Drama

Co-Curricular Drama

Drama forms a valuable part of community life at Marlborough. Performers work with outstanding teachers to hone their skills, rehearse pieces and, ultimately, to face the challenge of performance. Drama is both exuberant and rigorous; standards are high and much is expected of those who undertake this testing but fulfilling process.

The Drama Department works under the direction of the Head of Drama. The department comprises two full time teachers as well as a full-time technical team; production manager, lighting designer and costume designer. The graduate director-in-residence program allows the students to work with young professionals at the cutting edge of theatre practice.

The Department works principally in two well equipped spaces. The Bradleian Theatre is excellent as a teaching room and doubles as a 135-seat studio theatre. This space is ideal for the performance of pupils’ own work and for the hosting of the professional touring companies that visit the College several times each year.

The Ellis Theatre boasts an exciting and distinctive atmosphere and can be converted into a variety of stage formats. In a conventional end-stage configuration, it accommodates just over 200; as a thrust stage it holds 360 and, as a theatre-in-the-round, it seats nearly 450 including almost 100 in the surrounding balcony. Pupils thus gain experience of performing in a variety of spaces.

Drama Productions at Marlborough College

Review: The Grimm Tales by Carol Ann Duffy

Rebecca Thomas and Owen Elton’s production of The Grimm Tales was a feast of storytelling magic framed in the familiar surroundings of a Shell dorm – albeit with rather more silk pyjamas than usual. The driving impulse of these stories as an essential part of growing up was very evident – and it wasn’t afraid […]

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Review: Deus Dat Incrementum

The Ellis Theatre was home to a fascinating new project this term – Jane Darby’s production of Deus Dat Incrementum. This original work was created to celebrate fifty years of girls at Marlborough College and was inspired by the BBC Points West feature that aired in 1968. The work was a brilliant fusion of verbatim […]

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Review: Journey’s End

David Kenworthy’s haunting production of R.C Sherriff’s Journey’s End earned a central position in the College Armistice commemoration. An exceptionally committed group of boys had worked tirelessly throughout the term to transform themselves into an utterly credible company of front-line soldiers. For two hours we sat enthralled as the intensity and naturalism of these actors’ […]

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After Juliet by Sharman Macdonald

The Lower School play this term was Macdonald’s clever sequel to Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers. In this modern, humid Verona the Capulet and Montague feud stews in the Mediterranean heat, as those left behind by the couple’s tragic loss tussle with the consequences. Jane Darby’s riveting production was simmering with all the violence […]

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Review: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Mike Ponsford and Ginny Brown’s production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was a magical trip through the eyes of children living through the Second World War.  This stark, minimalist adaptation brought the mysterious world of Narnia to life built from the debris of war.  Ammunition boxes, crates and chairs piled together like a barricade […]

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Penny Reading: Twelfth Night

Shakespeare’s delightful topsy-turvy world of Illyria where grief-stricken characters, bereft of siblings and lovers, are presented within a comedic frame was dazzlingly brought to life in David Kenworthy’s production of Twelfth Night. The warming, goodwill essence of Christmas was somewhat subverted as Santa became the drunken bully Sir Toby Belch, blusteringly played by Max Foulds […]

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Review: The Cherry Orchard

Jane Darby’s production of The Cherry Orchard was a wonderful mix of brutality and comedy, a mixture that seems to permeate all of Chekhov’s work. The stripped back walls of the Raneskya’s country estate were a haunting reminder of the central struggle that occupy the characters, that of a decaying aristocracy trying to cling to the vision […]

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Review: Haroun and the Sea of Stories

The Shell Play ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ by Salman Rushdie The Shell brought to life the mysterious tale of Haroun in the Ellis Theatre in a physical and imaginative style.  Shadow puppets of weird and wonderful creatures circled the minimalist black box space which offset the bright and vivid costumes in this pageant […]

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Review: Anything Goes by Cole Porter

Jane Darby’s sparkling production of Anything Goes was as delightful as the famous Cole Porter song suggests.  The treats were more delicious than delovely, packing a real contemporary punch into this 1930s farce set on the cruise liner Americana.  From the moment the audience entered the Ellis Theatre we were treated to a sumptuous dockside vista, complete with […]

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Review: The Revenger’s Tragedy

David Kenworthy’s adaptation of The Revenger’s Tragedy enabled a group of skilled young actors to present a Jacobean story in a contemporary context.  The sensitive issue of mental health was given a visual representation thanks to Paul Cox’s highly detailed hospital set design, and Middleton’s characters became a group of patients reliving the violent and […]

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