My Woodhouse Drama & theatre

Rosie Copp
Rosie Copp
Rosie Copp came to Woodhouse from Fortismere School and lives in Muswell Hill. She studied drama and theatre, dance and English literature at A level and graduated in 2018 with A*AB. She is now at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
She spoke to us during her second year of A levels at Woodhouse...
“Introductory afternoon made my mind up about coming to Woodhouse; the whole drama environment was so inviting.
You have to build up your confidence to perform in front of others – and because here everyone is at that stage where they want to perform, everyone’s prepared to work hard and do whatever they need to, to be an actor.
I studied drama at GCSE but there is more work at A level because throughout the year you have to keep track of everything you’ve done as you progress through each rehearsal stage. At secondary school, it was more ‘just get it done’ and trying to keep everyone involved, whereas here everyone wants to be involved– it’s more work but much more enjoyable.
You have to record evidence of every lesson so that in the exam and your coursework you can refer back to it. When you start devising, what you begin with is never what you end up with, and if you don’t have that record, you can’t then go back to… so we have detailed journals that we keep notes in.
A normal class would probably begin in the classroom and we’ll start going over a play that we are studying. Recently we covered the play ‘Woyzeck’. We went through three scenes, making notes on things we would try in terms of how to stage it, set it, light it and act it. We explored the motivation behind the lines and why the playwright chose those lines for the characters. Next, we went into the hall and studied performance techniques based on a practitioner (E.g. Brecht) and we discovered things that we could then use in the future that would inspire us when recreating that scene from ‘Woyzeck’.
It’s very helpful that we have google classroom because it means that whatever we do in lesson, our teacher will have something to post up which anyone in the class can access later to revise the lesson.
Last year we went to see ‘Road’ at the National Theatre, which was very good, and we saw ‘Woyzech in Winter’ at the Barbican. I try to go to other performances outside of class - last summer I saw ‘An American in Paris’ which is all musical theatre, and that was just amazing.
I study drama and dance here, but also at the New London Performing Arts Centre. Every year we do a musical and I have been in most of them as an actor. Last year we performed ‘Grease’ and I played ‘Sandy’ which has been my best role there. And in the years before we performed “Bugsy Malone’ and ‘Matilda’ at the Shaw Theatre.
Drama at Woodhouse is quite similar to my theatre company. When you are with your group and making scenes and building characters, you can get so lost in your character and forget that you are actually someone completely different… I like that you can basically make a person… and then be that person for an hour.
I’m an emotional performer. Last year we had a devised piece that parents and friends came to see. The hall was full of people and when it finished I just cried, I couldn’t believe it had all happened so quickly. In the moment, you are so motivated to portray who you are playing that you forget about everything else and I love that… the adrenaline… I get 100% lost in it.
What has really struck me about Woodhouse is the library. I wasn’t motivated to use the library at my old school, but here the environment is better and quieter. Last year I spent every single free period in the library. I like to get my work done and then I can go home a bit more relaxed.
For an enrichment activity I did mindfulness with the psychology teacher and that was really good because it’s all about centering yourself, calming down and just being you for five minutes. Studies say that teenagers who do mindfulness every day get better results than those who don’t because they are releasing the stress that builds up every day… so that was really worth doing.
During an enrichment week here I had a tour of the National Theatre which was amazing to see backstage. We went to all three theatres and they explained how different they are from each other and how, depending on the type of play, they assign a theatre. They took us to all the workshop areas where there were all these people making massive structures. They had a whole department just for props. On one floor was people who go and actually look for, buy and rent props and another floor was actually making props - you wouldn’t know all that is going on backstage it was incredible. If I don’t end up in performance, I’d still like to be involved in that in some way.
I think Woodhouse is right for almost everybody. You’re not going to be ‘babied’ here but there is so much support from teachers. They are not going to do your work for you, so the level of independence you learn here is so much more than at school, and you are going to need that skill when you move on. Since joining Woodhouse, I work a lot harder because I’m doing subjects that I know I really enjoy, and that makes me want to know more.
I’ve found the decision of what to study next quite difficult because I don’t want to stop drama and I don’t want to stop dance, so I’ve been looking at applying to places that do a mixture of both.”