PHC Meets Paper Birds

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Last week, Year 12 drama were lucky enough to have a zoom interview with Georgie Coles from the professional theatre company Paper Birds.

We have recently started studying the company and their performance style, and Lianna was so enamoured with them that she decided to email and let Paper Birds know. It was through her conversation with them that Lianna managed to organise our interview.

Fantastic passion and initiative from Lianna led to a fabulous opportunity for Y12 drama, and we cannot thank her enough! Both she and Feifei asked some insightful questions and have learned more about verbatim theatre and Paper Birds' development process.

We are now keener than ever to create a piece in the style of Paper Birds, and both Mrs Chambers and Miss Cox are excited to see what the students create. Thank you so much to Georgie Coles for chatting with us and inspiring us all; theatre may be difficult under lockdown, but it is moments like this that keep us motivated!

Here, Lianna shares why she was interested in Paper Birds and her key takeaways from the meeting.

Paper birds are a theatre company based in the UK, they create pieces of theatre that are openly political and focus of hard-hitting everyday subjects. They particularly enjoy using verbatim theatre and go into great detail within researching their pieces. On their website they particularly highlight that ‘our vision is to provoke change, one encounter at a time. Our mission is to be quiet rebels, amplifying the voices of everyday people’.

Within A-level Drama you have to choose a practioner for Component 1 which you follow the style of when creating and devising your first exam piece.

For me, one particular part about drama I love is the research, whenever I get a new character to perform, I always research them in a lot of detail. So, when Mrs Chambers gave us Paper Birds to look at, I immediately fell in love. I personally think that political theatre is great and so interesting 

as there is always a deeper meaning to them and the comments, they make on society are fascinating, which is exactly what Paper Birds do, finding out about the extensive research they do was just an added bonus!

I began to research in further detail on their website their performances, techniques, about them, etc. And then I saw the contact us section, so I thought no harm done and contacted them saying how much I love their work and that they’re insanely interesting and asking if possible, to come speak to our drama class. They replied back saying they’d love to!

The interview with a member of Paper Birds, Georgie, was fascinating, she answered all of our questions perfectly and allowed us to further understand their work. I found two particular parts of the interview very interesting; one being Georgie saying that during a piece about youth suicide, they read out a letter from a mother who they had interviewed about the death of her son, and how Georgie could never hold it together during it as it was so emotional that she broke character every time – which I think her answering like this shows the raw humane aspect of drama and how sometimes subjects like suicide are so hard to be performed, but need to be done. Another part of the interview was Georgie talking about her favourite techniques, in which one was where the actors/actresses come out of their character and deliver a monologue about the piece as themselves, breaking the fourth wall.

Overall, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to speak to someone from Paper Birds and learn more about their work to help me within my A-level subject.

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