Hello Bickley Park!
It’s coming to the end of term and still there is loads going on! Today my blog will be about the fantastic Twelfth Night performance. Twelve weeks of hard work and line-learning were showcased last Monday in the Churchill Theatre in front of a full audience.
Bickley Park was one of the 769 schools that took to the stage in the National Shakespeare Schools’ Festival 2019, the world’s largest youth drama festival that takes place every autumn at professional theatres across the UK. On the evening of the 18th of November, 118 theatres opened their doors to welcome around 50,000 audience members, across the country, to watch a variety of different plays all written by the fabulous William Shakespeare. The overall aim of the festival was to introduce Shakespeare’s work to children from aged 8-18, as the Shakespeare Schools’ Foundation strongly believes that if we, as youngsters, act in a Shakespeare play, we can understand the joy and excitement of his stories and help ourselves build confidence to perform plays in the future. Before the Festival, most of the performing students had never even set foot in a theatre, let alone performed on stage.
As you know, Bickley Park performed the play Twelfth Night, a comedy about two twins (Viola and Sebastian) who become separated in a shipwreck. When finally washed up on the shore, Viola disguises herself as a man in order to become Duke Orsino’s servant. The disguised Viola is given the task to make a beautiful widow, called Olivia, fall in love with the Duke Orsino, but instead of falling in love with Orsino, Olivia falls in love with the disguised Viola, whilst Viola falls in love with Orsino! The confusion is cleared when Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, arrives and finally the truth becomes apparent.
We all had to work really hard to learn our lines, due to the difficulty of Shakespearean language. We needed to be fluent so we could focus more on our body language and performance to deliver Shakespeare’s message, help the audience understand the plot and to create a great atmosphere. We were lucky enough to be able to have rehearsals in the theatre before the production. This was an enormous help as the stage was overwhelmingly huge. We had to step up our game to be able to project our lines out to the audience. But we had help. Mr Brook and Mrs Marriott worked tirelessly to help us become confident and improve our performance: we could not have done it without them.
From June to November, we rehearsed twice a week and were ready and raring to go on the performance night. We were very lucky to have such a supportive audience, who welcomed us on stage and laughed at all our jokes. We all loved the experience of being on such a large stage and performing in such a big event. What an amazing experience! I hope some of you can be part of this initiative next year – it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you Mr Brook and Mrs Marriott for entering the school and working with us.
I conclude my blog by wishing you all a very good few more weeks until the Christmas holidays. I hope that some of you will come to the Advent Fayre today and help support the school by playing the games that have been made by some of the year 8’s. Hopefully you will also purchase some items from the stalls, but most importantly, I want you to have fun. As I won’t see you now until the new year, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday, rest and relax well, and look forward to an exciting new term.
See you in January!