Wednesday 17th July 2019
A vibrant Drama Department.
The Drama Department at St Augustine’s Priory is a thriving, creative department and masterminds such productions as the seniors’ production, this year bringing the stupendous ‘Chicago’ to the Questors stage. Apart from supervising and collaborating over the many Senior and Junior Form productions throughout the year, the Drama Department also produces the plays in the Shakespeare Festival on Association Day, which this year showcased Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale. Part of the success of the Drama Department stems from our programme of Drama Scholars and Prefects, girls who are committed to drama and contribute impressively to the work of the department.
Ms C Brown, Head of Drama, reports on the role of our Drama Prefects and Scholars.
‘The Drama Department includes a group of Pupil Leaders of Prefects and Scholars who are selected from Form III to Priory 6, to represent the department, support its work and be part of our dialogue between staff and pupils. An integral part of this core team of ambassadors are the 11 plus Drama Scholars, Ava Bileckyj and Mia Jankovich, who reflect on their experiences in their role this year.
Ava Bileckyj (Lower IV): “I applied for the 11+ Drama Scholarship because I love the feeling of performing in front of an audience, whether in end of year school productions, LAMDA showcases, or as part of productions at Questors, or my dance school. But there’s more to Drama than “just” performing – it helps us build confidence by opening up our minds and using our bodies and brains in different ways to explore other people’s lives through scripts and characters. It teaches us about commitment and how to work as part of a team in the pursuit of an end goal. It also teaches us that hard work and thorough preparation pays off and that going outside our comfort zone is a good thing!
‘Daisy Pulls It Off’
All these skills are important in daily life, and this is why one of my aspirations as Drama Scholar for the next academic year is to encourage fellow pupils to embrace all that Drama has to offer – especially at St Augustine’s Priory, where Drama plays such a big part in school life – the Shakespeare Festival, LAMDA showcases, Musical Theatre performances at the St Cecilia Concert and in assemblies, class productions, Open Days, etc. And of course there was this year’s production of ‘Chicago’, which was amazing!
And then there is the Drama Gifted & Talented programme which gives individuals access to technical workshops, for example, set design, stage management, even learning accents. I mentioned that I love to perform, but I have little or no experience in the technical “behind the scenes” aspect of theatre, so another of my aspirations for the next academic year is to learn more and get involved. This started with assisting with the set design for our year’s production of “The Winter’s Tale” at the Shakespeare Festival – it’s outside my comfort zone, but that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”
Shakespeare Festival (Association Day)
Mia Jankovich (Form III): “This year I was chosen to be the Drama Scholar. It has opened so many opportunities for me, including being able to show people at St Augustine’s Priory the amazing talents we have in our school. The Drama Department has a wide range of opportunities for public performance, from LAMDA to the Senior Production of ‘Chicago’ at Questors Theatre in which I appeared. We had an opportunity to sing, dance, act and we all had so much fun from day one. It took a few months to prepare, but it was all worth the hard work when the shows were a success. LAMDA lessons are co-curricular and teach Acting, Speaking in Public, Speaking Verse & Prose and Musical Theatre. We have a LAMDA Showcase near the end of the year to show our parents and teachers our performance and communication skills. Every Open Morning I perform a piece to show parents and future pupils our drama skills. In curriculum Drama lessons, my class have been rehearsing ‘Hamlet’ by Shakespeare for the Shakespeare Festival on Association Day. My role was one of the main characters, Ophelia, who is a girl who goes mad once her lover, Hamlet, kills her father. I have always loved drama and would love to become an actress or a director; these have been my dreams since I was a little girl. Next year I hope to continue fulfilling my passion for drama.”