Junior Drama Competition

SCHOOL PLAYS - Junior Drama Competition, 22nd March 1956

The aim of the competition is to encourage the boys' efforts in dramatic work and to give experience on a stage in front of an audience. Details of the finalists appear in the cast lists.

The plays were produced by a boy from each form, but Mr. Clarke, who directed the proceedings, Mr. Plenderleith, who painted the sets, and Mr. Armstrong, the stage manager, contrived, with good effect, to overcome the difficulties created by the absence of curtains and back cloths. Mr. Easom was visibly in charge of the lighting, while Mr. Gosden, the business manager, and Mr. Richardson, make-up, worked behind the scenes.

The adjudicators had a difficult task in deciding on the winning cast and this in itself is a tribute to the efforts of all three forms. The main points that were looked for were movement, expression, suggestion of character, maintenance of interest or tension, and humour.

Movement about the stage was usually good in particular, il high standard was reached by some of the "female" character, when one bears in mind their inexperience. Occasionally positioning was poor and too much movement by an actor in the background drew the attention of the audience away from the central figure.

One mistake junior actors often make is to gabble their lines, particularly when they are trying to convey excitement or annoyance. In each of the three plays there was this tendency although audibility was generally good, especially in the 2A play.

Characters in one-act plays are not usually the easiest to portray because they are shallow to begin with. However, one felt that in all the plays the boys made every effort to identify themselves with the part they were playing. The characters in The Old Bull were rather more clearly defined than in the other two plays and consequently the struggle between individuals was more apparent to the audience.

Both Queer Street and Anybody relied to a large extent on timing to maintain interest and on a humorous twist to provide the climax. Experience alone ensures the success of such a play and both IC and 2B gave very creditable performances.

The Old Bull the only play without humour, naturally presented a more difficult task to young actors than did those plays whose spirit of fun was so adequately conveyed to the audience. This last play demanded a detailed portrayal of character and a careful preparation for the climax

After some discussion, it was decided to award the trophy to Form IIA for their performance in The Old Bull, because the adjudicators felt that the factors already mentioned demanded a more mature approach on the part of the cast than was required for the other plays.

One of the features of the evening's entertainment was the obvious enjoyment of their acting by the different casts, who all worked together as a team. Perhaps for this reason, no individual performance was thought sufficiently outstanding to merit an award to one actor. Finally it may be added that the "festival" as a whole reflected a considerable enthusiasm for drama amongst the boys-whether they were in the casts or not-and the final performances upon a stage lacking nearly all those aids thought essential to stimulate a proper "suspension of disbelief" suggests that the future for the School's drama is bright indeed.


A short musical recital presented by the choir and several solo instrumentalists served as an interlude during the Drama Competition

At the piano T. B. Hyde gave a spirited rendering of Danse Kresse, by Tchaikowsky and, in contrasting, quieter mood, A. J. Hymas interpreted sensitively two movements from Capriol Suite by Warlock.

T. O'Brien's violin solo Siciliana and Rigaudon by Kreisler, was most pleasing, and O'Brien showed a remarkable degree of expression for a boy of his age. On the recorder P. Wallis played in accomplished style Purcell's Fairest Isle.

The choir sang with enthusiasm The Music Makers, a lively piece by Martin Shaw. The recital was brought to a rousing conclusion by the choir's singing of The Crocodile, a sailor's yarn, by Sharpe, expertly arranged by Mr. James. Members of the audience may have doubted the existence of a crocodile that "measured five hundred miles," but surely they had no doubt about the wealth of musical talent in the School.

1956 School Magazine


Dr. Watson's Retirement

Photos of Staff


Junior Common Room (1963)