News and blog

Drama in the Senior School and Sixth Form

Drama in the Senior School and Sixth Form

The Autumn Term kicked off with the Upper Sixth exam piece, ‘Land Girls’, expertly devised and performed by Lizzie H., Issy H. and Sophie S., which delighted a small, socially distanced audience of peers and teachers.

Land Girls

Having had to postpone the performance owing to lockdown last year, the girls were keen to ‘get the show on the road’ on their return to school, and worked incredibly hard to adapt and restage the piece to avoid any physical contact and shared props, whilst maintaining social distance throughout the performance in line with exam board and government guidance. So expert was their acting that this was not evident nor did this restriction in any way diminish the production.

This exceptional play, written by the students, was based on historical research that they carried out on the experience of Land Girls during World War II. It was a moving tale of three young women from vastly different backgrounds and circumstances (a farm, a city and high society), who learn to work together in order to support the war effort, forming lifetime friendships.

The messages of community spirit and camaraderie in the face of fear and adversity were a salient tale for current times. The engaging dialogue between the beautifully contrasting characters of Dotty, Betty and Flo, was highly amusing and cleverly interspliced with poignant monologues that moved some audience members to tears. The production was complemented by a stunning set, designed by the students but constructed by our talented theatre technician, Joe Nicholson.

View the Land Girls Gallery

Christmas Cracker Show

The highly amusing and joyful ‘Christmas Cracker Show’ was put together by Year 7s and was recorded and shown to the whole year group to celebrate the end of term. Full of amusing sketches, dances and poetry, it made evident that Covid-19 wasn’t going to stop us from celebrating the wonder of Christmas and the gifts it brings.

Rehearsals for BookcaseBookcase

Throughout the year, a group of Year 10 students have been working on a radio play, Bookcase, which will be released at the end of the Summer Term. Students have had enormous fun learning finding the voices and accents for a range of characters who come alive from books, Eleanor (the protagonist), reads. Students have been discovering the technical side of theatre in a custom-built recording studio and learning how radio plays are recorded and have been experimental in creating both the musical soundtrack and the sound effects to bring the scenes alive in the audience’s mind.

Musical Monologue Mashup

‘The Musical Monologue Mashup’ has presented students with an opportunity to sing their favourite number from a musical or perform a monologue from an inspiring play. The line-up looks really exciting and we can’t wait to release this!

A big shout out to our Year 11 and 13 students who did not once moan about Drama being online or the difficulties that restrictions have had on their pieces. Reading the portfolios which documented their journeys and the impact that Covid-19 had on them was humbling and made us so proud.

We are extremely impressed by our Year 10 and Year 12 students, who have both had their devised projects interrupted by online learning. They have overcome difficulties and have leapt into the work on their return to the studio with great enthusiasm. It’s been a joyful experience to see them physicalising the work that had been imaged and scripted at home.

And a huge thanks to the whole Drama team, Mr Abery, Ms Weber, Mr Lockwood and our incredible technician Mr Nicholson (Joe) for thinking outside the box this year and being their brilliant creative selves! 

Collaboration, perseverance, hard work and a lot of creativity has been needed this year and luckily, St Mary’s girls have these in spades! 

We have still found a way to create exciting Drama in year group bubbles, have learnt to harness technology, and acting a metre away from each other has actually forced us to be more creative in the classroom resulting in some abstract and stylistic scenes which have been dynamic and engaging to watch.

This year has taught us that the creative arts are crucially important to our mental health and wellbeing.

Enjoying the shared experience of going to the theatre, seeing a live band or visiting an art gallery invigorate us, help us to interpret life and make us feel alive and proud to be human. We have been able to dive into some amazing TV dramas or lose ourselves in a film during lockdown, but I, for one, cannot wait to go to the theatre. The excitement, the buzz, the beating hearts of the actors, the pulsing creativity – the tangible aliveness of it all! A mindful escape, a moment of connection – an understanding of what it means to be human. Live theatre is here to stay, it’s going to come back with a vengeance and will be valued more than ever!

Ms Roberts

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