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Langley Grammar School

Langley Grammar School

Shakespeare Schools Festival 

On the 16th November, after months of preparation, the A-level drama students went on a trip to Henley to perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

This article was written by Tharushi Wijesiriwardena in year 12.

The Shakespeare schools festival is the largest youth drama festival in the world - an evening of celebration for not only the works of Shakespeare but the acting talent of the children performing too. Only a couple of years ago, LGS had the honour of performing in front of the Queen, so the bar was set high for our performance. Two other schools also performed on the night, Barnados school with ‘the Merchant of Venice’ and Beaconsfield Girls school with a musical rendition of ‘A Winter’s Tale’. Despite it being the first time many of us had performed in a professional theatre, with a paying audience, our comic piece was met with great laughter and support from an audience of our families and friends.

As we filed onto the school coach that morning, we all sat excitedly, in anticipation for the day to come. We had spent so long rehearsing our performance that we could hardly believe that the day had arrived! The morning was spent warming up with Tasha (a member of the Shakespeare schools company) and doing dress and tech rehearsals. It was amazing to finally see our piece coming to life with the help of professional sound and music. Surprisingly, when it was time for our actual performance, we felt very comfortable on stage and nobody was particularly nervous. Finally, every element that was missing during our classroom rehearsals was present: the costumes, the sound, lighting and of course, the audience. It was an exhilarating experience to perform in front of so many people and for such a great cause. Taking part in the Shakespeare schools festival not only cultivated our ever-growing appreciation for Shakespeare’s plays but our love of performing too.

Upon completion of the play we also recived the following appraisal. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream by Langley Grammar School at The Kenton Theatre, 16/11/2017

Appraised by Natasha Rickman

I would like to offer sincere thanks and congratulations to Langley Grammar School for your wonderful production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as part of the 2017 Shakespeare Schools Festival. Students and teachers alike have put hard work, imagination, determination and passion into this production, and were a credit to the school. I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few fantastic moments that you should be especially proud of.

This was a punchy, stylised Midsummer Night's Dream. I loved the idea of the chess set, with pieces magically coming to life to tell the story before freezing again. Your use of the ensemble was excellent: having the company on stage the whole time gave us beautiful stage pictures.

I also loved the style you found - creating props just with the quality of movement you gave to gestures worked beautifully and gave the piece an elegant and elevated style.

You spoke the text with passion and a clear understanding of meaning and story. This comprehension allowed you to find a real lightness of touch with the text, and your characters had great speed of thought- it was great to see a young company achieve this with such dexterity.

You were professional and mature throughout your workshop and tech and have been a pleasure to work with. You clearly have a great relationship with your teacher-director and that enjoyment of the process came across in the piece.

Thank you for a punchy, passionate and playful Midsummer Night's Dream.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this superb production. I hope to see Langley Grammar School in the Festival again next year.

Natasha Rickman