Vanguard's work in schools involves workshops both in Primary  and Secondary schools


1. Home Front Experience

These workshops have been devised and performed at the D-day museum in Portsmouth and have also been taken out to schools.

As part of the workshop the children will have the opportunity for role-play and the handling of real artefacts from the second world war such as gas masks, incendiary bombs, A.R.P equipment, stirrup pumps and ration books.

They will experience what it was like in a wartime classroom, be evacuated, live through an air raid, put out imaginary fires with a stirrup pump, experience rationing and listen to wartime broadcasts. This journey will be facilitated by actors who will take on various personalities of wartime radio.  The children themselves will act out the roles of Air Raid wardens, fire wardens and evacuees as well as dancing "The Lambeth Walk".   

ARP warden
A.R.P Wardens

Incendiary bomb 

 Putting out an incendiary bomb

Evacuee with case  Evacuee with case



The session is led by an actress performing as a wartime schoolmistress who calls for a volunteer evacuee. She indicates an ID card: "It must be carried with you at all times, now try this balaclava for size which mum has knitted you"  A gas mask is given along with the case and "not forgetting teddy of course" "I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the model evacuee"

The children have the chance to handle many items and are plied with nuggets of wartime information. School registration was taken wearing gas masks for example; and during the first two months of the war, more people were killed in the blackout than in combat.

There is role play too. Step forward one ARP warden to be presented with a hard hat. "Put that light out!" she barks.That's the audition for such an important job passed! Then a chief fire officer is put through her paces with a stirrup pump; water carriers to fill canvas buckets; fire watchers; and spotters to scour the skies Others assume the role of factory workers; cue a rousing chorus of "Run Rabbit" to boost morale only to be interrupted by the air raid siren."Raiders" cry the spotters, and a forest of hairs bristle on 36 necks as we prepare to evacuate. Then it's safe again and "All clear!" is shouted and the daily routine resumes.

Then it's time to shop and with ration books at the ready the shopkeeper goes about her task of explaining to the shoppers about wartime food.An instant family is created although "Mum" has only sufficient coupons for one egg. Time to explore alternative delights such as powdered egg, or how to sweeten a cake using parsnips or carrots.

A teacher summed up the whole experience by saying that it brings the whole topic to life and the chidren have the unique opportunity to handle the artefacts and have a chance to role play with the actors. "When we get back to school we shall have a try at cooking and "Make do and Mend"

   ARP warden

Weekly rations 

Weekly rations

Grow your own vegetables  Grow

Grow your own vegetables


2. Drama Workshops

These workshops are designed to stimulate the children's imagination, develop confidence, communication,and realise their talent.

These workshops have been used in the summer playschemes for the Gosport Borough Council. 

Making a play: Taking a well-known story (e.g Cinderella, Red Riding Hood) and putting it in a modern setting. Children use their own creativity to tell this story without having to learn scripts. At some point in the story singing and dancing is introduced with backing tapes.This can be done by having the "Cindy" story set in a disco.

Shakespeare; Putting the story in a modern-day setting to enable the children to understand the story without having the language difficulty.  When the story is understood, scenes are introduced using Shakespeare's narrative with the idea of "unlocking" the language.


Gran in box

Wolves on phone

Little Rosie Hood poster Cindy poster
  • Top left: Granny put in box
  • Middle left: The wolves contact each other by mobile phone
  • Bottom left: 2 wolves
  • Bottom right: Singers at the disco
Kids dancing


GCSE and A Level

These workshops augment the valuable work of drama teachers and act as a catalyst for further creative work.

They give additional insight into an actor's approach to the text, exploring and building a character and the study of the themes of a play.


Stanislavski: His approaches to a role and how Lee Strasburg adopted his principles to formulate "method acting".

Brecht: His Epic theatre and the value of story telling and street theatre.  The "Verfremdung" effect and its application to text.  The use of "gestus".

Berkoff: The vigorous and dynamic approach to theatre.  The use of mime and grotesque gestures to enhance the text in a non-naturalistic way.  Using his adaptation of Kafka's METAMORPHORSIS to illustrate his principles.

Practical Skills

Stage Fighting: The art of stage fighting and the "choreographing" of a typical fight sequence. The importance of building confidence with your "partner" to create the illusion of fighting. The importance of safety.

Making a Play: Designed to use the student's own imagination to create a play. By putting their play into different genre will stretch the student's own creative ability. 

Television Acting: Coaching in the art of acting for the camera.  Understanding the terminology used in a television or film studio.  The difficulty of acting parts of a scene out of sequence.

Stage fighting

 Two girls from Swanmore
   school "slug" it out

Special Projects

Approaches to the sub-text: Showing that the text provides only the base to the character's emotions. What is said isn't necessarily what is meant. De-constructing text-based work to find the emotional "pulse" of a character.

Symbolism: The use of costume, lighting, set design and music to represent the author's intention. The difficulty that an actor may face when performing in a play which has strong symbolic undertones.

Methods of Directing: The role of the director. The influence a director may have in the interpretation of a play. Methods of "actioning" to play the intention of a scene.

Restoration Theatre: The demands placed on an actor. How the fashion and dress of the society dictate how an actor plays the part. Scenes are taken from Wycherley's "The Country Wife" to illustrate these points. 

Text Work

The following texts are offered to students and will be taken by actors that have worked professionally on the plays listed. It will give an insight into the approach to the play that was taken in the staging of it.

As Vanguard has access to many actors within the Equity membership, if there is a play that has not been listed, every effort will be made to find an actor that has performed in it. 

  • The Royal Hunt of the Sun
  • The Glass Managerie
  • A Taste of Honey
  • The Entertainer
  • The Cherry Orchard
  • A Streetcar named Desire
  • Any Shakespeare play


"A very enjoyable and productive afternoon" Holmbury St Mary, Dorking

"Thank you for a lively & informative workshop with the teachers from Hampshire Secondary schools" Gaynor Davies (Hampshire Teacher Advisor for Drama)

"What a successful workshop. A warm atmosphere was created by the leader." Barton Peverel College

"A professional insight into bringing the text to life. An excellent workshop." Park College, Eastbourne

"I felt that the approach used to build the confidence of the group through solid technical skills suited the experience and ability of the students admirably" D.Emett (Area Moderator Drama. G.C.S.E. Hants)