Eighteen snapshots of a career
in drama teaching
The plays in this book have their origin in the early 1980s, when I was teaching at Gosford Hill School in Kidlington, and learning from the late Ted Shears what Drama teaching and acting was all about, and how to organise a stage production. I never set out to be a writer, but both at Gosford Hill and at Beachborough School (which I moved to in 2003) so many enthusiastic children wanted to be in productions that it was often easier to write for them specifically, rather than trying to find a pre-existing script which would give them all something worthwhile to do; and, of course, I quickly found that I enjoyed writing plays! Having studied composition at university, producing songs, dances, and incidental music for them was straightforward; and I also found that what I had learned about musical form transferred directly to the sequencing of events on a stage. It is beyond the scope of the book to reproduce the scores that originally accompanied many of these plays (and, alas, many of them are lost) but if you read them it will become clear how important music was to me: and that is why I eventually advocated an integrated approach to Drama, Dance, and Music; calling the ‘subject’ I taught ‘Performing Arts’.
So here they are: eighteen snapshots of a career in Drama teaching. The early plays show their age; the ‘fatherly fiver’ in Little Victims wouldn’t buy you many drinks in a pub nowadays; and neither do you have to dash off to find a phone when nearly everyone carries a mobile. Times change! Gosford Hill School bought its first video camera, complete with bulky tape cassettes, in 1985; Wind in the Willows, written in 2018 for Bruern Abbey School, includes filmed scenes- including a swooping aerial drone shot of the school- interspersing the live action. Some of the references in the plays are to contemporary events or school ‘in-jokes’; now, they’re obscure; but I’ve tried to explain them in the introduction to each script. Some of the plays have lived on after their first performances, especially Some Treasure Island, which, thanks to promotion by the excellent but now defunct SchoolPlay Productions company, was performed many times in schools up and down this country, as well as in America and Australia.
The plays are: Aardvark, Little Victims, Wordplay, Some Treasure Island!, Faust, Bruegel’s Rat, The Poet, the Lover, and the Lunatic, Good Lord, Holmes!, Noahplay, The Old Testament in Ten Minutes, Robbin’, Doctor James Kelly, Chappell’s Dream, Alice in Wonderland, Omlet, The Magic Piccolo, Oh, Sir Jasper!, and Wind in the Willows.
We Have a Production is available from Amazon books: click the link below and have a look!