Friday, December 11, 2020

Year-end Productions 2020

We have reached the end of the year! We ended term 4 with a two week long marathon of Year-end Productions. As with everything this year, we had to rework and adjust to fit in with Covid protocols, but come what may, we were going to end with a banger of a Show for each studio.

 In some cases, this meant a Show at a venue, drastically scaled down to only accommodate the students and parents of one particular studio at a time, similar to how we would do our mid-year Drama Presentations. Even though it was not as grand and elaborate as our usual Year-end Productions, and looked quite different with all the Covid 19 protocols like masks, shields, and social distancing, it certainly was wonderful to do a live performance with a live audience to appreciate the hard work the students did this term. It was also great to be able to hand out certificates and trophies! 

 For our remaining online students, we hosted our first virtual Year-end Productions, which was also very exciting! We worked for several weeks recording our plays, scene by scene and editing it all together. The whole process was so different from what we usually do, but it was lots of fun and the students really enjoyed being in their own movie. At the virtual show, we had a viewing of the movie and presented the students with certificates and trophies! After a long, interesting, and often challenging year, it was wonderful to end it on such a positive and exciting note. Celebrating what we do best: performing with our friends, in which ever shape or form, and having a great time!














Check out our Facebook page for lots more photos!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Welcome to Term 4!

 Welcome to our final term for 2020. I can hardly believe we have only two months left of this most unusual school year! 

Term 4 has, like the rest of 2020, brought new and exiting ways to teach Drama. At our Pretoria and Midrand studios we have adopted a hybrid system for the last push to the end of the year. We are still running Zoom classes, but we are happy to report that we have been able to also start ONSITE classes at some of our studios. It is such a pleasure to be in the same space as our students again, even if it is at a distance! 

 As it is not possible to go back to all our schools, YET, and the independent venues are not always practical for the parents, we are continuing with Zoom classes for anyone who prefers the online platform for now. 

 We have also started working on our year end productions, with onsite and Zoom students. How exciting! We can’t wait to show our families, friends and fans what we can achieve when we put our creative minds to it, in whichever way, shape or form we can!


ONSITE.....


ONLINE....


The choice is yours!





Saturday, September 19, 2020

“SUPPER THEATRE” a roaring success at the Theatre Domicile

We ended off our third term with a Bang! All our Upper Primary students, and a selection of Lower Primary students hosted a re-imagined version of our Parent Presentations. Normally our students do a group Parent Presentation, where they get to show off what they learnt during the term. This term we had to put a bit of the twist on it and it was in the form of a Supper Theatre performance in their own homes.


                                         


All students had to plan and perform a show, which included a 3-course meal, as well as a variety of items performed while the audience enjoy their various courses. They designed posters, tickets, menus, and programmes. They had to create a stage, set with props and costumes. They had to be the MC and the waiter, or enlist their siblings to help. 


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The Upper Primary students had to perform a solo interpretation of a traditional Verbal Dynamics item, Cities, as well as a Monologue, and an improvised advertisement. The Lower Primary Students who chose to do the Supper Theatre, performed a dramatized prose, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen, and a poem from our Term 3 selection. 

We encouraged the students to be creative and put their personal stamp on the event, so some students wrote their own monologues and added items to their performance, changed the “supper” to a “picnic”, and helped prepare the food and used it for their advertisements.

We asked the students to take lots of photos and videos so we could all share in the fun, and from what we received, it was a roaring success all round. The parents clearly enjoyed the performances and the food, and the students loved showing off their work. When asked for feedback after their performance, the one word used to describe their show most often was “amazing”. Time and time again: “It was AMAZING!” 

How wonderful that we could bring enjoyment, fun and excitement to our students’ homes and families. 



 
This year has been so challenging for everyone, but it has pushed us in so many ways to re-invent and re-imagine old favourites, and each time the result was so, well, amazing!  

Let’s keep this momentum and level of enthusiasm going into Term 4, where we are once again going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to make our year end productions live up to our tried, tested and much adored live shows.



Sunday, September 13, 2020

🌟 O'Grady's Gauteng Competition 🌟

 Let's get creative during the month of September! Open to all ages... Contact us on ogradyspeechcomp@gmail.com for more information 🤩






Sunday, September 6, 2020

Teaching is a work of Heart - by Maryka Roux


 Happy Spring everyone! 


It is a new season which means new opportunities to grow, just like the beautiful spring flowers! Spring always reminds me that new beginnings are possible and beautiful.

This was also the case 5 years and 5 months ago when I started teaching at Helen O’Grady Drama Academy Pretoria. I remember my interview with Principal Juliet like it was yesterday. I met her at the very studio where I still teach, and we just connected. The biggest thing I remember is us talking about how important Drama is for Confidence. Immediately I could feel we were on the same page, but I knew I had to await confirmation to know if she thought I would be fit to teach at such a prestige and astounding Academy.

Thankfully, I got a call a few days later and my new season started. I could feel that there was a Spring in my step and Spring flowers in my heart.

 You see, Drama is not just a form of gaining confidence, teaching it is as  well. When you teach you grow in your skillset, your craft and in  knowledge. With Helen O’Grady, that is exactly what happened. The  curriculum is so well thought out, the exercises, scripts and activities are  super great for confidence building and becoming acting-ready and the  Drama Presentations encourage organizing and event planning with the  wonderful showcases at the end of the year that take you into a true  theatre atmosphere.

                           

As a teacher in different studios I have always felt loved and always see the confidence growing not just in myself but also the students. With new gained confidence it is only natural to become better at what you do. So as time progresses teaching becomes a work of art, a skill that is challenged and beautifully articulated every year, every season, and every term – we get the opportunity to teach and learn.

 

Now I can honestly say, I am still learning something new every day, not just because of the amazing Helen O’Grady context and content, but also the amazing staff, teachers, and students who always aspire to grow. That is why teaching is more than just a work of art, but a work of heart ♥️. Loving what you do and loving people, makes life much more lovable ❣️

My hope and true passion in life is to help everyone find their purpose, the one thing that makes them do their work with heart. I have found my calling and that is to teach. I hope to inspire and motivate others through my company ButtonUp to find the work of heart that they can do and love for the rest of their life!

You know what they say, if you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life. Thank you Helen O’Grady for not only providing me with a platform to do what I love but also to love and be loved.

      ButtonUp is a Motivational Company specializing in Motivational Talks, Workshops, Courses to find your purpose and Individual Confidence Classes for all ages and all walks of life.



The title of this blog was inspired by a present given to me by an Alumni student - it read: 

Teaching is a work of heart.

                                                            


                                

Written by Maryka Roux









Thursday, July 30, 2020

Me, myself and I

The new term has started, and we are off to a running start.

As with everything we have been doing since the dreaded pandemic struck the globe, we have had to put a new twist on what we are teaching this term. For the most part we are still working online, and, in some cases, we have a bit of a hybrid system going.

The third term is usually when we start working on our year-end productions and planning on which plays we will be doing with our respective groups. This is by far one of the most exciting times in our calendar for teachers and students alike. But, for obvious reasons we had to relook our strategy.

The Helen O’Grady way is really based on a lot of teamwork and teaching the students how to be a part of a whole, having your moment in the limelight and giving your friends their chance to shine as well. Encouraging and helping each other to achieve a common goal. Many of our classroom activities, and especially our year-end productions are built around this. All of these are such amazingly valuable life skills for students to learn. As far as the productions are concerned, we will have to put this on ice and change things up a bit.

So, for example, this term we are challenging our Upper Primary students to focus more on individual performance skills using Monologues and adapting our Verbal Dynamics group activity to a one-person performance. It is actually very exciting to be able to give the students an opportunity to work on a different skill set focussing more intensively on the self with characterisation, speaking directly to the audience and communicating inner feelings. Making good eye contact (or speaking directly into the camera), and working on modulation techniques, like Pace, Pitch and Pause. And, how to use costumes and props to help with characterisation.

This will really push individual creativity and self-confidence. Especially for those who usually feel quite safe in the group activities and shy away from the individual challenges.

We are looking forward to what this term and this strange new world will bring! If there is one thing we have learnt this year is that our students are brilliant at adapting and doing whatever we throw at them.



Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Rah-Rah file by Charlotte Tervit (Vice Principal HOG Drama Academy Pretoria (Pty) Ltd)

Many moons ago when I worked as a PA in the corporate world, my boss, the MD of an insurance company, used to keep a Rah-Rah file. Simply put, it was a brag file, a thing of pride, stuffed full of articles and information about our company’s achievements and accomplishments. Every now and again, he would take out the file, dust it off and page through it with pride.

This week’s post is dedicated to all the amazing Helen O’Grady drama teachers. As we come to the end of a truly unexpected, interesting, challenging and surprisingly fun term, I think we should all file this term and our mind-blowing achievements in our collective Rah-Rah file. In future, when we have a rough week, or just feel nostalgic, we can take it out, dust it off, page through it, and look around the room and say “Wow, we really did this! Well done me and well done all my amazing colleagues.”

There have been very few times in my life that I’ve been prouder to be part of an organisation as I am to be part of Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. And to be part of the greater fraternity of teachers everywhere, who worked so hard to bring education into the homes of our children during these unprecedented times, whilst navigating their own personal lockdown journey with their families at home.

So hats off to all you phenomenal ladies and gentlemen! Rah-Rah!

- Charlotte Tervit

Student Feedback:

The Grade 1-3 Reddam students Charlotte teaches on Zoom were asked to send feedback to her...here are some of their comments:

"I love everyone thing in drama but my truly favourite thing is you!"

"I really really really like the cruise ship one and I also like the one where we got to dress up as a bird it was really really fun, I love drama!" - HN

"I like drama a lot. I like doing the guessing game we played today. I also enjoy intro activities and the Octopus activity it was fun. Thank you Teacher 👌😘"- PT

"Thanks Charlotte that was fun 😂"- TB

"I really liked the drama exercise today teacher Charlotte because my mom and I acted it out" - HN

Parent Feedback:

"Ahhh thanks ... and thank you to you guys as well for making it such a fun lesson"  

"Thank you very much. My daughter is really enjoying every minute of class. The birdie mask, blanket, the matching colours... everything, she did on her own  Thank you for being an awesome teacher too!"

"Thank you Juliet! Super fun for A!" - NB

"Class was awesome, Juliet!" - JP

"Thank you, the session was brilliant!" - SZ