For those who are keen to discover the ins and outs of backstage work, we run a Technical Theatre club. Here, members are taught how to operate our sophisticated light and sound equipment, as well as exploring the skills behind set design and stage management. Members are then invited to put their skills into practice and support the school productions and assemblies.
SPS MONOLOGUES COMPETITION
In the spring term, the Third Years are invited to participate in the St Paul’s Senior Monologues Competition – an annual event in the Samuel Pepys Theatre. Every competitor prepares and performs a monologue to an invited audience and guest adjudicator. The boys who take part then present their work to the whole of the Junior school in a Spring Drama assembly.
ST PAUL’S YOUTH THEATRE (SPYT)
Possibly one of the most popular extra-curricular clubs on offer at St Paul’s Juniors. SPYT caters for ages 7-14 (national curriculum years 3 – 9) and is open to any children in the local area. This is a weekly co-educational activity, which allows members to pursue further drama and performance opportunities, led by members of the Drama department and visiting professionals. Members have so far benefitted from expert tuition in puppetry, mask, mime, voice and movement, led by tutors from National Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Chichester Festival Theatre and Slingshot. SPYT frequently work towards smaller scale performance projects including scripted, devised and site specific work.
We currently run workshops on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays afterschool, with different time slots for different age groups.
EASTER AND SUMMER CAMPS
Our holiday activities currently cater for ages 7-14 and usually take place in the first week of the state maintained school holidays. This is so that we can continue to offer co-educational activities and provide opportunities for a wider community of young people.
In the Easter holiday, we run the Bronze Arts Award in a Week, where children in Year 6-8 build a creative portfolio geared towards a nationally recognised qualification. Alongside this, we also offer various skills-based courses, usually for those who already hold the Bronze award.
In the summer, we produce a play in a week and have courses available in acting, musical theatre and backstage. As with SPYT, these courses remain open to any children in the local area.
LOWER SCHOOL PRODUCTIONS
All boys in the First and Second years have a performance to look forward to. The Lower First produce an assembly, as well as a theatrical contribution to the spring concerts, and the Lower Second take part in a playwriting festival. The Upper First and Upper Second present a whole year play in the summer and spring terms respectively. These are often adaptations of children’s stories or original commissions from exciting and emerging playwrights. Recent plays include Punchinello, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Around the World in 80 Days, Ivan the Fool and Sharp as Needles.
THIRD YEAR PRODUCTIONS
In the Third Year, all boys have the opportunity to audition for our major autumn production. These may be plays or musicals, occasionally in collaboration with St Paul’s Girls’ School, and are a much-anticipated highlight of the academic year. We aim to include as many boys as possible (often between 60 and 80), without hindering the quality of experience and professional approach to the production. Our Technical Club members support all performances, operating the lighting, sound, smoke and haze. Recent successes include Scrooge! The Witches, Oliver! and The Terrible Infants.
ALL YEAR TALENT SHOW
The annual Talent Show is also not to be missed. Co-produced by the Drama Department and the Parent’s Group, this spectacular event covers everything from sketch comedy and stand up, to bands and break dancing. Auditions are open to every boy in the school, with everyone invited to show their support. After whittling down all entries, ten to twelve acts are then selected to perform, in what is often a sell-out showcase, in front of a panel of high calibre guest judges.
For further information on any of the above, please email Mr Boustead, Director of Drama on JPB@stpaulsschool.org.uk