During the summer holidays Miles Ford, Year 12, and Katie Pike, Year 9, attended the Shakespeare Schools Festival.


Here they give their impressions of the week long drama summer school which started the rehearsal process for our production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.


Miles Ford, Oberon, King of the Fairies, said “This August I was very happy to be involved in a week long summer school, themed around Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" run by Ms Cruwys-Finnigan, Head of Drama, and her daughter Celia. We explored the plot, themes and motives behind the play during the five days which showed buckets of variety, from read throughs, to stage fighting classes. We were incredibly lucky to have Celia there, you can clearly learn a lot from a year in drama school and she was never shy to teach us any tips, moves, or warm up games that she had learnt from her time as a drama student.


‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a confusing play, full of comedy, magic and unrequited love. At first our cast found it tricky to get our heads around it all, there are points in the play where plot twists and potions can change things drastically in a matter of seconds, but after a very in-depth page by page exploration through the script, our group discussions and devised scenes helped to piece together one of Shakespeare's most complicated jigsaw puzzles.






















Halfway through the week, the idea sprouted of using live music within our performance. So those of us who were up to the challenge, brought in instruments and composed some little catchy jingles, to act as a kind of theme tune for each group of characters. For me, this was the most enjoyable part of the week, playing around with vocal harmonies and funky bass lines, we really did have a lot of laughs.


All in all, after a week of scrutinising this play bit by bit, not only do we as a cast understand the play on whole new levels, we're also full to the brim with ideas and suggestions for our personal performance of it.”


Katie Pike, Hermia, said “On the first day we were all a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect, so to makes us feel comfortable around each other, we warmed up our bodies with exercises and our voices with vocal warm-ups and tongue twisters to help our fluency. There was one tongue twister, called “Gigwhip” - try saying it quickly - everybody struggled with that one! We played drama games, with lots of improvisation. After the first day everybody felt comfortable around each other and we started to read through the specially shortened version of the play and split into groups to begin dramatising some of the scenes. It was fascinating to see people’s interpretations of the different scenes. We worked our way through the play and one of the important things Ms Cruwys-Finnigan’s wanted was for us to understand and relate Shakespeare’s English to modern day. Later on in the week, we all really enjoyed a stage combat workshop, run by Celia, Ms Cruwys-Finnigan’s daughter. I did not know I could be so fierce!  We found out how to punch, slap, hair pull, nipple twist, head butt and strangle safely and how to react to these moves. On the final day, some of us took part in a music workshop to develop some music and songs for the Fairies and the Mechanicals. We also found out the parts we were to play, which was nerve wracking! I have grown in confidence and have learned that acting isn’t just saying lines, it is about understanding a character and how they are feeling in the situations they are in.”


Both Miles and Katie agreed they had a fantastic week and wanted to say a huge thank you to Ms Cruwys-Finnigan and her daughter Celia.

Swift as a Shadow, Short as Any Dream - Shakespeare Schools Festival

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