We’ve particularly worked in the areas of artform/theatre development, applied theatre practice (community and theatre for specific purposes) and post-graduate teacher training. We regularly work on different practical applied theatre projects with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Rose Bruford College, the University of East London and Queen Mary University of London.
We were involved in a research project, Challenging Place (2011-2014), led by Professor Sally Mackey from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London and Professor Mike Pearson and Margaret Ames from Aberystwyth University. The project culminated in a Symposium event in October 2014. Check out a response to that event here. Professor Mackey has since been awarded the TaPRA David Bradby prize for Research in International Theatre and Performance.
Half Moon was one of three partners alongside Oldham Theatre Workshop and Cyrff Ystwyth Dance Company, Aberystwyth.
The research, challenging concepts of ‘liquid’ place through performance practices in community contexts, used a range of drama and performance activities with each organisation to explore participatory practices with young people and local communities.
Findings and practices have been collated into a ‘facilitation’ website for other community arts organisations to use: www.performingplaces.org
As part of this research, in the Summer of 2012, our Lunar Youth Theatre took part in an exciting performance project which explored the abstract concept of ‘place’ through drama and performance activities culminating in a final performance.Learn more
Half Moon has developed a strong on-going relationship with Rose Bruford College through their specialist under- and post-graduate Theatre for Young Audiences courses, as well as the undergraduate Technical and Actor/Actor Musician courses. As well as providing opportunities for students to work alongside us on projects for schools and community groups, Careers in Theatre being one example (a project where technical students have been on placement annually since 2000).
Recently, this relationship has developed, with Half Moon staff providing master classes and mentorship opportunties with a focus upon the college’s MA Theatre for Young Audiences and MA Actor-Musicianship courses. In the Autumn of 2019, this includes an exciting three-day festival of new work for young people created by these students about to graduate from these courses. The festival – New Voices – presents work that reflects their interests and the ambition to engage audiences from a range of ages and backgrounds, in ways that celebrate the unique and powerful ways in which live theatre can bring people together. The festival features an impressive selection of theatre styles and genres – including puppetry, comedy, live music and dance – for young audiences aged 2-16.
Previously, between 2011 and 2015, we provided a final year performance project where students from across all courses mirrored the development and presentation of a new piece of theatre aimed at young audiences. These plays were presented as multi-performance runs for our local schools, family and community groups at Half Moon. By working in a professional theatre environment working with and being mentored by Half Moon’s team, this programme offered students a real taste of working within the profession weeks before they exit training and begin their careers. In recent years this has included Scrub a Dub, Dig and Delve and Up, Up and Away.
In 2014, we developed Colour as part of this on-going project
Half Moon works with the University of East London on a number of projects supporting the delivery of under- and post-graduate courses. This has included: presenting the final performances of M.A. Applied Theatre; working with level 5 undergraduate Theatre Practice students on their community based research unit, Public Places; commissioning Level 5 undergraduate Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance students on their Cultural Entrepreneurship unit; and providing work experience opportunities for students.
We have worked alongside staff at the University to deliver the under-graduate module, Theatre for Young Audiences. Taught over 16 weeks, this provides an opportunity for students to develop a collaborative devising methodology that will lead to the creation and performance of a new piece of theatre for children. The students engage in researching the theory and practice of current children’s theatre-makers, have an opportunity to see the work of Half Moon and participate in masterclasses, in order to develop an understanding of theatre for children. Students are encouraged to contextualise and reflect on their own theatre-making methodology within the context of current practices of making theatre for children. The final pieces are performed to a schools audience.
Since 2011, 27 new pieces of theatre have been developed as part of this programme.
Over the last few years we have been working with Royal Holloway (University of London) as part of our research into the history of Half Moon Theatre. The Royal Holloway Archives hold the majority of the Half Moon Theatre archive and we are working towards donating the rest of our archive in the future.
You can find out about the history of Half Moon Theatre by searching our online archive website, Stages of Half Moon. The website’s creation would not have been possible without our partnership with Royal Holloway. Our Stages of Half Moon exhibition also toured to the Royal Holloway Drama department.