Learning about the stage, collaboration and life
The word ‘drama’ has its roots in Greek meaning ‘to act’ and ‘to do’.
Learning dramatic technique builds confidence and articulacy, spontaneity and presence, enabling any pupil to act and do more effectively. Drama is the ultimate team game. Any production is a collaborative process, learning to work together to a common goal. The study of drama involves the study of acting, art, directing, music and writing. It also touches upon history, psychology and even religion. To learn about drama is to learn about life.
Drama facilities are excellent. The College Theatre seats 284 and is at the heart of the school. It is used throughout the year for College productions and a full programme of visiting professional productions. The Le Brocq Studio seats 120 and is used for day-to-day teaching, smaller productions and presentations. The outdoor Dell Theatre seats 90, while the Jennifer Winn Auditorium in the Birley Centre also provides a versatile space with an acoustically designed 160-seater auditorium with sprung floor.
The academic drama department delivers a Year 9 programme to all pupils. Drama is a popular option at GCSE and A-level.
The academic course is geared towards the study of drama, but the highlight for most drama pupils is the practical work. A-level productions at the end of the Lent term alongside GCSE performances in the summer term are of an extraordinarily high standard, with many pupils opting to be assessed for design elements including set, costume, lighting and sound, resulting in polished performances with very high production values. The aim is not only to entertain an audience but to provide thought-provoking presentations too.
"Drama is like life but with the dull bits cut out"
Beyond the Classroom
The College has enjoyed a long and distinguished reputation for drama productions which involve pupils from all year groups or houses.
Every pupil in their first term at the school walks the stage in the annual Year 9 House Drama Festival that involves a wide range of styles and genres.
All pupils have the opportunity to be involved with the major production in the Michaelmas term. Previous productions include A Chorus Line, A Christmas Carol, Evita, Godspell, Love You Because, Macbeth, In the Still of the Night and Twelfth Night.
The summer sees the Lower Sixth form bonding as they make an outdoor production come to life in the Dell Theatre in just ten days at the end of term. Usually about half the year group take part. Previous productions range from the comic to the absurd, from the intellectual to the downright silly.
The College Theatre also features as an important venue on the small-scale professional touring circuit. College Theatre supports a wide-ranging programme of professional companies, many of whom offer workshops to accompany their performances.
The College also offers Arts Awards to give pupils an exciting new creative qualification. Sixth formers can follow a creative path in a number of different directions and whichever route they choose to follow, be it via art, dance, design, drama, music, photography or textiles, they are supported by an adviser and creative mentor.
Recent OE TV, film and stage roles
Ed Speleers: Outlander (2018), Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Beowulf (2016), Downton Abbey (2012-2014)
Ben Deery: And Then There Were None (2016)
Hugh Skinner: Mamma Mia! Here we go again (2018), W1A (2017) The Windsors (2016), Poldark (2016),
George Tomsett: selected to join the National Youth Theatre in 2016
James Ross (Lower Sixth): Old Boys (2016)