We aim to offer Scholars a wide education of the best that is in the drama canon: Shakespeare, Miller, Tennessee Williams, Bennett, Stoppard (to name but a few) are at the core of what the School does.  Dean Close believes strongly in stretching Scholars, not only in internal productions, but also in taking them to see the very best theatre available.  Visits to the RSC in Stratford and to Malvern and London are frequent.  The School’s own theatre company, Close Up Theatre, plays in the Edinburgh Festival annually and Sixth Formers direct several Studio productions each year, by invitation.

    There are visits, talks and masterclasses from outstanding actors each year:  in recent years, Judi Dench, Sam West, Jeremy Irons, Nigel Havers, Jamie Parker, Julian Fellowes and Dominic West have visited.

    We place great importance on preparing Scholars for entry to drama schools.  In the last six years, Sixth Formers have been offered places or scholarships at RADA, LAMDA, Central School of Speech & Drama, Mountview, Rose Bruford and at good universities and other specialist schools.

    Scholars are expected to take individual Speech and Drama lessons from a teacher in the Department and study GCSE Drama and A level Theatre Studies (usually).  They should show qualities of enthusiasm and motivation for drama in their peer groups and their Houses and demonstrate an appropriate and selfless attitude in the context of casting and participation.  They would attend all performances of School, House and other drama, including all theatre trips where invited and be a strong presence in the Drama Studio and in the Bacon Theatre.

    For Scholarship candidates will be required to prepare a speech from Shakespeare and a speech from a play by a major 20th or 21st century playwright, both of no fewer than 20 lines.  The speeches should be learnt by heart and delivered as a performance.  They will also expect to be interviewed about both plays, and be asked to consider different interpretations of the speeches by the Director of Drama.  The session will also include a performance of an unseen passage.

    There will be a written paper of 45 minutes which will contain a choice of questions about their personal experience of performance – either ones they have given or seen.

    There will be an interview of 15 minutes with the Director of Drama in which candidates will be expected to talk convincingly about their commitment to theatre and their enthusiasms.  While we realise that at this level, experience can be limited, we will expect some degree of knowledge and enthusiasm for theatre beyond West End musicals, and each candidate will be expected to have read and seen at least one play by Shakespeare; they will be asked about all aspects of the performance, for example, the acting, the set, the design.