Drama, Film and Media

An Introduction from Jeremy Taylor, Director of Drama

Noël Coward famously advised against a career on the stage, but at Abingdon School no amount of sensible advice can deter students from entering the arts. Abingdon has long been known as the alma mater of rock band Radiohead, actors Toby Jones, Tom Hollander and comedian David Mitchell, but now new generations of Abingdon actors, writers, directors, filmmakers, comedians and musicians are making their names. All have benefited from Abingdon’s twenty-year commitment to drama as a key part of its curriculum. More...

  • Where: G101, Geography Department
  • When: Monday, 1.10 - 1.55 pm
  • Who: Lower School
  • i/c: ICF

Aimed primarily at the Lower School, this clubs watches and discusses recent and topical TV documentaries. No one particular genre of documentary is favoured but rather a wide variety - historical, cultural, geographical, economic, natural history and the topical. Hopefully awareness is increased about the world around us.

  • Where: Drama Department
  • When: Wednesday afternoons, 2.30 – 5.00 pm throughout the year, and at other times as required (e.g. some Saturdays)
  • Who: 3-VI
  • i/c: JHT

The Abingdon Film Unit was formed in 2003. Since then its members have produced over 100 short films, a number of which have won awards and been screened at the National Film Theatre in London, and at festivals in France, Sweden, Hong Kong and throughout the UK. The Unit enables students to make their own films under the guidance of industry professionals. Please note: membership is offered to boys in Third Year and above after a process of applications and interviews that take place during the summer term for entry in September.

Once accepted, students become members of the Film Unit for the whole year. Films are researched and planned in the first part of the Michaelmas term; shooting usually begins around October; editing occupies much of the Lent term. The finished films are screened in May.

Members of the Unit can also be invited to make films for others, whether within the school or the wider community. They can also undertake special film projects abroad. AFU members have made films in Cambodia, Moldova, China and Hong Kong, for example.

Trips may also be organized to cinemas, exhibitions or film studios.

You can view material on the Abingdon Film Unit website.

  • Where: Amey Theatre
  • When: Wednesday afternoons: 2.30 – 5.00pm; at other times by arrangement
  • Who: 4 – VI
  • i/c: NJML

Members gain experience of all aspects of technical theatre from the design stages to implementation. They are regularly involved in the preparation and running of drama productions, concerts, school events and external hires. Wednesday afternoons are put aside for the main bulk of the work but due to the large number of events, much of the work happens on other afternoons, evenings and weekends and therefore a high level of commitment is required.

Where: M111
When: Wednesdays period 7/8
Who: 3rd Year and above
i/c: JTT

We will investigate several aspects of digital SLR photography, including: technical settings (aperture, ISO, etc.) and the effect they have; technique (e.g. lighting, focus effects); post-processing on a computer. We will have a test camera to use, but students will get the most out of the activity if they are able to bring and use their own DSLRs.

  • Where: Amey Theatre
  • When: Monday Period 8
  • Who: 4th Year and above
  • i/c: RP

Join us to watch, discuss and review films. We will watch a rich variety of films in different genres - including classic and more modern films, documentary, foreign language, short and archive film. If watching, discussing and reviewing films appeals to you join us! You'll be able to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of film, and may even be inspired to write a script or make a film of your own. 

  • Where: Drama Studio, Ingham Room or CMR
  • When: Monday lunchtimes and / or Wednesday afternoons and other times as required
  • Who: Lower School

Lower School pupils have an opportunity to take part in an annual drama production in the Amey Theatre at the end of the Michaelmas term. Rehearsals for this generally take place once a week, either on Monday lunchtimes or Wednesday afternoons during the first term, but as the production draws closer, rehearsals will take place at other times by arrangement. The venue for rehearsals varies but is usually one of the departmental teaching spaces such as the Drama Studio on the top floor of the Arts Centre. Other opportunities include a weekly monologue workshop in the Lent term which offers those interested in applying for an Abingdon drama scholarship the chance for one-to-one coaching. In the summer term, there is a weekly drama and theatre arts workshop which introduces theatre arts such as lighting, sound design, puppetry, masks, stage and set design, alongside performance-based skills such as mime and stage combat.

  • Where: Amey Theatre, Drama Studio
  • When: 5.15pm – 7.00pm (rehearsals) usually two or three times a week, and at other times as required, Michaelmas Term
  • Who: Pupils in 3rd Year
  • i/c: JHTBJLP, JCM

Abingdon's Middle School covers Years 9, 10 and 11 (or 3rd, 4th and 5th years). Pupils in 4th year and above are usually eligible for Abingdon's range of senior productions but for those in 3rd year, there is an annual play that rehearses in the Michaelmas term and is usually performed in the Amey Theatre in early December. Details and auditions are usually announced in September.

  • Where: Amey Theatre, Drama Studio and venues at St Helen’s
  • When: 5.15pm – 7.00pm (rehearsals), two to three times a week, and at other times as required, Michaelmas Term and first half of Lent Term
  • Who: Pupils in 4, 5, L6 and VI at Abingdon and St Helen’s
  • i/c: JHTBJLPJCM at Abingdon and Jo Watt, Libby Jewitt, Ash Verjee at SHSK

The number of opportunities for boys in 4th Year and above to take part in extra-curricular drama productions with their counterparts at St Helen’s continues to grow.

Senior plays usually take place in the early part of the Lent term to allow students to concentrate on exams thereafter. Things generally start in earnest in September, when students can choose to audition for one production from a range that may include a large-scale musical as well as a number of straight plays with varying cast sizes. Each year we aim to present a variety of challenging pieces ranging from established classics to recent or new work. Rehearsals take place after school with performances commonly in late January or early February. There are also rehearsed readings of plays written by students in the summer term or early in September. Those who wish to stage their own productions are invited to bring their proposals to the drama department staff in May/June of the year before, when we do our best to accommodate them in the programme for the following year. Senior productions often tour to the Edinburgh Festival during August and there have also been trips outside the UK such as an expedition to see a production by Peter Brook at the Bouffe du Nord in Paris, or a trip to Japan to study Bunraku puppetry and perform a devised piece.

  • When: Tuesday period 8
  • Who: 4th Year and above
  • i/c: SAP

Pupils will have the opportunity to practice scenes and/or whole plays in French, German or Spanish, with one teacher per language. They will have a lot of input in terms of both the choice of material and the style of production, and can choose whether or not to perform what they rehearse for a larger audience towards the end of the year. Doing theatre work like this in another language can greatly improve fluency and confidence, and will be a lot of fun.

  • Where: B9
  • Who: Sixth Form
  • When: Monday P8
  • i/c: KJB

An exciting new activity, beginning this year, aimed at Sixth Form students with a passion for theatre (not necessarily Drama or English students). We will be covering a range of texts, from contemporary comedies such as 'One Man, Two Guvnors' by Richard Bean and 'Bouncers' by John Godber to older texts such as 'A School for Scandal' by Sheridan.

  • Where: A214
  • Who: Lower School
  • When: Thursday, 4pm - 5pm
  • i/c: SCVM

Lower School Podcasting Club is a new venture into the realms of broadcast media.

Definition: A podcast is a digital medium that consists of an episodic series of digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.

In the club we aim to explore the medium of radio programme production, the most popular format to date is quiz making.

  • Where: A214
  • Who: 3rd Year
  • When: Wednesday, P8
  • i/c: SCVM

3rd Year Podcasting Club is a new venture into the realms of broadcast media.

Definition: A podcast is a digital medium that consists of an episodic series of digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.

In the club we aim to explore the medium of radio programme production, using news casting, sports reporting and possibly even making jingles.

  • Where: Amey Theatre
  • When: Monday Period 8; at other times by arrangement
  • Who: Upper School
  • i/c: NJML

Members are involved in the creative side of technical theatre focusing on the current term's production. The workshop's aim is to give participants an idea into the design aspects of technical theatre which is then applied in the Wednesday afternoon Amey Theatre Technical Crew activity.