A professional director and a team of choreographers have put together a Christmas production with a difference at Putney High School, where girls had the chance to work with Katharine Drury and professional dance and fight choreographers on the set of The Ash Girl.

Professional actor and Director, Katharine Drury became Director in Residence at Putney in June 2018 primarily to audition, cast and direct, The Ash Girl by British-based playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker. Having trained at Guildhall School of Drama, she is now involved in youth theatre with her own theatre company, PLAY.

In addition to preparation and rehearsals for the play which starts a limited run on Wednesday, December 5, Miss Drury has been running workshops with Year 7, improvisation sessions with Year 3 Junior school pupils, and working twice a week on professional development with A-Level drama students.

Miss Drury has seen the opportunity to bring in other professionals to assist with the play. “I wanted to make it feel like a professional production and I decided quite early on that I wanted music running though the play”, she said. “I brought in composer Tom Chapman to compose an original score for the play in collaboration with the girls. There are at least 20 really good musicians in the cast. We also had a fight director come in and work with the girls to choreograph fight scenes and another professional to choreograph the dance scenes – it really is a great ensemble piece.”

Asked what appealed to her about The Ash Girl, she said: “I love the playright – I was in a tour in one of her plays so it was nice to come back and work with her writing again. It’s a challenging text for young people – there is lots of tricky dark material – it’s a play about loss, hope and a lack of hope.”

Since starting earlier this year, Miss Drury has also brought in actress Emily Berrington, who is know for the series Humans. Emily came in to talk to Year 12 and 13 students about her role in Machinal at the Almeida. Students were given the opportunity to join her for a Q&A about the play and the industry in general.

A few tickets are still available for The Ash Girl. Book here.