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Drama at St Paul’s is thriving, providing opportunities for students of all ages to explore performance, directing and design. Students enjoy a range of clubs and societies, an extensive calendar of productions, and benefit from a programme of visiting professionals. The department is vibrant, creative and nurtures the aspirations of all.
A wide-ranging programme of school productions enables all students to get involved with the theatrical life of the school, whether on stage or behind the scenes. The main school production takes place every autumn. Sweeney Todd, last year’s main school play, involved four months of rehearsal, a 33-piece orchestra and a cast of 43 students from four different schools, resulting in a thrillingly dark and high-intensity production. This year we are exploring new writing, with a triple bill of Fabric Scissors by Sophie Swithinbank, East Asian Perspectives, written and devised by VII (Year 12) students, and an original adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Directed by the drama department, these productions aim to demonstrate the outstanding range of talent at St Paul’s.
A large number of students participate in the Junior and Senior Plays, exploring texts to create original performance work. Alongside nurturing and developing performance skills, these productions also offer the chance for those interested in design and stage management to work in collaboration with our theatre manager and costume designer to visually create the production.
An array of studio productions take place each year, directed by students. The focus on directing begins in the LV (Year 9), where students begin to explore theatre production as part of the Directors’ Forum. After selecting short excerpts from plays, students direct their pieces for performance, with recent choices including The Play That Goes Wrong and Tusk Tusk. In the Colet Play, senior students take responsibility for staging a production of their choice, with the support of the drama department.
A range of clubs and societies enable students of all ages to explore aspiration in performance and theatre production. In Improv Club students are encouraged to let their imaginations run free, respond instinctively and enjoy taking risks in the creative process. MIV, UIV and LV (Years 7, 8 and 9) Drama Clubs facilitate students to explore increasingly sophisticated theatrical genres and styles, culminating in public performance. LAMDA lessons, delivered by professional theatre directors, enable students to develop performance skills and public speaking.
The school also participates in the New Views programme, as part of which professional playwrights from the National Theatre help students develop their own plays. Clubs for costume and theatre design are run by our professional theatre manager and costume designer.
We regularly welcome a range of visiting speakers into school for talks and workshops, broadening students’ perspectives and offering an insight into careers in drama and theatre. Trips and visits encourage students to experience London’s vibrant theatre scene. As well as enriching the studies of those studying drama, all students can join Theatre Society, enabling them to attend a multitude of interesting and innovative theatrical productions and discuss their thoughts and impressions with other students and staff.