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Shakespeare & Drama


Shakespeare Festival fabulous

Thanks to parents and teachers for all their work

The John Colet School Infants Shakespeare Festival has come to a close, with full evening performances and bustling day time shows for proud parents, grandparents and other  visitors.

Each year grade from the very youngest kindergartners (we call it Lower First) to the older Second Class students (Y2) performed segments of a play.  The photos below are of some Second Class students, quietly waiting 'in the wings' to go on stage for their parts in Macbeth.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


5 year olds learning Shakespeare, no drama!

This week in drama classes, our infants students start learning their lines in earnest as they start rehearsing for their Shakespeare Festival  in August. 
Their first term drama classes focused on expression, vocal clarity, gesture and making interesting shapes with their bodies. 
"We've been doing exercises to get them connecting with the language," says drama teacher Zoe Emanuel. 
"And because they say quite a few lines in unison,  team work and acting in chorus has also been part of the mix."
Our Lower First students (Kindergarten) will present "All the world's a Stage", Upper Firsts will be doing "The Tempest" and 2nd classes will do "Macbeth".
The  Primary students have their Shakespeare Festival later in the year.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Tongue twisters and dandelions

It's all about the voice...

Lower First students are learning about voice projection and really enjoy the process with our drama teacher Zoe Emanuel.  Today they pretended to blow the petals off a dandelion, while making clear, loud and hard syllable sounds (no shouting or yelling!).  Then there were tongue twisters - it's harder than you think to say "Mixed Biscuits" five times in a row, clearly.  In another exercise, the children were seeds growing as Miss Emanuel watered them.  Who had the most unusual flowers?
The infants Shakespeare Festival will be held at the school in August, so these early drama lessons get them moving and speaking more confidently, ready to start learning their lines.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Writing & Speaking, Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Preparing for their curtain calls

With exactly one week to their performances, our 6th class students, like the rest of the primary classes, are in a bit of a panic. Nothing serious, mind, just the madness of getting just the right seventies shirt or lace up boots, and then getting them to fit comfortably so everyone can focus on their lines and cues. 
6th class are doing Twelfth Night, set in the 1970s.  Katherine, a student in the class, has been in charge of choreographing the rest of her class to 'In the Navy", with plenty of marching inspired moves.

All the hard work and weeks and weeks of drama coaching has paid off, and all the Primary classes are ready to impress parents and friends at their Glen Street Theatre performances. 

For 6th class, it will be the end of an era.  As Katherine says, it's been really, really fun.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Who killed Hamlet's father?

Pre-Shakespeare Festivities

At Tuesday lunch,  'Hamlet Rolls' were served to the children, and our wonderful catering parents ran a Shakespeare quiz for all:  Hamlet is the prince of what country? Whose ghost visits Hamlet at this castle?  What is Hamlet's girlfriend's name?  How does Hamlet's mother die?  Who killed Hamlet's father?
Thursday, it was 'Portia's Pasta' quiz day. The questions were even trickier.

Treats for the winners and plenty of excited Primary children all in groups brainstorming answers.

Categories: Lunch menus, Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


To the Fish Stall!

A play in Latin

The senior Latin students were snapped this week rehearsing a play, all in Latin, about the goings on during a shopping expedition for a family dinner.
The four minute play, called "To the fish stall!" will be performed on 4th September for the delight and entertainment of two classics teachers who are visiting John Colet School.  One of them is Emily Matters, the head of the Classical Language Teachers' Association.
Proud parents will be welcome to come and watch too!
Students who have completed the Spelling course study Latin.  These senior classes are taken each week by the Headmaster.  Linguistically, Latin underpins much of English and is therefore an excellent additional subject.  As it doesn't involve a different alphabet and has a simpler grammar than Sanskrit, the students find it relatively easy to learn.

Categories: Writing & Speaking, Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


6th class shakes up Shakespeare

Their performances aren’t until the end of October, but our senior students are well underway with rehearsals for their Shakespeare Festival.
6th class students have been learning their lines since just before the holidays.  They’re now rehearsing script free, four to five hours a week during class time. 
This year, they are doing a 90 minute version of Twelfth Night, with each student having around 60 lines each.  This, their final Festival, will showcase all the skills they’ve developed over seven years of Shakespeare productions. 
By this stage, the students are making a lot of the decisions themselves: who plays what part, what the theme should be, what music to use, what props and costumes.   Two girls are even choreographing the dance routines.

Class teacher Diane Renshaw and specialist drama teacher Zoe Emanuel are focusing on getting everyone really engaging with their lines, and aiding the story telling through inflections, mannerisms, timing and actions.  For example, the 70s theme requires looser, less classical gestures, and a somewhat more modern tone to the original lines. 
The photos below show a typical rehearsal up the front of the classroom at this stage of the production timeline.


Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Down to the details

Lower Firsts get ready for Shakespeare

Our youngest pupils were snapped this week rehearsing in the lead up to their Shakespeare Festival.   

Now that they’ve nailed their lines, specialist drama teacher Zoe Emanuel is focusing the children on details such as cues, entrances, exits, blocking and gestures.

The Infants Shakespeare Festival is on at the school from the 20th to 24th August.

Here, some of the Lower First students rehearse Speak the Speech - snippets of five Shakespeare plays including Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Midsummer’s Night Dream and the witches’ scene from Macbeth.

Categories: Lower First news (Kindy), Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet

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