Moving Stories - Workshops and Performance

Page to Stage Techniques

After researching an historical event or period of time through the exploration of photos, film footage, oral histories, newspaper articles, leaflets, posters, objects and costumes, how can we bring it to life and transform the information into a dynamic piece of theatre?


There are a few simple techniques you could try:

  • Select some newspaper headlines about the event and bring it to life as a news reporter or journalist. Imagine you are writing the story and interview key witnesses. This improvisation will allow for ideas to be tried and tested and help create a scene where many characters can be explored.

  • Try selecting a photo of the event and recreate the image with your bodies. Bring it to life by giving each character a spoken thought or add movement to see what the characters do next.

Once you have explored some of the characters involved in the historical event, whether the General Strike, an accident or taking a journey on the Flying Scotsman, you need to create a narrative.

  • When you have all your research together consider what the story is that you want to tell. For example, students from Joseph Rowntree School were investigating the 1930s luxury train services and decided to tell the story of a family going on holiday to the north, travelling on the Flying Scotsman for the first time.

  • You could create a narrator to help tell your story. For example, students from Kingswood College of Arts decided to use the memoirs of a butcher’s lad to re-tell the events in Hull during the 1926 strike, whilst students from Manor CE School decided to use a reporter to re-tell the story of the strike using newspaper headlines from 1926.

  • It is also important that you define the place and time that you are performing in. You could do this through period costume, playing contemporary music or take the audience on a journey back in time through flashbacks.  

Have a look at the next page to see how the four schools brought their research to life in performance.

Document icon Learning article provided by: National Railway Museum | 
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