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Drama

Drama at FHS is run by Mr Matthew Rowlands-Roberts, Head of Drama, and Miss Maria Leaf.  It is an inclusive subject throughout the curriculum and school community.

Girls are encouraged to explore drama through different time periods and cultures with an understanding of traditional and contemporary techniques. The roles of actor and director are interchangeable when creating pieces with a constant emphasis on strong ensemble work as the most successful theatre. This is a subject where the work is never finished and we enjoy a balance of fun and discipline.

Photos of our latest productions

Alice

The cast and production team of the ‘Lower School Theatre Company’ created a performance that reflected the repertory ethos of drama at Francis Holland School. In a rehearsal period of just under six weeks the play of ‘Alice’ by Laura Wade was explored through all the creative arts, generating a fun and moving interpretation.

As the production came to a close we, as a company and an audience, were asked to remember as the ‘White Rabbits’ tell Alice:

‘You don’t know what life’s going to throw at you next. And you catch it, don’t you? Things that don’t make sense are as much part of life as things that fit together perfectly. Remember what the caterpillar said – one day at a time.’

Brief Encounter

On Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th February 2014, Year 10 students from Francis Holland and Sixth Form boys from Cardinal Vaughan School performed their own production of Noel Coward's 'Brief Encounter'. The cast put on a spectacular performance both evenings and raised over £900 for the King of Kings School in Uganda.

Grease

A cast of over forty Francis Holland girls were joined by boys from Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School for a spectacular performance of Grease. Francis Holland School was transformed into Rydall High School which was particularly memorable for prospective parents attending our final 11+ open morning in the School Hall!  

The Great Gatsby

FHS Sixth Form girls and Sixth Form boys from Cardinal Vaughan School in Holland Park performed their production of The Great Gatsby to an audience of parents, students and teachers. They were amazed by the talent of the performers and seamlessness of the production. The drama department were impressed by the hard work of the cast and crew and inspired by the quality of the work produced.

Hamlet

Students, parents, staff and governors were invited to watch a truly stunning in-house production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in March 2015. The talented cast included girls from Years 7 to 10 who worked extremely hard during months of rehearsals to put on a spectacular final performance. This was a production of Hamlet that left the audience spell-bound by the level of acting, the gamut of emotions portrayed (and felt by the audience) and a keen sense of pace. 

Oliver Twist/Nicholas Nickleby

Key Stage 3

Pupils in years 7 and 8 produce work in response to a diverse repertoire of plays and social issues. They use rehearsal techniques to shape work in response to playwrights such as Salman Rushdie and Timberlake Wertenbaker. They also produce their own work in response to other media such as poetry, music and visual art. Alongside this they produce work in response to a production they have seen. The Year 8 course develops to allow students to include a range of performance and production techniques in their work. Pupils recognise by the end of this stage of the curriculum the power of drama to inform and entertain and their strengths as young drama practioners.

GCSE Drama

The AQA course has a balance of written and practical work internally assessed and externally moderated.

Over the two years pupils learn a succession of drama strategies to interpret and create exciting work, students may choose from a range of performance and production units. Typically students create a devised piece based on a social or philosophical issue such as the London 7/7 bombings or utopia/dystopia, a piece od educationl theatre for young people and/or a stage management or design unit. To support the strong physical quality of devised work pupils have the chance to perform in workshops by companies such as ‘Frantic Assembly’.

Students see a range of theatre performances at the 'Bush Theatre', ‘ Royal Court’ and ‘National Theatre’ and in the West End.

The end of the course is the culmination of an array of techniques as pupils interpret a published play, moderated by an external examiner. Pupils have produced plays such as 'Abigail's Party', 'Be My Baby' and 'Top Girls' to great success.

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies

We follow the Edexcel As and A2 course which places emphasis on the role of the actor in the first year and the director in the second year. There is a balance of written and practical work with a final written paper at the end of the course. Pupils emerge with a strong sense of how to make good theatre.

Unit 1 asks pupils to explore two texts from contrasting periods and genres in practical workshops applying performance theory. A written analysis of this work follows with the support of a theatre review of a third play. Pupils have interpreted such texts as 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'Three Sisters', 'Blood Wedding' and 'A View From The Bridge' using practitioners such as Brecht, Stanislavski and Artaud.

Unit 2 requires pupils to perform in a teacher directed play alongside the study and performance of a monologue or duologue from a second play. Work performed has included 'The Crucible' and 'Mother Courage'.

Unit 3 allows pupils to interpret and perform a full length play or to devise an original performance. Students have devised and produced performances from works such as Strindberg's 'A Dream Play', Shaffer's 'Amadeus' and the works of current British drama.

Unit 4 challenges pupils at the end of the course to explore plays from three periods of theatre history with a final evaluation paper.

Beyond The Classroom

We encourage girls to extend their dramatic development beyond the curriculum and school community with involvement in institutions such as ‘The National Youth Theatre' and ‘Shakespeare Schools Festival'. We have been lucky to hold workshops by renowned companies such as ‘Frantic Assembly' challenging our young performers to create their own work within new disciplines.

Drama & Theatre Summer School

For a week in July 2014, the Lost Islanders Theatre Company created the piece Absence, exploring sections of various works, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, musical Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton, and Matthew Bourne’s interpretation of William Golding’s Lord of Flies, all thematically connected by a desert island.  The choreography in the piece is truly held it all together, with the company learning choreography by the esteemed Akram Kahn.

Theatre Trips

Previous trips to the theatre include:

  • 'Little Revolution' - at the Almeida Theatre in Islington - Year 11
  • 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' - Year 10
  • 'Our Town' - at the Almeida Theatre in Islington - Year 11 and Sixth Form
  • 'The Scotsboro Boys' at the Garrick Theatre - Year 9 and 10
  • 'Othello' at the Lyric Hammersmith - Year 10
  • 'The Twits' at the Royal Court, Sloane Square - Year 10
  • 'American Psycho' - Sixth Form

 

No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

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