This first week of term has been a busy and very dramatic one:

Saturday saw the first sessions of the Year 5&6 play, ‘The Amazing Maurice’, the very entertaining story of a ‘super-intelligent cat, some talking rodents and a stupid boy!’ based on the novel by Terry Pratchett. A lovely group of hugely enthusiastic pupils joined in the workshop and auditioned for the production during a noisy and fun-filled morning.  Many hours were then spent grappling with the script to reduce a cast of thousands to 12 meaty roles.  I am looking forward to a great time with this group during Thursdays after-school and Saturday mornings until the performance on 25th November 2021.

On Monday we started curriculum drama lessons with Year 5. These weekly lessons teach pupils about theatre craft, including improvisation, mime, characterisation, movement and voice, whilst enriching their English study of text and developing their confidence.  This term our focus is on Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’.

Year 5 has been a regular part of my teaching responsibility for some time, but this term I am delighted that I have been allocated drama time with Years 7&8 in addition. In Wednesday’s Year 7 sessions we will be studying ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne and in Thursday’s Year 8 lessons our focus is on Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’.  Both texts lend themselves very well to theatre and the pupils showed their creativity and imagination.

I am very pleased that we have been able to reinstate the ever-popular ‘A Team’ on Tuesdays, whereby I work with different groups of Year 3 pupils throughout the year bringing various texts to life and having some lunchtime laughs. This week we looked at a poetry anthology in early preparation for the ‘Poetry by Heart’ competition in October.

I also love my Pre-Prep drama workshops; during the Michaelmas term I am working with Year 1 after school on Fridays and this week we imagined the life of ‘The Fish who Could Wish’; it may look like 45 minutes of raucousness and hilarity, but the children are learning some brilliant skills along the way.

One of my favourite ways of satisfying my own theatrical bent is the opportunity to dress up as various characters to provide workshops or Q&As. (A previous Head once suggested I might like to dress as a proper PA once in a while!)  I am a regular George Stevenson, Mary Anning, Red Riding Hood’s Granny and Captain Jill Sparrow, but have also been a huge variety of characters including Winnie the Pooh, Grey Owl, Claude Bourgelat (yes, I had to look him up too), Ernest Shackleton and a mad Dentist.  So, I am busy dusting off my whip and Doc Marten’s in preparation for Monday’s Roald Dahl Day!  Miss Trunchbull is on the warpath!

Mary Alderson