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The Drama Department’s production history has long been admired for the range and quality of the work both in terms of performance skill and technical expertise, with students often working alongside professional practitioners and in professional performance venues.
Recent whole school productions include As You Like It by William Shakespeare, and Earthquakes In London by Mike Bartlett and our very own Edward’s Boys productions of A Trick To Catch The Old One and Grobiana’s Nuptials. In addition to these there are many other performance opportunities throughout the year for students of all ages such as The Physical Fellowship, the Drama Showcase Evening, The Guildhall Recital, House Drama and the Year 8 Classics and Drama Festival all of which allow our students to develop further confidence in performing, team work and of course have lots of fun!
We are very proud of the enrichment experiences organised in abundance for students across the school at theatres such as The Globe, The Young Vic, The National, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Warwick Arts Centre. The Department also works with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to organise talks and access archive materials to support learning.
The school also has a theatre company called ‘Edward’s Boys’– an all boys' company who specialise in performing some of the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries such as Ford and Lily, directed by Perry Mills (Deputy Headmaster). They have gained a national reputation for excellence and regularly tour to venues such as The Globe Theatre and Oxford University. In April 2014 they were fortunate enough to be the first Young Company to perform in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London, which was again a venue for one of their performances of the Lady’s Trial in September 2015. 2016 was a prolific year for the company being the first to perform at the RSC’s Other Place, The Woman Hater by Francis Beaumont, Will at Westminster (2016) which involved students performing Richard II, Act Four, Scene One, lines 107-250 by William Shakespeare – “The Deposition Scene” at Westminster Hall and Unperfect Actors (2016) Extracts from the works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) performed in “Shakespeare’s Schoolroom” on Saturday 23rd April 2016 in order to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the poet’s death and to mark the opening to the public of the Guildhall, Stratford-upon-Avon.
The aim of the group is to provide Year 7 and 8 students the opportunity to develop their Drama skills as well as key transferable skills such as collaboration and confidence. These skills are put to the test each year when the ensemble collaborates with Highly Sprung Performance Company to create an original piece which is performed at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry as part of the Physical Fellowship, the only physical theatre festival for young people in the country.
All students with a keen interest in Drama and the Arts have the opportunity to undertake a Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award. The aim of the Arts Award is to support any young person to enjoy the arts, develop creative and leadership skills, and achieve a national qualification.
A House Drama competition is run annually. The Head of Department has designed a format which tests the students’ ability to devise an original performance based on a theme. There are set criteria which include the students providing a production programme. In 2017 we were pleased to welcome Gill Sutherland, Arts Editor of The Herald.
K.E.S. Summer Arts Festival
Each summer the Drama Department organises, in collaboration with other departments, an arts festival that celebrates the creativity of our students. Theatre visits, performances, exhibitions and concerts take place during the month of June and July with highlights such as Puddings and Performance Night, the Classics and Drama Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The Department organises a tour biannually to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to enable students to perform in a professional context, develop cultural experiences by attending other arts events and successfully contribute to a team, with responsibilities and outstanding work ethic. This initiative is highly valued by students and parents and has involved students planning, fundraising, marketing, scriptwriting and committing to hours of extra rehearsals.
For more information concerning this or any other extra-curricular Drama activity at King Edward VI School, please e-mail Mrs Nightingale