The Drama Department is a living, breathing organism at Ampleforth. A flurry with actors, directors, dancers, technicians, stage managers, artists and academics, there is something for everybody here.
We aim to help pupils gain the confidence they need to speak publicly, work as a team, think creatively, and express their vision, no matter what career path they choose to follow. We also feel passionately about exposing them to a wide variety of cultural experiences, be it as performers, technicians, or spectators. We do this through our curriculum in the younger years and our co-curricular programme which is open to all years; this includes a range of school plays and musicals, collaborations with other departments, trips to the theatre, visits from renowned practitioners, and back-stage training through our Green Room.
Ampleforth has a strong tradition of outstanding Drama and as we grow, so does our ambition. Those who wish to pursue a career in the arts, as well as those who thrive on the academic rigour of analysing and exploring texts, are invited to study IGCSE Drama and A Level Drama & Theatre: lessons are fast-paced, exciting and challenging. Pupils who enjoy the thrill of performing on stage (or backstage) in large-scale productions will always find a role to suit them in one of our many shows each year, whether it be a musical, a studio performance, Shakespeare, or a contemporary physical theatre piece.
We also offer private LAMDA lessons for pupils who want to stretch themselves further. Our speech and drama coach builds pupils' confidence, perfects their elocution, and stretches their physical creativity. LAMDA exams provide UCAS points and certificates to show pupils' commitment and hard work.
Our theatre offers two diverse acting spaces: the main theatre with its proscenium arch stage, where we stage many of our large-scale productions, and a performance studio black box, a smaller, more intimate space, which combines the flexibility of an open space with an unusual sunken floor that allows for the creation of several levels. The Theatre also houses the ATV Room (Ampleforth Television) where everything from news reports to recordings of productions can be made.
The Green Room
For those interested in the backstage running of the theatre, there is our Friday afternoon Green Room activity. Students help to build the sets, make props, rig lights and run the shows.
Alongside our regular attenders, additional students are drafted in at showtime to prepare make-up and costume. Our full time theatre technician, Michael, is on hand to provide technical support and expertise and encourage students in their projects.
The Green Room society is the more social side of the Theatre and also provides opportunities to work backstage for productions. The Green Room is open every Break and members meet to eat biscuits, drink coffee and talk theatre. Members are expected to be involved with productions, in whatever capacity they most enjoy, throughout the rehearsal process and the show itself.
The Green Room have recently been building their biggest, most exciting sets yet. This is an exciting time to be part of our Theatre! Theatre Laurels are awarded in the Sixth Form to actors and members of the Green Room who have shown a sustained commitment to the Theatre and generously given not only their talent but also their time.
Ampleforth productions have included the following:
- Wind In The Willows
- Into The Woods
- The railway Children
- After Juliet
- The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Cole Porter's Anything Goes
- An Ideal Husband
- Leave it to Psmith
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
- We Will Rock You
- Private Peaceful