Year Devised Performances

Year 10 GCSE Drama students showed off their acting and costume design skills in their devised performances. These, together with written coursework, make up 40% of their total GCSE so the stakes were high but the students rose admirably to the challenge! Topics covered were varied and included a comic murder mystery influenced by Hercule Poirot and Film Noir, the French Revolution as it’s never been seen before, the stages of a toxic relationship (which arose from a cartoon of Kermit the Frog finding out he was actually a puppet – look it up!) and the life of Syliva Pankhurst. The students entertained family and friends with their creative and entertaining performances. We look forward to them taking on scripted extracts next year.

Magical Matilda Makes It – At last!

It was a long time coming but the junior production of ‘Matilda’ at St Laurence School marked a joyous step in the journey back to normality. The 40 strong cast and crew – predominantly Year 7 & 8 – wowed their audiences at both the matinee (performed to local primary schools Winsley and Walwayne) and in the evening to a packed Wiltshire Music Centre. Backstage the hairs on the back of our necks stood up every time the audience reacted with laughs and applause and the standing ovation at the end left us in no doubt that a great job had been done by all. The students were fantastic – both onstage and off – with some wonderful characterisation and impressive ensemble work. The crew was also made up of students from Years 8 – 10, in charge of the lighting, projections and stage management.

As Headmaster Tim Farrer remarked at the end ‘the Arts are back at St Laurence!’

Year 10/11 Go To The Theatre!

GCSE Drama students in Year 10 and 11 enjoyed a night at the Bath Theatre Royal to watch the set text ‘Blood Brothers’ by Willy Russell. Now in it’s 41st year, the musical is always a crowd pleaser and the students were impressed by the set, acting and singing. Comments in theatre reviews written after the event included

‘I was gripped by the characterisation, particularly of Eddie and Mickey’

‘The way that narration and songs were incorporated was very impressive’

‘It was an amazing opportunity’

‘the set was absolutely beautiful’

The pupils were excellent company throughout the evening and a fine time was had by all – even by Mrs Nash who has now seen the play about 20 times (and STILL jumps when the guns go off!)

What Storm?!

While the UK prepared for Storm Eunice, GCSE and A Level Drama pupils in Years 10 and 12 were safely in the Drama studio, preparing for their final performances of their devising work. Year 10 have been working in collaboration with Company Three on a project entitled ‘When This is Over’. Company Three are an Islington based Youth Theatre company who have created a blueprint for the performance and St Laurence is one of 40 groups around the country who have been involved. The project recently won ‘Community Project of the Year’ at The Stage awards and we are looking forward to having the trophy visit us in the near future. The GCSE students have worked very hard on the piece which saw them share valuable memories as well as their hopes and dreams for the future – ‘When This is all Over’. The soundtrack was made up of their favourite music and the play finished with ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ from the iconic film ‘The Breakfast Club’ and a triumphant salute from the pupils who were justly proud of themselves!

You can read more about the work of Company Three here https://www.companythree.co.uk/

Year 12’s piece was devised in the style of John Godber – who wrote plays such as ‘Bouncers’, ‘Teechers’ and ‘Shakers’. It was called ‘Snoozers’ and set in Wiltshire’s busiest budget hotel. The students played the staff who work at the hotel, along with a variety of guests including groups of stags, hens, businessmen and Russian holidaymakers. As with all Godber plays, the piece was funny but with a more serious underlying message and the students managed the transitions between the light and dark superbly. This performance, along with written coursework, makes up 40% of the final A Level mark and the students should be feeling confident that they did a brilliant job. The audience were suitably impressed – and we hope the examiners will be too!

Bristol & Bunraku

The much anticipated performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was ‘a joy’ according to the facilitator from the Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival. 18 Year 9 performers and 1 budding lighting designer travelled to the Tobacco Factory in Bristol where they spent the day in tech and dress rehearsals before performing to a large and appreciative audience in the evening.

Meanwhile, back at school, Year 8 have been working with ‘Bunraku’ puppetry – you can watch the work and Gyre and Gimble, whose instructions Year 8 followed, here:

Shakespeare Fever!

Excitement is mounting as our Year 9 prepare to perform their ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol as part of the nationwide Shakespeare’s School Festival. Their colourful, retro version is the vision of none other than headteacher Mr Farrer who has been able assisted by Mrs Warren. Break a leg guys!

The fairies have been given a punk makeover for Mr Farrer’s version of the iconic ‘Dream’

Happy New Year!

It’s been straight into rehearsals for ‘Matilda’ this term – due to take place on 23rd March in the Wiltshire Music Centre. The forty strong cast have been put through their paces by Miss Eyles, Miss Hancock, Mrs Nash and Mrs Warren as they have been rehearsing songs, dances and dialogues. Here they are warming up for their first singing rehearsal and posing in the iconic the ‘Matilda Stance’.

Getting ready to sing!
We are Matilda!

Shakespeare Schools Festival

As part of the preparations for the performance of A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM by Year 9 students in February, the cast had the opportunity to spend a day rehearsing the piece so far and sharing the work with a professional actor who then helped them “workshop” one of the scenes from the play to help complete the first full run through of the piece.

The actor, Tom Barker, had travelled from Cardiff to work with the cast and was very impressed with the work the students have done so far. “This piece is going to be great!” He told me.  Tom, who has worked with the Shakespeare Schools Festival for the last 8 years, then worked on the final scene of the play with the cast.

The students felt they made a lot of progress; at the end of the session they said they felt that Tom and the day had helped them move on a long way. One cast member said, “He gave us techniques for us to think about in creating our characters.” And Chloe Ellis, playing the dual role of Oberon and Theseus, said “We can think more about the backstory so we could embody characters better”

The show is coming together with some props and costume starting to add to the magic of the performers’ excellent acting skills. When the show is performed at the Tobacco Factory on February 2nd, it is going to be magical!

Audition Fever!

Excitement is mounting in the Drama/Music/Dance departments as the auditions for MATILDA THE MUSICAL approach. Year 7/8 have been working on their audition pieces at Drama club and there is some serious talent out there! Watch this space for casting details coming soon……

Here’s Mrs Nash with the directors guide – time to write that rehearsal schedule!

A Lovely Problem To Have!

Last week we reached full capacity at our Year 7 & 8 Drama Club so have taken the decision to add a second session each week. This is exciting as we are about to launch auditions for the junior production due to take place in the Spring Term. Year 9 are still busy rehearsing their performance for the Shakespeare Schools Festival so this means we now have over 60 students participating in extra curricular Drama. It’s lovely to see interest and enthusiasm growing for all our clubs and we are so excited for the future!