01 Apr, 2013
10 : 00
Every year, students at YCIS Shanghai Gubei Campus have the opportunity to be involved in a number of theatrical productions that are selected by the Theatre Department. What made the recent performance by the new Chinese Modern Drama Club unique was that it was selected, directed, and managed by students. Launched by two Secondary students, the new Club took on the challenge of developing a production entirely by themselves.
Year 12 students, Emily and Yayi, were motivated to establish this new drama club after their summer internship at a theatre in Beijing that combines a unique genre of drama with traditional, Chinese folk culture theatre. During their internship, the students gained a thorough understanding on how a theatre works – from the process of turning a script into a high-quality drama performance, to understanding that theatre is not only what is seen on the stage, but also the preparation and practice before a performance.
Since part of the IB programme requires students to dedicate time to Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) Hours – a component of the Secondary curriculum that requires students to serve the community – Emily and Yayi invested their CAS hours, and more, in creating the YCIS Chinese Modern Drama Club with the mission of enriching cultural experiences, and creating another opportunity for students to improve not only their Chinese language skills, but also their theatre performance abilities. The first ever performance for the club took place on March 27 and 28, featuring the play, The Landlady.
After the performances, Emily and Yayi recapped the experience, saying “The rehearsing process was significant. We spent most of our rehearsal time in the black-box theatre on campus, as we tried to get familiar with the atmosphere that we would be performing in. Each step of the practice was crucial in leading us to our final outcome. We chose a play that was originally in Italian, so when we received the translated version of the script from the Shanghai Theatre Academy, we figured out that the style of language used was quite difficult to integrate with modern Chinese culture. We had to reorganise the language and delete certain scenes in order to make the actual performance fit. As the date of performance got closer, we increased the frequency of our rehearsals. We stayed after school every day and worked on weekends in order to ensure the quality of our performance. Each member of the club contributed their time and effort to achieve our final result. After all the hard work, the first drama production achieved our initial goals quite successfully, and we obtained very positive feedback from the audience. Overall, it has been a very meaningful experience for all of us, and we got the chance to know and learn from each other by working together, as well as encouraging everyone to enjoy and appreciate all types of art that drama embodies.”
Ms Zhu Yan, a Secondary Chinese Language Teacher at YCIS, and the teacher sponsor of this student-led initiative, praised the students’ efforts and results, “The Chinese Modern Drama Club was a great success in its first year. It was encouraging to see the way they supported and inspired each other to give such a polished performance. In addition to the students being able to enjoy their Chinese language studies in a relevant and practical way, they also benefited by having the opportunity to experience part of the YCIS motto: to align with arts and culture. And, since they were entirely responsible for this performance, the students learnt many new skills, including lighting, advertising, music, crafting of the script, and more. Overall, it was tremendously worthwhile and memorable for these students.”