By Phil King, Director of Drama, Dance and Bedales Arts Programme
It was with a great sense of pride in recent Bedales drama and theatre studies graduates that I went to see Eve Allin’s play Charge performed at University of Warwick over the long leave weekend.
When here at Bedales, as drama Don, Eve won a major award at the National Student Drama Festival for reviewing live theatre and acted in, wrote, directed and assistant directed wonderful work while she was here. Eve was a student who made the most of the panoply of theatrical options on offer here and Charge itself was part of the National Theatre New Views enrichment course.
The National Theatre said of Eve’s final draft that it was “a play with a great sense of the visual dimension, playing with fire and light both literally and metaphorically” and this excitement was captured in a converted Chemistry lecture theatre for the recent staging. Seeing Charge as part of the week-long festival, Fresh Fest, offered me a chance to witness the energy, passion and drive great universities and great university students have for their subjects. In an age where finance seems to sadly dominate most discussions about higher education watching a focussed army of directors, producers, technicians, actors and writers put on eight plays (that had to win a competition even to get to that point, selected by other students running the societies behind the scenes) was hugely heartening.
Even more heartening was watching Eve not only holding her own but being master of her world as a sharp-elbowed and highly knowledgeable first year (who is having to be highly selective of her drama courses to avoid repetition of the grounding she received whilst with us). Well done Eve, from all of us. We very much look forward to you making your mark, first on Warwick and then beyond.
Inspired by their stimulus of ‘Space and Time’ Block 5 students recently performed their BAC devised pieces and the two groups took radically different paths.
The first piece, after looking at the David Bowie song Space Oddity, was an exploration of addiction, mental illness and loss, while the second investigated the lives of the astronauts that walked on the moon after looking at the book Moondust.
While both groups utilised physical theatre and naturalism to explore their themes, their narrative styles were markedly different. The first group devised three distinct vignettes that shared themes, while the second group chose to present a more linear narrative, seen through the eyes of the interviewer (who wrote the biographical novel) who witnessed the moon landing on television.
Both groups’ ingenuity, theatrical awareness and talent were clear throughout their pieces, which were evidence of how interesting and distinct devised pieces can be, even when ostensibly based entirely on the same stimulus.
Last weekend I spent Saturday with my A2 devising group polishing off a first draft performance to show to Alex Turner of theatre group non zero one the following day. Having received feedback from Phil King early on Sunday morning we felt, as a group, confident to AMAZE Alex with our 20-minute play. Vincent, Freya, Charlie and I got straight up and performed our piece to Alex. We then sat with him and discussed certain aspects: volume, physicality, structure etc. He gave us useful feedback, which we frantically tried to note down at the same time as getting back on stage and re-creating certain scenes. We walked out of the theatre feeling refreshed and excited with our pages and pages of to-do lists, ready to produce some INCREDIBLE theatre. The weekend was a HUGE success and anyone would be MAD to miss the A2 Theatre Studies Performances next week – they are going to be INSANE. Free tickets for Thursday 30 and Friday 31 at 7.30pm in the Bedales Olivier Theatre from firstname.lastname@example.org or 01730 711511.
Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.