Teaching Students About Ashley Jensen

As an educator, one important aspect of teaching media literacy and drama courses is introducing students to accomplished acting talents. Ashley Jensen is a prime example of such talent, and her body of work provides ample opportunity to discuss themes in storytelling as well as the intricacies of on-screen and stage craft.

Ashley Jensen was born on August 11, 1969, in Annan, Scotland. She began her acting career in the early 1990s with mainly theatre roles before her breakthrough into television. Jensen’s first significant television role came in 2005 when she was cast as Maggie Jacobs in Ricky Gervais’ BBC comedy series “Extras.” Her heartfelt portrayal of a lovable yet slightly clueless actress earned her widespread acclaim.

One way to introduce your students to the world of Ashley Jensen is by teaching them about her career highlights. They can begin by watching episodes of “Extras” and discussing the various themes present within the show, such as fame, friendship, and the entertainment industry’s cutthroat nature. Moreover, this can lead into analyzing Maggie’s character growth throughout the series.

Jensen’s next major role was as Christina McKinney in ABC’s popular TV show “Ugly Betty,” which ran from 2006 to 2010. Christina was a Scottish seamstress who became friends with Betty Suarez (America Ferrera), and their relationship forms an important aspect of the show. Analyzing this character transition from British comedy to American dramedy provides students with an opportunity to explore different narrative styles and techniques.

In addition, using examples from both “Extras” and “Ugly Betty,” educators can highlight how accents and dialects are critical tools for an actor when creating distinct characters. Students can even be encouraged to research contextual information about Scottish culture and language to deepen their understanding of Jensen’s performances.

Educators may also draw attention to Jensen’s voice acting work, including her portrayal of Nanette the frog in the 2011 animated film “Gnomeo & Juliet” or her role as Bryony Shelfley, an efficiency-obsessed elf in “Arthur Christmas.” Using these voice acting roles as case studies, students can delve into the world of voice acting and discuss how it differs from live-action performances.

Lastly, exploring Ashley Jensen’s stage career is an excellent way for students to understand the multidimensional, interconnected worlds of theatre and film. They can study her performances in plays such as “The Complete Short Stories of Anton Chekhov” at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London or her time with the National Theatre of Scotland in various productions. This exercise encourages students to evaluate how these different media formats approach storytelling and character development.

In conclusion, teaching students about Ashley Jensen not only allows them to appreciate her incredible talent but also serves as a comprehensive study into different aspects of the performing arts. By exploring her career highlights and analyzing her diverse roles across television, film, and stage, students will inevitably develop a more profound understanding of various mediums within the entertainment industry.

Choose your Reaction!