The annual Interhouse Drama Competition normally sees pupils from across all year groups in the 10 Middle School Houses battle it out in the QET to win the coveted Macfadyen Shield, named in honour of Old Oakhamian actor, Matthew Macfadyen (92). This year the show still went on, albeit with some changes to the format and all taking place virtually.
“Instead of a group performance including pupils from across each House, we challenged pupils in different year group bubbles to take part in a series of monologues,” says Director of Drama, Gilly Norell. “Everyone was given the same stimuli of a selection of Shakespeare and contemporary monologues. The task was to use them as inspiration to create their own monologues or to re-invent them playing with the original text.”
The result was impressive, with all 10 Houses taking part and all entries streamed out to the Houses to watch. Understandably, many of the submissions focused on how the pandemic has impacted their lives – their own experiences of lockdown. Others included Shakespeare monologues and there was also a submission that focused on the life of Lee Harvey Oswald.
All of the entries were judged by the Director of Drama and Miss Sarah Murphy, teacher of Drama. Whilst all were excellent, Chapmans were declared this year’s winners. “We felt that as well as their monologues being inventive and imaginative, they had ‘gone the extra mile’. They were incredibly creative in their filming techniques, creating real atmosphere for the viewer,” says Gilly.
“Overall, we were incredibly impressed by the quality of the pupils’ writing, and there were some outstanding performances too,” concludes Gilly. “It was uplifting to see the beginnings of ‘theatre’ back in Oakham after so many months without it.”
The Drama Department continues to be extremely busy this term. As well as the Macfadyen Shield, Drama Scholars are currently rehearsing for their Scholars Production of Douglas Maxwell’s Decky does a Bronco. Pupils are also preparing for their LAMDA examinations in November, which they are still able to take due to the continuation of Oakham’s LAMDA lessons, virtually, both during lockdown and over the summer months.