St. John’s Shakespeare in Schools Report
4 in a Row and then Number 11!
This year (October 2015) saw our fourth Shakespeare performance with S.S.F (Shakespeare Schools Festival). Macbeth being our first, closely followed by the Tempest, Othello and most recently Romeo and Juliet. All performed at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford.
We really have a seasoned and experienced company of actors/performers now!
As you can see from our S.S.F critical appraisal our Romeo and Juliet performance was particularly well received.
So much so that, this year, we were invited to Number 11 Downing Street to present a scene from our production (Balcony scene). What an accolade for the school but especially for our young performers.
What a day it was!
- 12.30am- Leave for number 11 (sit in the bus in Embankment traffic)
- 2.00pm- Arrive at Downing Street
- 2.05pm- Through the double security checks
- 2.10pm- Park the school bus opposite Number 11
- 2.20 pmInto Number 11 (more security checks), Check in phones, keys, cameras etc.
- 2.30pm- Meet the S.S.F staff
- 3.00pm- Rehearsal in performance space (our actors quickly adapting to the necessary changes)
- 3.330pm- Dress rehearsal 1 linked with the other four schools involved
- 4.00pm- Break
- 4.30pm- Dress rehearsal 2
- 5.00pm- Tea in the ‘State Room’ for the performers and staff (where a well-wisher for the performance made a point of welcoming us, a certain George Osborne, who had been in conference next door)
- 6.30pm- Last minute prep. The Guests arrive (MPs, Heads of Industry and Commerce)
- 7.15pm- Introduction of Guest VIPs by S.S.F. leader.
Welcome speech by Frances Osborne (Wife to George)
Opening Statement by Nikky Morgan (Secretary of State for Education)
Concerning the importance of children performing Shakespeare.
- 7.30pm- Performance (at which our students excelled)
- 8.15pm- Closing speeches
Sir Nicholas Hytner
Patron of S.S.F- Head of Royal Shakespeare Company
Famous Film/Theatre Director
(Extract from Sir Nicholas Hytner speech)
“Well, turning to St. Johns School with the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. What a fresh and original setting with a focussed and wonderfully controlled approach. They achieved a real sense of romantic pathos creating real drama tension for us as an audience….”
This was followed by a mingling of guests, possible sponsors and cast members, where the students talked to MPs, dignitaries and Heads of Commerce and Industry.
So proud of them!
Then it was back to the school bus, through security once more and home! With a group of exhausted but elated performers.
Many thanks to Dave K (Romeo), Isobel (Juliet) and Dana(Nurse) and their families for all the extra hard work.
Particular thanks to Mrs Silver for her additional time and support.
All in all a wonderful opportunity for the school and an experience that our three performers and indeed the rest of us will never forget.
Mr Stefan Karwacinski
Head of Performing Arts at St. John’s
The balcony scene