Outstanding provision for all!
In the week of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, our school production at the Questors Theatre, Ms Brown, Head of Drama and LAMDA at St Augustine’s Priory, here tells us of all the wondrous things that go on in the Drama Department:
‘The St Augustine’s Priory Drama Department aims to develop individuality, to encourage students to contemplate and express themselves with flair and confidence and to encourage tolerance and understanding. Through drama, we encourage students to question, challenge and ultimately change their perception of the world in which they live. Oscar Wilde famously said that he regarded the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, “the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” We explore the human condition through the medium of drama and encourage empathy for others beyond our own immediate existence.
Drama is timetabled from Lower II upwards and is a popular choice at GCSE and A Level, as it nurtures the girls’ critical thinking as dramatists, performers and critics. Students study and create theatre through drawing on various historical, cultural and contemporary theatre practices. Our 2016 results: GCSE 100% A*-B. AS 100% A-B (83% A). A Level 100% A-B. Drama Scholarships are available at 11 plus and 16 plus.
As well as Drama in the curriculum, we aim to provide plenty of opportunities for girls interested in the performing arts to create, contribute to and enjoy drama to the full.
We recognize the importance of providing access to professional arts. Regular theatre visits are organised for St Augustine’s girls from all years and we welcome theatre professionals into the school to perform plays, deliver workshops and Q and A sessions. Already this academic year we have been to see Aladdin, Matilda the Musical, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Comedy about a Bank Robbery, Henry IV and Peter Pan.
Cutting-edge theatre company Frantic Assembly delivered a workshop on Devising Drama in January.
In the coming weeks Lower V GCSE Drama students will participate in a workshop on Stage Combat, inspired by my recent training at the Drama Teachers’ Conference at the National theatre. Professional actor, Alan Turkington, has been in to talk to the girls about careers in the performing arts. Old girl and A Level Drama student, Molly Manning-Walker, will also visit to share her experience as a documentary film maker and cinematographer.
Film, theatre and TV casting directors come into school to audition girls for professional productions. Last summer, some of our students appeared in a fantastic adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
In February Upper I performed an exciting Ancient Egypt themed play called A Glint of Gold.
In the Michaelmas Term, Lower II performed in Romeo and Juliet at the Waterman’s Theatre as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival.
All Upper II, Form III and Lower IV students will perform on the outdoor stage this summer in our annual Shakespeare Festival on Saturday 1st July. We look forward to seeing you there!
Upper IV students will be performing their version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches in April in the new hall.
Upper II students are looking forward to staging Alice in Wonderland as their big, end of Junior School production in May.
We stage biennial Senior School Productions at Questors Theatre in Ealing. These shows offer wonderful opportunities for girls from Form III to Upper VI to work together both on stage and backstage in a professional theatre environment. The sense of enthusiasm and community that is developed through the production process and public performance nurtures the social inclusion we so value as a whole school. Recent shows include The Comedy of Errors (2015) Guys and Dolls (2013) and The Ash Girl (2012). This year’s production of Little Shop of Horrors opened last night and was a triumph. It continues tonight and Saturday 11th March at 7.30pm. Follow this link to view the promo video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUxkPGcSH6s. Tickets can be purchased directly from Questors box office http://www.questors.org.uk/.
As well as public performances, we offer LAMDA lessons in a variety of performance and communication skills; over a third of the students here take LAMDA lessons, with 100% pass rate and 97% passing with Merit and Distinction.
With our LAMDA Volunteering girls can assist the teacher in weekly LAMDA lessons. This provides excellent work experience of working with younger children, directing, and being of service to the school community. This volunteering contributes towards the Volunteering activity of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
We have Drama and LAMDA Prefects who are ambassadors for the subject and are excellent role models for younger years.
Priory Players is a theatre company run by Sixth Formers. This exciting venture enables girls to take the reins in managing, producing, performing and promoting their own drama both in school and in the public arena, an excellent stepping stone to life in the workplace. They produce the hugely popular Christmas pantomime enjoyed by all from nursery to Upper VI. They are now embarking on a short film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ featuring girls throughout the school and using professional film makers.
St Augustine’s Priory Extra programme provides weekend and holiday opportunities for both our girls and children of the local community to take part in activities in the performing arts, with LAMDA Solo Saturdays and Yourstage drama classes. Please see the school website Co-curricular pages for more information.
If you have any questions about the Drama provision at the school, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.’Categories: Junior Nursery Prep Senior Sixth Form Whole School