LiFTS in Southend

By Ashleigh Poole.

Last week, our own Dr Liam Jarvis visited Shoeburyness High School, working with their fantastic musical theatre students and conducting a workshop. The stage was filled with smiles as they took part in practical exercises used in the rehearsal sessions for the record-breaking West End show, War Horse.


Songs from the 1910s rang through the auditorium while the students examined First World War photography laid across the stage. After engaging with the stimuli, they were encouraged individually to recreate two of the photographs. Every one of them instantly became a character with stage presence and visible emotion. Some had chosen to use the same stances, but the variety of interpretations made them appear entirely different. The class were then asked to combine their two chosen stances using one swift movement, to teach it all to a partner and then to perform their merged sequences as a pair. Each pair finished the session with their own impressive sequence of postures and movements created using the War Horse stimuli, presented as an emotive and unique collaborative piece – a perfect representation of the devising techniques Liam and the students had discussed at the beginning of their workshop.

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A huge thanks goes to Shoeburyness High School’s Performing Arts Centre for welcoming LiFTS to their theatre facilities, and to their talented group of A-Level students who we hope will visit us very soon for more engagement with aspects of theatre.


Photos credit: Ashleigh Poole