St Helen and St Katharine has a thriving Drama Department which aims to present high quality extracurricular productions that are open to everyone. Each year we stage at least one senior production (jointly with Abingdon School), one Middle School production and one Lower School production. In addition to this there are often smaller performances throughout the year, and Abingdon School also provides a senior production.
Last year, there were no fewer than eight productions taking place between St Helen’s and Abingdon School, meaning plenty of opportunities for all.
Senior students performed a modern adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s play Government Inspector in the Studio Theatre at St Helen’s which amused audiences with its satirical humour; whilst the senior cast of the high-energy musical Loserville burst on to the stage at Abingdon’s Amey Theatre.
Daisy Pulls It Off involved 36 girls and charmed audiences with its bubbly and witty interpretation of the 1920s boarding school parody making it a memorable Middle School production for Years 9 and 10. Years 7 and 8 transported audiences to the larger than life world of Seussical JR, a musical version of Dr Seuss which involved 40 students and a large backstage team of students from Year 8–Lower Sixth.
Alongside staff-directed plays, students also produce, direct and perform productions themselves throughout the year. Last year, our two Sixth Form drama scholars each created a moving and impactful piece of theatre for the Festival of Remembrance, which marked the centenary of the end of WW1. Alek both wrote and directed The Untitled Monologue Project which featured some outstanding solo performances from students in Years 9 and 10 and Dulcie’s direction of The Brown Felt Hat by Tony Layton offered an opportunity for a strong cast of Sixth Form students to perform a beautifully characterised ensemble piece.
Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 also have the opportunity to write and direct a performance by entering our annual Playwriting Competition. This year’s winner Poppy in Year 8, wrote and directed an original piece entitled Turn the Tide, exploring women’s stories during the suffragette movement. These lunchtime performances are well attended by students, parents and staff.
This year we also look forward to Contact Light, a piece of original writing by two Old Girls Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson. The play was produced in collaboration between St Helen’s and Abingdon School and was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2019.
Junior, Lower and Middle School drama clubs work towards lunchtime performances based on improvisational work done throughout the year. Sixth Form drama assistants and teachers run these clubs, offering fun, informal platforms for exploring and developing drama skills through games and activities, and work to give younger students a sense of how they can enhance and improve upon their class work if they choose to continue with drama further up the school.
Quite simply, there is something for everyone in St Helen's drama. Whether you want to be on stage or behind the scenes, if you are passionate about theatre, keen to learn and willing to devote time and energy to creating exciting work then you can be involved!
Details of drama clubs and activities can be found in Beyond.
Lent 2020 planner