Oh Yes She Did! Balancing Panto Performances and School Life

Oh Yes She Did! Balancing Panto Performances and School Life

We recently sat down for a chat with Mollie, a First Form pupil who just finished performing in a local production of The Wizard of Oz as Head of the Flying Monkeys. She spent four months rehearsing for the show, and spoke to us about what that was like and the challenge of making it work alongside her School commitments.

What first sparked your interest in Drama?

At my primary school, there was a theatre club which I really enjoyed because I would get to do acting, singing, dancing and all sorts! I just love to be on stage and to perform.

Have you ever been in a play or panto before?

Yes, I’ve been doing pantos for about five years. I started when I was in Year Three, but Head of the Flying Monkeys is by biggest part so far. Next year, we’re doing Beauty and the Beast and I’d love to get one of the main roles. I’d be happy with a small part too though because I’d still get to be a part of the panto.

what was the audition process like?

Everyone who auditions gets a part because it’s a community panto, so it’s not too stressful. You start off by learning one of the songs that will be in the show, and then you get split into groups depending on whether you’ve performed before or if you’re new. If you’re new, they won’t give you a lot of speaking to do, but if you’re older and more experienced, they give you quite a bit. If you want to have a main role, you have to have a singing part in it as well, which means an audition with the Music Director. You can perform any song you like which shows your style of singing. I don’t have singing lessons but I have piano lessons and like to sing along when I’m playing.

What have you most enjoyed about the rehearsal process?

I really enjoyed going in and seeing all my primary school friends who aren’t at Bloxham, and making new friends too. It’s adults in the panto as well as children, and I do it with my mum and brother. It’s quite cool because we get to see all the ages going through the panto. Some people are really experienced and have been doing it for twenty-five years! My brother was Guardian of the Goats because, as he’s in Third Form, he doesn’t have as much time to rehearse. My mum is from up North and she’s got a bit of an accent, so they made her the Canny Witch of the North-East which was funny!

How much did you have to rehearse?

In the first few weeks, we just rehearsed on a Sunday and we had our scripts with us and were just getting into it, but as it got closer, I started having to go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s when we didn’t have our scripts and were doing it off by heart. As the show got closer, we rehearsed every day except Friday and I got really tired after a while. The rehearsals were very hard work. Mrs Bridge and my teachers were really nice about it though. With my prep, I had to email all my teachers asking for extensions. It felt good because if I struggled with doing the work, they were really understanding and knew it was for a reason.

Are you feeling settled into Bloxham? What has been the best thing you’ve done here so far?

I’ve made so many new friends. It feels like I’ve been here for ages even though it has only been a few months. It’s really nice here and is a very welcoming school. Because it’s small, you get to know every single person in your year. I like that there are only twice as many people here as in my primary school. It did feel a bit weird going into the different lessons but I’ve got used to it and now I love it. The best thing is the art! Since joining, I’ve improved with my art and I’ve started really enjoying it both here and at home. I can express myself through my art, and if I get annoyed at something I just go and draw and it calms me down. I’m a day girl at the moment but in Second Form I’m going to start boarding. I feel good about that because I’ve had a few tries and they went really well. Everyone is so nice and just welcomes you in.

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