £10 (per block of four sessions)
Upcoming sessions:
25 Sept/2 Oct/9 Oct/16 Oct: Lady Windemere’s Fan
6 Nov/13 Nov/20 Nov/27 Nov: An Ideal Husband

For more information about Wine and Wilde, CLICK HERE.