Q+A with Ruth from Raglan Theatre Academy

This week we caught up with Ruth Hare, from Raglan Theatre Academy, to hear about how she has been keeping the academy going throughout the lockdown.

At what point did you start online sessions for your Drama Academy students? 

Straightaway. Everything was pointing that way, on the Sunday I sent a message saying we are moving online the following week, and then the next day the lockdown was announced.  I actually didn’t think anything other than that’s what I’m going to do, although I’d never taught drama online before.  All I could think of was that in times like this, connection and laughter was what we needed, as well as keeping some sense of consistency for my students during this time.

What did you need to do to prepare for this? What were your challenges?

I needed to prep the technology side, which ended up pretty user friendly.  I did a trial run of a class with a couple of friends to test drive the tech and some of the activities.  Once I could get an idea of what works online you kinda just can go with it, some activities and theatre games can be directly adapted for the online classes.  I’ve enjoyed the process and am always learning.

How has the experience been? What was the outcome? Any unexpected benefits?

From the moment class starts, and seeing everyone’s faces online it’s easy to forget the current situation.

With the online classroom, students can still work on creating scenes in groups with online options such as ‘break out’ rooms.  We have found we have a new performance space, and it’s been fun to work within the parameters of the screen and our individual ‘screen boxes’ to develop work from, with and together.  Our ‘stage’ may be different, but we are embracing this new medium with a positive outlook.

How are you finding lockdown on a personal level?

Like the ebbs and flows of life. What helps me is maintaining a sense of routine, like an online yoga class, and a daily walk in nature. I feel blessed to live where we do and have access to nature so readily at our doorstep.  Watching comedy really helps, and limiting social media! Although I may not win everyday, there is no other option except to trust that everything is as it’s meant to be, as strange as it may seem at the time.  It’s also made me aware that we need to be gentle when we come face to face with ourselves through this process – be very gentle, and also to be kind to one another.  We can’t ever forget our humanity in this process, now more than ever we need each other.