Dracula Day in Bradford

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Year 9 students skipped a day of school to explore vampiric horror and some of their own city's best bits.

On a freezing cold December day, Year 9 students stamped their feet and blew on their hands for warmth, feeling as cold as the undead themselves. Thankfully, our day was to start off in the Pictureville cinema a the National Media Museum where we were to be treated to a special showing of 'Dracula' just for us, followed by an exciting array of events. 

Sat down and settled, Media Museum staff gave us a great intro to the 1958 film version of 'Dracula', starring the quintessential Hammer Horror pair of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. We were warned how the film was, at the time, greeted with some disgust by an audience unused to such gore. and given an X rating to warn cinemagoers that this movie was one of the most shocking, most violent and most bloody films ever made to date. Now, it can be seen by people of 12 or above, a far cry from 1950s adults only audiences. 

The film began. Within moments, we saw why the 1950s' film classification board had rated it so highly as blood dripped luridly down Count Dracula's face... but the deep, rich red and other special effects so far away from today's standards meant that we laughed rather than be repulsed at the gore. 

After a brief lunch, students moved into groups and undertook a variety of activities. 

Some went on a walking tour of Little Germany, focusing on Bradford's amazing and unparalleled architecture. 

Others  visited City Hall's debating chamber, sitting where our city's leaders decide on many aspects of our lives. They wrote passionate, persuasive speeches on a whole host of topics which they felt would make Bradford a better place to live, work and play. 

At The Impressions Gallery, students investigated the gothic horror genre from a different angle, analysing Chloe Dewe Matthews' 'In Search of Frankenstein' in which the artist photographed the glacier and snowy peaks around Lake Geneva which inspired Mary Shelley to write her gothic masterpiece. 

Other students walked up to The Theatre in the Mill at Bradford University to work on a real stage, utilising the excellent lighting rigs and treading professional boards. 

 After an excellent day developing writing and drama skills, and exploring Bradford, we were shattered but delighted, apparently some had to sleep with their lights on that night!