This term Oakham’s talented Drama Scholars took on the challenge of The Cripple of Inishmaan – a hilariously dark comedy by Martin McDonagh.
“Our goal is to continuously push our Drama Scholars – to develop their skills and talents through challenging pieces that really stretch them,” says Director of Drama, Gilly Norell. “The Cripple of Inishmaan is not only a dark comedy, which requires pupils to deliver their lines with impeccable timing, but it also demands all the actors to master convincing southern Irish accents.”
Catherine Weate, a talented voice and dialect coach, ran a workshop at Oakham to help the actors develop their voices and accents in readiness for their roles. Catherine has coached actors in West End productions such as Dirty Dancing and The King’s Speech, and her numerous television coaching credits include Downton Abbey and Siblings. Her previous roles include Head of Voice at Rose Bruford College and Head of Examinations at LAMDA.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for our young actors to learn about the science and precision of speaking with a different accent from an expert in the field,” adds Gilly. “This is just one of the excellent examples of how we equip our pupils with skills that will far outlast their time at school.”
The Scholars all shone in their performances – delighting the audiences with their talents. To name just a few; Sam Riley portrayed the crippled orphan Billy Claven with a talent beyond his years, whilst Charlotte Wilson brought the character of Mammy to life with expert comic timing.
“Kitty was phenomenal in creating Johnnypateenmike, the elderly village gossip,” describes Gilly. “She showcased her skills as a character actor – and one with a real flair for comedy. This is particularly striking when you contrast this to her performance as Roxie Hart in Chicago back in December. This alone shows why we, at Oakham, offer such a diverse range of plays to our young actors - it is so they can really develop and hone their talents.”