Drama at Mowden
Drama at Mowden is a vibrant and intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the School, with a genuine commitment to provide access for all. Not only do our pupils perform on the stage, they are also integral to the whole production process by creating and sourcing props and costumes, choosing backdrops, composing music and playing instruments as part of the orchestra. Indeed, all staff and pupils work together to bring the page to the stage; teamwork is a given at Mowden. We are a community in every sense of the word.
A Year in Drama
The Autumn Term saw Year 7 treading the boards first with their adaptation of the much loved fairy tale, ‘Cinderella’. Complete with songs, dances, topical jokes and slapstick comedy, their musical pantomime brought much festive cheer to the magical kingdom of Mowdenville.
With Christmas firmly behind us, preparations began for the Year 6 production, a dramatic performance of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. When students engage actively with Shakespeare’s plays, when they are on stage delivering the words and making choices about characters and setting, they are also exploring living predicaments about democracy, loyalty, free will, love and friendship. They increase their confidence and communication skills in the process. And, of course, being the only compulsory writer on the secondary English curriculum, we see it as our duty to ensure Mowden pupils are provided with opportunities to enjoy, appreciate and understand the works of this famous British poet, playwright and actor. The children delivered a fantastic performance of Shakespeare’s work: learning their lines (which remained true to the original script), honing their acting skills and creating their wonderful costumes, many of which were imagined and turned into reality by the cast themselves.
Thereafter, it was the turn of our youngest students in the Prep School to impress and entertain. Inspired by a reading of ‘The Lost Happy Endings’ by Carol Ann Duffy, our Year 4 and Year 5 children joined forces to write and produce an adapted version of this lyrical story about storytelling.
Their story was inspired by other peoples' stories - a curious collection of people. Using Duffy’s work as a stimulus, they were given a framework within which to write their own script, working collaboratively on stage to develop their dialogue, characterisation and stage directions.
Shortly after, we were plunged into our first national lockdown, but our pupils have continued to present their work, both scripted and improvised, to a wider audience, albeit remotely. Only recently, our Year 7 children worked in small groups to dramatise a range of Gothic extracts from famous texts such as ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Frankenstein’ whilst our Year 8 pupils presented a scene from ‘A Christmas Carol’, their work being video and shared with the entire school community, including parents.
In Year 5, we research, write and produce our own play in the Spring Term; this year is no different. To suit the remote context of this term, our theme is 'clockwork'; challenging us to consider a variety of presentation ideas that will be suitable for the screen. Inspiration has been found in the pages of Philip Pullman's book, 'Clockwork or All Wound Up', and the legends surrounding Prague's astronomical clock. The project is cross-curricular, allowing us to draw on the breadth of the pupils' skills and knowledge. The cogs are in motion in Art lessons; these will reveal the links and layers of the script as it unfolds. Several possible curse-ending resolutions are being whittled and worked into the finale. Ticking tongues, beating drums and heralding trumpets are at the ready. The count-down has started!