The Hidden Gems of the Drama Department: Involvement

Eleni in Year 12 discusses the benefits of being involved in drama productions, and gives some advice to anyone considering getting involved in future projects.

 

Whether you are well versed in appearing on stage or a newcomer to the dramatic arts, the WHS Drama Department fosters a welcoming approach towards all those interested in theatre. More often than not, pupils involved in productions will experience a distinctive emotional investment with regards to the piece they are rehearsing for. It is the gradual accumulation of this sense that allows the productions to become an effective release from the strenuous moments of the academic atmosphere, whilst also elevating its calibre as a creative output. 

Opportunities

 Whilst the number and types of productions vary year upon year, there are several that take place annually. These include:

  • Year 7: House drama
  • Year 8: Musical
  • Year 9: Play
  • Year 10: Play (newly added)
  • Year 9 & 10: Musical
  • Years 11-13: Senior Play
  • Years 11-13: Senior Musical
  • Year 12: New Views Script Writing Club

    The Audition: What to Expect & Advice

    Musical

    • Unless instructed otherwise, choose a 2-minute piece from a musical that you feel embodies your performance abilities
    • If you are not interested in auditioning for a principal role, you may be asked to sing a simple song (such as Happy Birthday) in a group of 3 or more
    • A group dance audition, where a key routine from the show will be taught to you by a group of sixth formers
    • Occasionally, girls will be asked to perform a scene with others to provide the directors with an indication of their dramatic aptitude
    • Those who are in consideration for principal roles will be contacted for a call back audition, the requirements for this vary depending on the production and the individual

     

    Play

    • Prior to the audition, those interested will be provided with a series of monologues from the play in question
    • During the audition, you will be asked to perform your chosen monologue in front of the audition group
    • The directors may ask you to try different vocal, physical or proxemic interpretations of the piece to explore the different aspects of your ability to perform

     

    Here are some top tips on auditioning from the drama staff:

    • Approach the task with a positive outlook
    • If you are an experienced performer, humility and perspective is key
    • Be open to critique and suggestion
    • Respect others on stage by either remaining silent or reacting appropriately to the content of their piece
    • Don’t pre-apologise
    • If you are too ill to audition, email in advance and organise another slot to audition with one of the directors
    • Most importantly, if you don’t get the part you wanted, don’t be disheartened! Take your new role as a challenge and remember there are always other opportunities around the corner

     

Inter-year relations

The productions are an excellent platform to further nourish inter-year bonds. Encouraging different year groups to work together is something which the performing arts value, and can be seen in any inter-year production, with the cast being able to unite in an efficient and enjoyable team. The inevitability of inter-year friendships forming as a result to the productions, is one of the several enriching benefits that accompany the productions.

My Personal Experience

Having trained in Piano and Voice from a very young age, I was mostly involved in the music side of the school. However, my role as an onlooker changed to that of a performer in the Year 9 and 10 production of Little Shop of Horrors, where I was lucky enough to have been cast as Mr Mushnik. This opportunity inspired a huge passion for performing in me for both vocal and theatrical appearances. The following year, I was part of the senior production of Sweeney Todd, where I played the part of Johanna.

This stands as a great example of the performance potential for musicals with more classically oriented vocal writing. This year, I was fortunate to have played Tobias in Education Education Education which was also the first instance of my involvement in a school play (rather than the musical). With the aid of the drama department, I was able to develop my performance skills in an extensive variety of genres. It is safe to say that my involvement in drama at WHS has allowed me to approach theatrical opportunities in a more nuanced, informed and experienced manner.

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