Drama students have been incredibly busy and productive during Lent term at School, with not only their outstanding performance of A Monster Calls, but with workshops, trips and of course exams towards the latter half of the term.
Year 10 and 11’s Performance of A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls was performed to a sell-out audience, received with standing ovations and tear-stained faces. This exceptionally well performed play told the story of a young boy faced with the imminent death of his mother, exploring the depth and breadth of emotions that brings to him and his family. Students portrayed every single emotion with expertise and elegance and used the stage carefully with minimalist props and subtle scene suggestion through movement, never failing to convey the exact feelings of the moment being shared and the part of the story being told. We hope you had the chance to see the performance for yourselves, but if you didn’t you can read our review here and see our trailer below.
There have many chances throughout the term for students to participate in enrichment opportunities; following the performance of A Monster Calls, 29 students from our Junior Drama Enrichment Programme took part in an after-School workshop based around the production. Providing the students with the opportunity to work and perform in the theatre encourages confidence and belief and was certainly well-received by those who attended. Students from Years 8 to 9 work together using the time to help overcome nervousness or any feelings of awkwardness, learning from one another as well as from Miss Mayes who led the workshop.
Drama scholars and those taking part in enrichment from Years 10 to 12 also joined Mrs Lockwood, Head of LAMDA and voice expert, for our second Vocal Masterclass. Helping students learn a number of skills including breathing techniques that enable voice control and delivery. As part of enrichment students were also treated to a screening of the critically acclaimed Prima Facie which took place in our Seckford Theatre.
Watching Live Theatre
Year 12 drama students had the opportunity to travel and watch Gecko theatre company perform Kin at the Norwich Theatre Royal towards the end of term. The performance complimented a workshop held earlier the year by Associate Director, Helen Baggett, where techniques were taught and learned, providing an opportunity for students to consider movement and its impact on performance, how very little needs to be spoken on stage to convey emotion. Workshops provide students with what they describe as a toolkit in terms of delivering and understanding performance, and certainly benefit them in all aspects of their learning, development, and delivery.
Year 12 and 13 students also travelled to London and had the opportunity to watch Othello, performed by Frantic Assembly at the Lyric Theatre. One of our students reflected that the performance was jam-packed with delectable movement and tense interactions, and this was certainly felt by the entire audience as they stood to celebrate and applaud the performance at the end.
Exposing students to live theatre productions encourages continued development of creativity, thought processes and self-expression, supporting learning and above all inspiring them!
Year 11, 12 and 13 Practical Exams
Everything students learn in School counts towards providing the knowledge, techniques, understanding, and skills needed in their examinations, and this term we saw Year 11 and 13 taking their scripted exams while Year 12 took their devised exams. Teachers were impressed with not only their performances but with their approach to the entire process; each student giving their all and clearly having worked incredibly hard. We also welcomed back a GCSE examiner in School for the first time since Covid struck, and this gave the students that extra encouragement to perform at their absolute best, as did our attending audience during each performance – a huge thank you to parents and our team of teachers and support staff in School for making that effort which has a huge impact on the way our students feel about performing.
And so, we look ahead to Trinity term, with Shakespeare on The Lawn featuring As You Like It in our sights, trips, workshops, enrichment, and yet more exams on the horizon. It promises to be a lively, exciting, and entertaining summer term and we look forward to sharing more from our students and teachers over the coming weeks in our various reports from School.