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!’
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!)
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:
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!
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’.
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!
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……
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!
Year 13 A Level Drama students travelled to Bath Theatrical Costume hire in Frome with Mrs Warren to select costumes for their upcoming assessment performances of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde. They rehearsed in their outfits at the 6th form open evening and all agreed that the period clothes and shoes made a real difference to the way that they played their characters. We think they look amazing!
The theatre company ‘The Paper Birds’ visited us to run workshops on devising for Year 12/13 A Level Drama students. Two lucky Year 9 learning groups were also able to take part in a session which looked at creating a piece of theatre based on a visual stimulus. GCSE and A Level students will soon be watching a production by The Paper Birds in class which they can write about in their examination.