Bewitching Entertainment at House Drama Competition

Thursday evening's House Drama competition was a great event- congratulations to all those involved on making it such a fun evening for everyone!

Last night saw all the Houses come together to compete in Bloxham's second annual House Drama competition, with each House presenting a group piece and a monologue based on stories by Roald Dahl. The competition was judged by Actor in Residence Luke Rollason and guest professional actress Annie Marcusson (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, National Theatre), who had been running workshops during the day based on Frantic Assembly's physical theatre and devising method for those students involved in the competition .

There was an energetic and supportive atmosphere in the Great Hall, with the whole school turning out to watch the competition. After kicking off with Egerton's energetic rendition of The Twits, highlights of the first half included Sam Deeley's domineering solo performance as Mrs Trunchbull and Raymond House's excellent ensemble work, effectively conveying a crane, a growing granny and a coop of chickens in their quick-fire George's Marvellous Medicine.

Following the break, Emma did a fantastic job getting the attention of a restless audience in her solo performance, and later shone as the Centipede in a physically impressive performance in Wilberforce's James and the Giant Peach. Emma was followed by Seymour's production of The BFG, which made the most of a somewhat raucous audience with entertaining characterisations and some crude (and certainly not canon!) innuendo...

Before the judges announced their verdicts, we were entertained by "A Delicious Adventure" in Lower School's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (directed by Charlie and Geneva), judged separately to the other houses and against LAMDA criteria. This was the first time that Lower School had been included in the House Drama competition and they truly excelled themselves, achieving a group distinction mark. Annie was particularly impressed by the naturalistic and touching performances from Ralph (as Charlie Bucket) and Benjamin (as Mr Bucket). Also deserving of a particular mention was Max, who effectively multi-roled as a jar of sweets, Augustus Gloop, and a very talkative table!

After some very difficult decision-making, the results were announced. Runner-up in the "Solo Performance Category" was Emma for Wilberforce, with Max winning first prize for Egerton with his sensitive and subtle portrayal of Danny from Danny, Champion of the World.

Wilberforce also received the accolade of runners-up in the "Group Performance Category" for their skilful ensemble work in James and the Giant Peach. Directed by India and Georgina (who were also given special mentions for their side-splitting performances as Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge), this piece featured some magical set-pieces created through great discipline and teamwork. The winner of this category was Wilson House for their extraordinarily entertaining and inventive performance of The Witches. Featuring truly virtuoso ensemble work, and inspired direction from Ollie (who Annie recommended pursue a career in direction!) this piece blended music with exemplary comic timing and ingenious movement. A particularly memorable moment was the journey of the mouse in the ducts of the hotel, created in the minds of audience purely through the group focus of the ensemble. Ensemble work on such a micro scale is incredibly difficult to accomplish, and Wilson fulfilled the brief of the competition with aplomb. Special mention also goes to James, whose central performance as George in The Witches displayed not only a natural comic talent, but also a genuinely believable character.

Wilberforce were considered to be the winners of the competition overall, for excellence across the categories – requiring the creation of another trophy! All Houses should be very proud of their work, which was all directed and written by the students (with a little help from Roald Dahl). The Drama Department was particularly impressed, and hopes that this good work will continue with the Third Form's production of Blackout for the National Theatre Connections Festival, and the A Level performances taking place later this year.

You can view a full album of photos taken by Bertie Matthew and Robyn during the competition and during the day's rehearsals here.