Both the College and the Prep School have exceptional facilities for drama, and we encourage pupils to take part on stage and to try their hand at directing, script writing, stage management, lighting and sound design, and costume and stage design.
In all capacities, the children have fun, gain confidence and develop creativity, problem-solving and other skills while also learning the value of team-work.
At the Senior School, there are two rehearsal spaces and a large, flexible theatre staffed by two technicians. We put on two major school productions – a play or musical – each year. In the Autumn Term, it’s cast mainly from Years 11 – 13; in the Summer Term, from Years 9 – 10.
Recently, senior productions have included “The Cherry Orchard”, “Jeckyll and Hyde”, ” ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’, ‘Hamlet’, and ‘Guys and Dolls’. For the past five summers, we’ve developed a festival approach and put on a number of shorter plays such as ‘1984’, ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘Blackadder’. This format gives more students the opportunity to showcase their acting talents, and allows sixth formers to direct one or more of the productions.
Our thriving LAMDA provision sees students taking acting examinations as well as public speaking options, while our growing profile at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has earned a reputation for adding a twist to classic texts. Each year, we prepare pupils for National Youth Theatre (NYT) and drama school auditions. Three students have succeeded with NYT recently and we currently have one student completing a three year degree course at Guildford School of Acting. Another pupil has just been accepted on the Oxford Stage School Acting Foundation course. Some students decide to be drama teachers or directors too, and one ex-student is currently working as a drama specialist with the deaf.
We attend and host a great variety of workshops and regularly go to professional productions. In recent times, these have included ‘The Tempest’ at the RSC in Stratford upon Avon, ‘Macbeth’ at The Globe, ‘Woyzeck’ at the Old Vic, and some exciting new writing at the Royal Court. We also attended Gecko’s ‘The Wedding’ at the New Wolsey in Ipswich.
Drama at the Prep school is alive and buzzing. It is taught as a discreet lesson from Year 4 upwards but all Year groups will be involved with a production to parents at some stage in the year.
Our Nursery pupils perform a traditional Nativity story at the end of the Christmas term, shortly before our Pre Prep children do their own version of the story, usually seen through the eyes of a lesser known character. The Grumpy Sheep, A Midwife Crisis and the Inn Keeper’s Breakfast to name but a few!
Junior Prep all come together for the Junior Production in March and perform a bright colourful show that includes them all, often over 90 children on the stage at any one time. During the last few of years parents have enjoyed The Rain Maker, Olivia and Peter Pan. The musicals also often feature older pupils brought together to create the Show Band!
Pupils in Year 7 and 8 audition for the centrepiece of the year that is the Senior Production. They are treated with the opportunity of performing in the Senior School Theatre and have produced some show stopping performances. Above you will see photographs of the Lion King, Bugsy Malone and the Vackees. Like the Junior Production the senior musicals are accompanied by a pupil Show Band, but also the technical aspects of the shows, such as the lighting, sound and stage management are undertaken by pupils. Thus offering the opportunity for all students to be involved, even if they shy away from the limelight of performing.
Alongside these productions, we also have visiting LAMDA teachers that have guided many pupils through to fabulous achievements in this nationally recognised scheme.