Hot Off The Press!

We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as one of only 300 school and youth groups across the UK to take part in the National Theatre Connections programme 2023. Mrs Warren and Mrs Nash are busy reading ten specially commissioned plays in preparation for choosing which we will perform – firstly at school then at the SALISBURY PLAYHOUSE in March!! One production of each of the ten plays also gets selected to perform at the NATIONAL THEATRE in London – but one step at a time!! Thank you @NTConnections for selecting us – we can’t wait to start work!

#Connections2023

Brainstorm

The second half of the summer festival was the semi devised play ‘Brainstorm’.  Originally created by the Company Three Youth Theatre, the play consists of a ‘blueprint’ with scripted lines which explain the workings of a teenager’s brain.  The rest of the dialogue is devised by the performers themselves.  The result was a highly entertaining and thought-provoking piece which, due to its relatable and personalised nature, had the audience gripped throughout.  The 30 strong cast made up of students in Years 7-10 expertly controlled the emotions of their audience, making them laugh at the recognisable interactions and conversations that take place between parents and their offspring everywhere, before leaving them in tears with the overriding and highly emotive final message of the piece. The cast also dealt brilliantly with audience interaction – including a revealing game of ‘Never Have I Ever’! The play ends with the cast reading out unseen advice that the audience were asked to provide before the show and these, together with messages that the cast wanted to share with their parents, meant that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the curtain call. It’s safe to say that those watching and all of us involved in the creation of the piece, have a far deeper understanding of our relationships as a result of watching this brave and talented cast perform such a powerful piece of theatre. 

I would like to thank Mrs Warren and Mr Parker for all their help with the show – as well as Miss Watts who is always able to figure out those tricky movements where counting is involved!  Thanks also to the dedicated crew of students who stage managed and worked on lights, sound and projection and to everyone who stayed to watch.

If you missed this performance there will be a link sent out in due course – it won’t be as good as seeing it live, but it’s better than missing out entirely!

It’s been a busy year in the Drama department – from the Year 9 production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ way back in February, the Year 10 production of ‘When This is Over’, GCSE and A Level Devised and Scripted Assessments and the junior production of ‘Matilda’. Brainstorm was a brilliant end to the 2021/2022 season. The Drama department can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Catherine Nash

Head of Drama

Hanging Out At ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’!

49 students in Year 7-10 enjoyed a trip to the Bath Theatre Royal to watch the production of ‘Bugsy Malone’. For those that were familar with the film it was a chance to meet old friends including ‘Tallulah’ and ‘Blousey Brown’. Those who didn’t know the story were in for a treat as gangsters ‘Fat Sam’ and ‘Dandy Dan’ battled it out for control of 1920’s New York. The splurge was in disappointingly short supply but the dance numbers and catchy tunes had us all clicking our fingers and singing along for days!

Summer Festival Preparations

Preparations are in full swing for our summer festival featuring a performance of ‘Brainstorm’. Tickets are available now from ParentPay for this music and drama extravaganza which takes place from 7pm on Wednesday 13th July in the Wiltshire Music Centre. Join us for a celebration of our talented music and drama students as they play, sing and perform in what promises to be a very memorable evening. We love the poster, designed by Mr Bruten and incorporating a stunning image by Year 13 student Nicole.

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!)

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!