Drama, Dance and Performing Arts - Summer Season 2019
ClassAction has had another excellent year training young practitioners ready to move beyond college into further training – 22 offers to the country’s top dance and drama schools this year including one for RADA – our second ever! Data released by the Conference of Drama Schools, reveals the ratio of applicants to places offered to the country’s top drama schools is almost double that for Oxford and Cambridge. We are so proud that our ethos of offering a unique performance art programme that aims to create a first class performance preparation-training course that is underpinned by academic rigour and depth of reflection is having this profound effect. ClassAction here at Godalming College has gained a unique reputation as having one of the leading performance arts departments in the country and our alumni are now working in all fields of the industry, and more importantly – they are generously giving their time and their advice as they return to Godalming to network with our current practitioners. This half term we have been pleased to welcome back Lucy Hewitt and Hazel Leishman (currently training at MTA), James Elliott and Caitlyn Cornes (currently at PPA), Jack Sunderland (LAMDA) and Sam Thomas (Mountview) - Sam offered a Vocal Masterclass, which was also attended by new students who will be joining us in September. Of course, we were pleased to welcome back alumni Max Bowden who is currently starring in EastEnders who did a Q&A with our performing arts practitioners about acting for TV and working professionally in the industry.
PROVOKING, ENTERTAINING, POPULAR AND ECLECTIC: Performance work has run throughout our Summer Season and we have played to consistent ‘full-houses’. We have the busiest summer programme that we have ever had, including a brand new piece of theatre These Brilliant Things, exploring mental health and suicide that toured to our feeder schools, as well as two performances in Studio 816. “What a fantastic piece of theatre my students got to witness. Not only have they been inspired by the creativeness of the devised work but by the sheer natural talent and ability of the performers” (Emma Green – Head of Drama – Broadwater School).
We also welcomed professional theatre to Studio 816, when Tamasha Arts brought their sold out Soho Theatre show direct from London to college. Does My Bomb Look Big In This? was a fierce new play packed with disarming honesty that brilliantly explored the human condition concealed underneath news headlines and dared to ask the question: "Are we anywhere near closer to multi-cultural harmony, or is it all just a fairy-tale pipe dream?" It was such a pleasure to see our first year drama practitioners sitting with other students from sociology and politics in the audience. Theatre being used as it should be - to explore our place in the world today.
You Will Be Found for Arts Festival 2019 was a response to our practitioners feeling that the world was very strange right now, very cruel, confusing, absurd, and ClassAction presented this showcase cabaret in the centre of this crazy mixed up world. This is a performance in front of an industry professional who offers feedback and advice on each practitioner and to this we welcomed alumni Sam Thomas direct from his run in The Man of La Mancha at London Coliseum.
Alongside all of this work, we madly continue our summer tradition of attempting to stage a full-scale production in just under three weeks! There are not many other colleges, let alone arts venues that are producing that scale of work.
It is important to reflect on the vast numbers of students, families and friends who attend our performances who may not be up on the stage but who are still able to participate fully in the cultural and artistic life of college because of the work of the Drama, Dance and Performing Arts Department.
We finish the year with a bang, with ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING a brand new play with music. We fell in love with this text after reading it over Easter and have been given special permission from the playwright to stage the amateur premier before its professional London run in the autumn. Three acts, three decades and the end of the world…Meet Leah and Chris; raised on Harry Potter, New Labour and a belief that one day they would be as ‘special’ as their parents promised. But what happens when those dreams don’t become reality? Set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to today’s Brexit Britain, and the backdrop of an asteroid heading for Earth, this is multi-award winning gig theatre that mixes original live music from James Frewer with bold new writing by Luke Barnes.