04 April 2022  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Following fantastic feedback from their production of When They Go Low at The Georgian Theatre Royal, the senior members of our School Theatre Company performed the play to students in Years 7 through to 10.  The Company is made up of two Year 9 students and eight Year 11 students and the play was directed by Mr Birdsall and James Slater, in Year 12.

Mrs Potter, Headteacher, saw the play at the Georgian Theatre and said: “I was blown away by the powerful messages in relation to peer-on-peer abuse conveyed so brilliantly by the senior members of our Theatre Company. I knew straight away that we absolutely had to share this performance with our students.  Without any doubt, students teaching each other on matters such as this has much more impact than teachers attempting to do so.  I would like to applaud our actors who were so courageous to stand up in front of 200+ students and also Mr Birdsall and Miss Manning are to be congratulated on the first-class execution of this powerful project. Each year group watched and listened respectfully and sensibly – I am very sure they will have taken away some very valuable learning from the experience.”

When They Go Low by Natalie Mitchell is based around an incident which happens at a party ‘where pictures emerge of a girl and social media goes into a frenzy.’ The play tackles more than this one incident, however. It tackles slut shaming, feminism, teenage sexuality and how both girls and boys feel about the way in which they are presented on and offline and their standing in the modern world. Ultimately, it looks at why they all feel under so much pressure to conform to outdated stereotypes and why boys feel as though they’re having their rights stripped away when girls take charge. Objectifying and shaming girls for their actions is a big part of the debate in this play about how young men and women feel they should interact and it’s a stark reminder of how much further we have to go to create real and genuine equality.

Mr Birdsall said: “I am incredibly proud of the work ethic and dedication of the students in their endless efforts with performing what is probably one of our strongest performances to date. The hard work is really all down to the group and the concept came through a collaborative process. Myself and Miss Manning are really looking forward to working with these students at A-level.

“Their efforts paid off for their success in portraying such a harrowing subject. We received some thought-provoking feedback from a parent who watched the original performance and in turn this progressed with the students performing the play four more times to Years 7-10 to share the play’s strong messages and promote the school’s priority on minimising peer-on-peer abuse.”

Richmond School Theatre Company’s seniors are entered for the All England Theatre Festival. This is a countrywide, competitive festival of one-act drama. They are performing The Edelweiss Pirates by Atub Kahn Din on Saturday 23rd April @ 7pm at The Georgian Theatre Royal.

After this they will be teaming up with Richmond School Theatre Company’s  junior group to create an outdoor Shakespeare Comedy festival which will be made up of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night to be performed outdoors under the direction of Mr Birdsall, Miss Manning, Guy Feakins and Poppy Mortimer. Twelfth Night will be performed by our senior group with our juniors taking on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

The pictures show the students performing at the Georgian Theatre and at school.

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