Details of The Commissioners - Exciting new project from Company of Angels

March 21st, 2012

The Commissioners
New short plays by professional playwrights commissioned by young people

What is it? This is a short, sharp and exciting interaction with clear cross-curricular relevance. Company of Angels, the multi-award-winning theatre company, is taking outstanding professional playwrights into schools throughout 2012, enabling young people to commission them to write a new play. After a very successful pilot of The Commissioners at Notre Dame School, SE1, we are now able to open up this opportunity to other
schools. The project has 3 sessions with the class:

Session One
Each playwright explores this question with the young people - What Matters To You Now? At the end of the session, the young people ‘commission’ the playwright to write a short play (10-15 mins long), drawing on what was discussed.
Session Two
The playwright returns after a few days with a first draft; the young people explore and critique the play, developing literacy and dramaturgical skills, giving feedback which shapes the final script.
Session Three
We rapidly stage the play, with professional actors, and perform to the group and as many other pupils as you want to invite. We hand the script over to the young people who helped make it – they own the ideas; your school can continue to use the script internally as you wish.

We can adapt to any age group, any ‘ability’. The project is inspired by the rise of ‘rapid response’ short plays in professional theatre that offer immediate and vivid theatrical reactions to life as it is right now.

How does it work? The Commissioners is simple, flexible, and aimed at everyone. We will be guided by your school timetable. A playwright works with up to 30 young people. We could bring in several playwrights at once and ‘assign’ each a specific group/class. The play will be simple to stage; we’ll meet staging needs ourselves. We don’t need complicated stage lights or other technical involvement. We don’t even need a stage: we can perform in ANY space around the school.

Why do it? The Commissioners is about creating a snapshot of what concerns young people right now. Whilst engaged in voicing their thoughts and opinions they will also be building these skills:

Literacy - both verbal and written
Social/political - lively, structured debate about issues they are interesting in
Reasoning/analytical - they will work through the text and have to discuss what to change and why
Drama - how new plays come to life and how theatre can be relevant to their world
Team building - the group will shape this play together

Why are we doing it? Because we’re interested to know – and make theatre about – what young people really think and feel. Because we believe British playwrights should be more linked-in to young people. And because we believe – and we’re sure you do too – that young people’s experience of theatre at schools can be about more than set texts and school plays.

What does it cost? We are looking for contributions towards the total costs of £600. This cost can pro rata decrease if we bring several playwrights to work with more than one group of pupils. The rest of the costs will come from our own funding.

What now? Contact Virginia Leaver, the Producer: or 020 7928 2811.

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