Once in Prep, there is a well-established pattern of productions throughout the year.
In the Autumn Term Year 7 perform a play (in recent years this has been a Shakespeare play). This offers the opportunity to stretch the children with unfamiliar language and to challenge them to get under the skin of complex characters in emotionally charged stories. In 2020, with Covid-19 preventing live audiences, the Year 7s created a film version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, with the children not only acting in it, but also working as camera operators, sound recorders and so on. It was a wonderful experience for all involved. The Year 7 play is a voluntary undertaking, with a guarantee that all children that audition are assured some level of speaking role.
In the Spring Term, all of Year 5 come briefly off timetable for an intensive two-day theatre workshop that culminates in a rehearsed reading/performance to parents (recent years have seen productions of ‘Around The World in 80 Days’ and ‘The Three Musketeers’). Meanwhile, Year 6 rehearse and perform a full musical production over the course of the whole term. As with Year 7, this is a voluntary production, the aim being to encourage those with a particular passion for drama to be involved with (and see through to completion) a production, which will both challenge and stretch their dramatic range and build their self-confidence.
The Summer Term sees the Year 4 production; performances in recent years have included ‘Troy Story’ – a comical take on the events of the Trojan War and ‘The Emerald Crown’ – a provoking piece about the need to protect the rainforests. As with the Year 5 production, all of Year 4 are engaged in this production.
At the end of the Summer Term, Year 8 produce their swansong: Curtain Call. This is a largely self-directed soirée of short scenes, songs, skits and dances, that showcase their talents and celebrate their shared experiences of the school. Whilst participation is voluntary, the children are encouraged and supported to explore their own ideas and interpretations through whatever performance medium they feel most comfortable with, such as poetry, prose, music, dance, mime, puppetry, or mask work.