An Introduction from Ben Phillips, Director of Drama
We are very lucky at Abingdon to have the support of a full time technical and design team, who help our talented actors produce first-rate extra curricular productions at all levels of the school. We are pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for every year-group to be involved in an extra curricular production every year, and in recent years have tackled everything from Shakespeare to brand new pieces of writing specially commissioned for the school.
We are fortunate to work in collaboration with local girls’ school St Helen and St Katharine on most of our senior drama productions, which often include large-scale musicals. We enjoy the use of the beautiful 450-seater Amey Theatre, but our two purpose-built drama studios give us the versatility to produce more intimate pieces of theatre too.
Recent productions include:
- 2017: Black River Bridge
- 2016: Treasure Island
(Both of the above specially commissioned for the school, written and adapted by Andy Cargill)
- 2015: Calamaties: A Sketch Show
- 2017: B12: A School Story
- 2016: And Then There Weren’t Any Left
(Both of the above specially commissioned for the school, written by OA Edward Rowett)
- 2015: Brainstorm
- 2018: Fiddler on the Roof (@ SHSK), A Matter of Life and Death
- 2017: London Road, Much Ado About Nothing (@ SHSK)
- 2016: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Anything Goes (@ SHSK)
- 2015: Les Miserables
- November 2018: Lord of the Flies (Middle School)
- February 2019: Loserville (Senior)
In addition to our major productions, we have also recently taken part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival in collaboration with Fitzharrys as part of the Abingdon In Partnership project, and have also taken part in the National Theatre’s New Views playwriting programme, allowing aspiring playwrights to enter their own scriptwriting into a competition that sees the winner’s play staged for a public audience at the National Theatre.
There are also opportunities for pupils to be involved in the technical side of theatre, assisting with the lighting, sound, costume and stage-management in our productions.
Several OAs have chosen to go on to drama school in recent years, with leavers successfully winning places to study at RADA, LAMDA, Central School of Speech and Drama, Italia Conti, and New York’s Julliard School.
In 2003, Abingdon established a film unit (AFU) to enable students to learn filmmaking from a team of industry professionals led by a renowned British documentary maker, the late Michael Grigsby (OA). Since then, AFU members have made nearly one hundred and fifty short films, many of which have won awards and emboldened an ever growing number of alumni to move into film and television after school. These include the film directors Sam Johnson, Tian Ji, Will Mcdowell, Tom Wakeling and Alex Ingham Brooke, the broadcasters Tom Swarbrick and Tom Bateman and the artist Matt Copson.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Amey Theatre for one of our productions soon.
Ben Phillips, Director of Drama, September 2018