Published on: Monday, October 18, 2021

At King’s College, Taunton, speech and drama is a popular co-curricular choice and includes London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) training.

LAMDA boasts some prestigious alumni including Brian Cox, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anna Chancellor and MyAnna Buring, and is an empowering way for young people to learn effective, clear communication that will help them prepare for interviews and meetings, as well as social and professional occasions throughout their lives.

This year, three pupils gained distinctions in the Grade 4 Award for Performance, whilst Upper Sixth Form student Charlotte T was astonished and thrilled when told she’d achieved a distinction in the Grade 8 examination. Charlotte was examined on three pieces from different generations of playwrights including Shakespeare, and received a glowing report.

Charlotte explains: “The extract taken from The Tempest was particularly energetic as I took on the role of Ariel, an unnatural spritely being. My second piece was from an unusual play called The Caged bird by David Campton. I performed as a bird trapped in a cage who becomes increasingly frustrated at the other birds and their freedoms. My final piece was from Bull by Mike Bartlett and was rather uncomfortable since I played a truly malicious and patronising character who diminishes a colleague. The other section of the exam involved learning about theatre practitioner Stanislavski, his influence in general and in relation to my pieces.”

Performing Arts teacher Anthony Irvine commented: ”I’m always impressed by Charlotte’s willingness to experiment with movement and voice. She thoroughly prepared for the knowledge section of the LAMDA exam and worked hard at perfecting her three pieces, learning the considerable number of lines and getting to know the plays as a whole. Her flying Ariel from The Tempest was inspired, even using her hair to theatrical effect, while her interpretation of the Wild One in The Caged Birds was electric. She found a completely different interpretation for Isobel in Bull. Charlotte brought a terrifying edge to the character who belittles a work colleague, leaving everyone in the audience feeling intimidated. It’s this versatility that I think convinced the examiner she was worthy of a high distinction.”

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