Taking to the Stage Again

This half-term was full of drama. Drama performances, that is! During the final two weeks, classes performed their chosen  play before a small group of socially distanced family bubbles in Panton Hall on separate evenings. Each pupil played a part in the performance, with some of the  major characters changing between scenes in order to give everyone the opportunity to exercise their acting chops.

Year 7’s  performance of Shakespeare’s famous love story Romeo and Juliet was an abridged version that the pupils had whittled down to a mere 45 minutes in rehearsals (or 30 minutes for the live performance, when the adrenaline kicked in!) They  did a fantastic job of ‘dissecting it and giving us the quintessence’ of  the play, as Mr Burden noted afterward. Mrs Dingley, who worked with the class on their preparations, commended them not just for the performance itself, but also for embracing ownership of elements like the lighting and set as well.

During that same week, Year 8 delivered a thought-provoking performance of An Inspector Calls, written by JB Priestley and set in 1912, a mere two years prior to the start of WWI. The theme of the play was summed up in the chilling lines delivered by the titular Inspector: ‘We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.’ Mrs Dingley noted that, although this was a ‘challenging text, normally done at GCSE,’ the children understood it and were able to carry the story well.

Mrs Parkinson directed Year 6 pupils in an excellent performance of Macbeth the following week. The pupils opened the play with reminders to the audience cleverly delivered in Shakespearean language: (‘Stay in your bubble bubble or there will be toil and trouble.’) The abbreviated adaptation of the play was expedited by the use of a series of narrators who explained certain plot points to the audience, while the pivotal scenes were performed splendidly by the actors playing the part of each main character.

Restrictions on live musical performances compelled Year 5 to pre-record their musical, Greece Goes to Pieces, which was then shared with their families to watch at home. The story is set in Athens around 400 BC, telling the story of a pot maker named Peta who introduces us to famous Athenian scholars like Socrates, Plato, Hippocrates and Aristophanes. The lively tunes, sung beautifully by the children, contain tongue twisting lyrics like ‘Peta Potter picked the perfect spot upon the top of the Acropolis’ and ‘It’s the Pelo, Pelo, Pelo, Pelo, Peloponnesian war again.’