Success of Shakespeare show from Dartford Grammar School

This Is Local London: Pupils in dress rehearsal. Photo credit: James Bonner Pupils in dress rehearsal. Photo credit: James Bonner

Dartford Grammar School staged a successful 30-minute performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival at the Mick Jagger Centre.

Other schools performing on the night were Grange Park School who performed Macbeth, Northumberland Heath Primary School who performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream and St Catherine’s Catholic School for Girls who performed Much Ado About Nothing.

Rehearsals for Hamlet took place every week for two months in order to get the performance as good as possible and this certainly paid off as Dartford Grammar School put on a stunning performance featuring fantastic acting, excellent lighting that set the scene and tone perfectly, a superb ensemble and terrific live music from our very own students in the wings of the stage.

Pupils from Years 7 to 13 took part in this performance which was a reminder to us all the vast amount of talent that we have within the school.

After the weekly rehearsals, the final process of the Shakespeare Schools Festival was on the day of the performance, the students went through a technical and dress rehearsal as well as the other schools who were to present on the evening.

Shakespeare Schools Festival condensed the four plays down to half an hour performances (meaning that the stories were fast moving, while still keeping the main body of the stories there) each, consisting of a two and a half hour exhibition including a short interlude.

When it came to the final performance, all tickets were sold out a week before the show and in the audience we were lucky enough to have the Deputy Mayor of Dartford come and watch. He was also only complimentary of the efforts put in by Dartford Grammar School.

The response from the parents also universally agreed, saying it was “one of the best school productions that I have ever seen”.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Avtar Sandhu MBE, added: “My final four words to sum up the performances as a whole – enthusiastic, vibrant, comedic, heart-wrenching.”

Director and Head of Drama, Mrs. Rachael Iddiols, said: “I think the cast were fantastic as they were energised but focused throughout the entire show. It was so nice to see them working as a whole cast and supporting each other and I thought their performances were excellent.

"The whole cast gave 100% and they created an excellent show. I was very proud to have worked with them."

She commented: “It was so nice to see such a diverse group of schools working on such different plays. I think the atmosphere was fantastic and the whole evening a great success.

"I have to say that the Primary school was particularly good and for such a young cast to learn all the lines and have such characterisation and focus on stage is very exciting for the future.”

Sam Ogden who portrayed the menacing villain of the play, Claudius, said: “The work that everyone put into Hamlet was immense, and really paid off when the time came.”

By Dartford Grammar School pupils Isabel Rushmer and Jason Taing

Based on information supplied by Jason Taing.

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