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It’s that time of year where yet another set of students complete their final exams in Theatre Studies and say good-bye.  Yesterday our year 13s sat their final written exam where they (hopefully!) proved what they know about Ancient Greek Theatre, “Lysistrata”, rehearsal techniques, Renaissance Theatre and the staging of various productions.  It’s the culmination of not just the A-level course but for most of them seven years of hard work at the Academy.

In that time, I’ve had the absolute honour and pleasure of watching them grow as young people and performers – which is weird given that I haven’t aged a day! One or two of the gents who now tower over me, I remember as tiny, little year 7s in my form always sitting near the front and earnestly completing the form challenges… yes that was you Ellis, along with Zaysham and Joe.  Others I first met when I started teaching them for GCSE Drama where they were still exploring their own talents (which turned out to be vast – Lewis, Josh, Isaac and Mitchell) and others were new to drama when they started the A-level course yet you would never know this now given how easily they fitted into the group and how skilled they have become as performers…and that would be you two, Rhianna and Jordon!

A-level Theatre Studies is one of my most favourite parts of the job and it’s made even more wonderful when you get a group of students who gel together but also bring their own fabulous and in the case of the class of 2016, eccentric, individual quirks.  It is their individuality that has led to great creativity and this creativity has had many outcomes; sometimes it has led to truly engaging, emotive pieces of devised theatre where I’ve watched the descent into madness of a seemingly together business man or the tortured relationship between a father and daughter…or it’s become a painting of a flying goat. 

Over the last two years year 13 have brought to life on stage 1940s children, Spanish conquistadors, dung beetles, Scottish Whos and the inside of characters’ darkest, sub-conscious minds.  There might also have been the most inventive surreal film ever to be made, had someone been able to operate the camera.  We’ve met Tibetan monks, suffered a coach journey with no air-con on the hottest day of the year and discussed who, if any of us would get eaten, were we stranded on a desert island.  The google searches we’ve employed would disturb and intrigue anyone who hadn’t been present in the lessons and I am still uncertain of how to pronounce “cacao”.

Not only have year 13 students excelled in their course, they have time and time again proven themselves to be fantastic role models for those lower down the school.  As Joseph, the Pharaoh, Reverend Shaw, Freddie Eynsford-Hill, Alfie Doolittle, Harry, Levi, Aineas, Ren and one of the best “Footloose” walk on parts ever by a member of the back-stage crew, they have shown others the professionalism, talent and energy it takes to engage an audience in our musicals each year.

Class of 2016, I wish you every success in the future; you entirely deserve all the amazing experiences that I’m sure are going to come your way.  Keep in touch, don’t forget us and never ever change!      Namaste, Mrs G  🙂

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