Creative Approaches to Drama Training Under Covid:
RWCMD Presents the First Royal Welsh Short Film Festival
The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama has risen to the challenge of presenting drama training and performance under the current climate by creating the first Royal Welsh Short Film Festival, premiering online on Friday 27th November.
With scripts from three leading writers, Hodge International Chair in Drama Simon Stephens, RWCMD graduate Moira Buffini, and Simon Longman, our final year actors, designers and stage managers have worked with a professional film crew to create three short films (all filmed under Welsh Government Covid health guidelines).
The necessary change of emphasis created by a new environment of lockdowns and social distancing has placed a greater focus on TV and film skills, in turn reflecting the shift in industry towards screen work, and the highly successful TV and Film industry in Wales.
‘We’ve had to work in very creative ways to find solutions to delivering performances, recreating the way we deliver that work, and using film instead of staging theatre productions.’ said Director of Drama Performance Jonathan Munby.
‘It could be the way of the future and we need to be realistic. Nothing will take the place of live performance, but we are in exceptional times and exceptional solutions need to be found.
I believe that adversity can generate opportunity, and some of the creative solutions we’ve found to the challenges we face, are wonderfully unexpected and worth holding on to for the future,’
These films will then be sent out to the industry and to national and international film festivals, significantly increasing the exposure of graduating students.
Playwright Simon Stephens said about the project, ‘I am immensely proud to be able to write a new film for the Royal Welsh College. Love is a play about the need for and possibility of contact and communication. It’s about the need to hide behind language and the fear of vulnerability.’
‘I wrote it with as much love as I can for that brilliant college and those brilliant students.
My association with RWCMD is something that has made me tremendously grateful over recent years. I am thrilled that this association will now manifest itself as a new piece of work. It was a piece written inspired by the students and their thoughts on their world. Each character in each scene is written bespoke for each actor.’
‘Creatively, one of the most challenging things has been the eradication of the shared space,’ added Simon Longman, writer of Dove. ‘But we adapt, as always. And as the auditoriums are on pause, we have to find new ways of engaging creativity, telling stories, and, most importantly, feeling part of a community.’
‘So it was really amazing to be asked to write for a different space by RWCMD, and focus on film, and use it to engage creativity. And subsequently offer students a way of allowing them to do what they should do, which is to act, and tell story, and feel like a collective. As we all should be able to feel.’
The College is continuing its training using a blended learning model, with students combining online and live teaching. Recent drama seminars have included a series of workshops from visiting professor, academic and director Dr Shondrika Moss-Bouldin from Georgia State University, focusing on African American playwrights, and Head of Video and Sound at National Theatre, Dominic Bilkey working with final year stage management students.
The Royal Welsh Short Film Festival will be available for free and will premiere online on 27th November.
To watch the films go to the RWCMD What’s On pages
All filming followed Welsh Government Covid health guidelines.
Love by Simon Stephens, directed by Morgan Hopkins
“Emma makes me feel like I feel when I’m running. When I run I feel like all the oxygen in my blood is singing.”
Across the city, young people just want to be part of something real. Feel everything. Dance all night. Dream of far off places. Anything that isn’t this virus.
Dove by Simon Longman, directed by Lee Haven Jones
Orange sky. Birds flying. Doves. A bloody hammer.
A dovecote is retrieved from a skip. The birds inside are still and silent. But if Doves are supposed to be symbols of peace, then why does Flo feel so unnerved? As flashes of violent memory erupt in her mind, Flo struggles with the weight of her dark past.
Radiance by Moira Buffini, directed by Eryl Phillips
“Don’t ask me about death, it’s boring. I get people here every week, asking me about death. Ask me why I stay.”
Gwen refuses to leave this place. She is planting a tree in the most poisonous place on earth. She inhales, filling her lungs with air. Hell is not always where you thought it would be…