1 March 2023
Students have been involved in an interesting medley of drama-related activities recently, with Year 10 GCSE drama students presenting their course set text to a live audience (main photo); Lower Sixth and Year 9 drama students seeing a professional performance of The Woman in Black, which Year 9 studied last term; and all of Year 8 taking part in a Twelfth Night workshop (see photos below).
Year 10 drama set text performance – Miss Stacey Williams, Director of Drama
On Thursday 9 February, 35 drama students took to the auditorium stage to present their GCSE course set text, I Love You Mum, Promise I Won’t Die. Written by accomplished verbatim playwright, Mark Wheeller, the play documents the tragic story of Croydon school boy Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, a high achieving and outgoing individual, who lost his life after taking a fatal dose of MDMA at an illegal rave. The play was written after Daniel’s drama teacher approached the playwright with the idea of telling Daniel’s story through the medium of theatre to warn young people of the dangers of taking drugs.
Throughout the rehearsal process, the students thought carefully about the most appropriate means of performing the play to give Daniel’s story the respect it deserves, without losing the impact of the message. Our young actors achieved this with sensitivity and professionalism, open-heartedly telling Daniel’s story through a combination of devices, including direct address, video projection and physical theatre. There was not a dry eye in the house. We are incredibly proud of our Year 10 drama students for their emotional, mature and excellent performance.
The Woman in Black, London – Chris H and Natalie H, Year 9 drama scholars
On Thursday 23 February, students from Year 9 and Lower Sixth went to see The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre in London. It was probably the most incredible play we’ve seen for a while.
We were really excited to see a professional staging of a play Year 9 studied last term, and the actors’ take on it and their choices for body language, speech and emotion. The actors were phenomenal at creating an effective atmosphere. The whole audience jumped and even screamed numerous times during the performance - especially at slamming doors and sudden sightings of Jennet Humphrey (the titular ‘Woman in Black’). To quote one of our friends: ‘My soul jumped out of my body!’
The set and props were minimal, but this only contributed to the atmosphere and captivated the audience, conveying the extraordinary talent of the cast as well as the crew handling lights, sound and props. We would highly recommend the show as it’s unlikely you’ll forget it. A massive thank you to Miss Williams and Mr O’Gorman for organising this trip.
Year 8’s Twelfth Night workshop
On Monday 27 February, Year 8 took part in a workshop of William’s Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with the help of David and Alan from Shakespeare 4 Kidz. Half of the year group took part in a morning workshop and the other half after lunch.
The students are all familiar with the play, having studied it recently in English lessons, and they are soon going to cover it in drama. As David described in his introduction to each group, a workshop was the perfect midway point in this process, with Year 8 taking the play off the page but not yet fully onto the stage.
The shipwreck that happens early on in the play was a good warm up for students, who, en masse, embodied the waves and tempestuous weather. Then, with a few simple props and expert guidance, they volunteered to role play the play’s characters. In no time at all, students became more relaxed and confident in reciting their lines. Perhaps we’ll be seeing some of them in a staging of Twelfth Night at Woldingham before too long…