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By HCS Head of Drama, Mr Leighton Martin

Following last term’s hugely successful production of Chicago, the HCS Drama Department is not resting on its laurels, and students have recently enjoyed two wonderful opportunities to work with experienced professional theatre practitioners to develop their skills and to audition for the acclaimed National Youth Theatre.

On a Saturday in late February, 19 students were involved in a three-hour workshop with the actor and director, Gareth Warren, from the National Youth Theatre (pictured above). Gareth took the students through a number of challenging warm-up exercises, before moving into extended improvisations and character work. It was a real pleasure to see the students’ confidence and creative responses to the workshop blossom during the morning. Following lunch, each student had around 20 minutes one to one with Gareth to perform their audition monologue, after which they responded to his re-direction and discussed with him their love of theatre. This was an outstanding opportunity for the pupils, and they eagerly await the results of their audition in May.

Gen Say

A few weeks later, Year 10 GCSE Drama and Year 12 A-Level Drama and Theatre students had the opportunity to spend half a day with Gen Say from Splendid Productions. Gen is an actor, dancer and choreographer with a background in devised and political theatre, and she led a fun-filled yet exacting workshop that demanded pupils work with joyful specificity. Pupils considered the ways in which they can structure their devised work, and how to take inspiration from socio-political events in the development of the piece. This was a challenging yet immensely enjoyable day, and students learned enormous amounts from Gen’s precise and supportive feedback.

It’s been a really rewarding term in the HCS Drama Department, and we’re very much looking forward to our upcoming productions in the summer term, including a Speech and Drama Summer Revue, the Moving Stories project, which has been created in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency, and our Year 8 and 9 production of the hilarious Frankenstein’s Aunt in late June.