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Year 9’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

There was woodland wooing, ricocheting relationships and impish merrymaking aplenty when our Year 9 Drama students directed their very own productions of Shakespeare’s comedy.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a tale of order and chaos, appearance and reality, love and marriage, set in a forest of fairies, amid magic spells and people who transform into animals. One of Shakespeare’s finest comedies, the play is ripe with slapstick and mayhem, making it the perfect choice for our Year 9 Drama students’ self-directed performance.

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As part of their assessment this term, Ms Cookson and Ms Oakley’s Year 9 Drama students were challenged to stage and direct their own productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Drama Studio. The students were given carte blanche to choose a scene from the play and make their own decisions about costuming and stagecraft. A particular highlight for the students was the opportunity to raid the Costume Department at the Independent Theatre!

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Shakespeare’s use of language is one of the reasons he is such an important figure in English literature, but for modern-day students, unfamiliar with his use of iambic pentameter and figurative language, Shakespeare can be challenging. Of course, the Bard wasn’t deliberately writing his plays to confuse students 400 years in the future, his aim was simply to entertain his audiences. For our Year 9 students, one of the biggest hurdles in approaching this assessment was familiarising themselves with Shakespeare’s use of rhythm and intonation, ensuring that they understood the nuances of each sentence. This meant taking time to interpret the metaphors, puns and allusions that Shakespeare is so fond of in order to enrich their performances.

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The Drama Department were thrilled with all the students’ productions, as was Dr Scott, who popped in to watch some of Ms Oakley’s students enact their scenes.

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Across the board, each performance was a joyful explosion of colour, chaos and celebration, with students making fantastic use of the stage and showcasing a wide range of physical skills and techniques to enhance their characters’ attitudes and situations.

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Head of Drama, Ms Crittle was blown away by the standard of the performances. “Shakespeare can be daunting for anyone, let alone when you are in Year 9! It takes tremendous courage to get up on stage and perform in front of your peers and all our students were exceptional, not only in the way they mastered the language, but also their physicality and the way in which they used the stage. They should all be extremely proud of their performances.”

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In the words of Helena, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Well done Year 9!

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