The extra-curricular opportunities available at The Abbey are wide-ranging, offer great variety and are enthusiastically embraced by the students. The name given to the programme represents our ‘edge’ – the added value of an Abbey education. It is one which gives all our pupils the opportunity to try out new activities and to develop interests and skills which will stand them in valuable stead for the future.
Whether it is learning a new skill at Chess Club, or hiking through the countryside on the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, there is something here to interest and inspire everyone. All girls are strongly encouraged to take part in some activities outside the normal academic part of a school education and our dedicated team of staff ensure the highest possible quality of provision. Sports, crafts, music and much more are represented here and we hope that parents, pupils and prospective pupils alike will enjoy finding out what is available at The Abbey.
Explore the various facets of drama and discover which area you enjoy. We are a welcoming and inclusive department: Drama is not just for those who enjoy performing on stage, and students have recently worked as sound designers, lighting operatives, directors and assistant directors, and costume and make-up assistants on a number of productions.
There are a multitude of clubs and productions across the year. Upper III perform in their own Christmas Pantomime (directed by Sixth Form students!) and Upper III, Lower IV and Upper IV students participate in a biennial Lower School Play, or in the biennial play-in-a-day performance. Autumn 2017 sees the debut of the Sixth Form Play, where rehearsals are already well under way for Lorca’s ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’. Weekly clubs are offered to Upper III and Lower IV, and Upper IV and Lower V. Girls explore devising, improvisation, characterisation, storytelling and text in an enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere. We have also recently introduced a Comedy Club, where girls watch episodes of the classic situation comedy, ‘Frasier’.
Our centerpiece productions, for students from Upper IV – Upper VI, is the biennial Upper School Play. We enjoy an outstanding relationship with our local theatre, South Street Arts Centre, where we stage our Lower School Play and Upper School Play. The professional theatre environment, supported by a professional lighting designer, results in productions of exceptional range and quality. Recent productions have included ‘Arabian Nights’, ‘The Canterbury Tales’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘As You Like It’, ‘Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations’, ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘101 Dalmatians’, and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
The Drama Department has also recently begun collaborating with the Music Department on the School Musical, and March 2017 saw our first joint production: Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, a superb production, which featured students from Upper IV – Upper VI, and played to packed houses over three nights.
Artist in Residence
The Abbey is also fortunate to have a Theatre Artist in Residence, and a Graduate Theatre Practitioner. Theatre Artist in Residence, Cassie Friend, is an actor, director and deviser, and a founding member of the acclaimed RedCape Theatre Company. Cassie works alongside Head of Drama, Leighton Martin, and our Graduate Theatre Practitioner, to deliver our rich and diverse extra-curricular programme, with a particular focus on the Drama Scholars’ provision.