Sam Sugarman, Director of the 13s (Year 9s) production of 12 Angry Jurors tells us why taking part in drama builds enduring bonds between pupils as well as teaching them new performance skills.
Thirteen Harrodian 13s (year 9s), picture above, took part in a ‘studio’ performance of the courtroom drama 12 Angry Jurors in front of a packed Auditorium audience in late May. Both shows sold out and were as gripping and dramatic as the classic film version (then called 12 Angry Men) starring Henry Fonda, back in 1957.
When the lights go up every member of the cast is onstage for 50 solid minutes, every second of which they have to be in character
Sam Sugarman, Drama Teacher and Director, 12 Angry Jurors
View a gallery of 12 Angry Jurors performance images by following the link
Told in real time, the play brings together 12 jurors of different genders as they deliberate the conviction or acquittal of a teenager charged with murder on the basis of ‘reasonable doubt’ and the way that disagreement and conflict among the 12 leads each to question their personal morals and values.
With its complex central themes – racism and prejudice – 12 Angry Jurors might seem a demanding play to stage especially for such a young cast but Director, Mr Sam Sugarman, says the baker’s dozen of 13s (12 jurors and a judge) rose to the intensity of the challenge. ‘When the lights go up every member of the cast is onstage for 50 solid minutes, every second of which they have to be in character,’ he says. ‘Inevitably, all of them were pushed out of their comfort zone and I think they learned a huge amount from the experience.’
As well as instilling confidence and team-working skills, rehearsing, working and performing together brings the cast together and builds new bonds and friendships among them.
As well as honing their powers of concentration and their ability to improvise, Mr Sugarman says that taking part in ensemble performances like this, hones vital transferable skills. ‘These thirteen pupils now all know each other much better than they did before rehearsals began,’ he says. ‘As well as instilling confidence and teamworking skills, rehearsing, working and performing together brings the cast together and builds new bonds and friendships among them.’