Ages 11 - 18
|Nursery & Prep School
Ages 3 - 11
Drama & Theatre Studies
Ghetto, February 2017
Photography Credit: Mr Cable
Kent College provides outstanding opportunities for young people with an interest in theatre and performance in all its forms. Over the past ten years, the school has established a national reputation for theatre arts as a result of mounting a number of successful tours to America, staging a house array of challenging plays and musicals, and representing the UK at the first 'International Student Drama Festival' in Athens.
With seven members of staff, the Drama department has become a centre of excellence in which students can explore and refine their talents in a dynamic and highly creative atmosphere.
Performances are staged every term in the intimate Studio Theatre which can seat up to 70 people. Larger productions are staged in the £1m state-of-the-art Countess of Wessex Theatre, which seats a maximum capacity of 300.
The Kent College Theatre was re-opened in 2012 by past pupil HRH The Countess of Wessex who has given her name to the 'Countess of Wessex Theatre'.
"Pupils have excellent outcomes in art, drama and music." ISI Report 2016
Kent College Productions
Year 9 to Sixth From Production, Ghetto
Kent College Pembury’s 2017 production was another masterpiece in the school’s long history of outstanding performing arts. This year saw a radical departure from previous productions at Kent College with the theatre space transformed into an abandoned warehouse and the audience fully immersed in the action of the play, moving around the space with the actors.
"Ghetto”, by Joshua Sobol is set in the Jewish ghetto of Vilna, Lithuania in 1942, and based on diaries written during the darkest days of the holocaust, tells of the unlikely flourishing of a theatre at the very time the Nazis began their policy of mass extermination. First seen in Israel in 1984 and premiered in Britain in David Lan's version in 1989 at the National Theatre, Ghetto won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. It has since been seen in Berlin, Vienna, Cologne, Toronto, Oslo, Paris, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and New York before students at the independent day and boarding school in Pembury produced their own stunning version.
Headmistress Julie Lodrick commented: 'I was touched and moved beyond words after seeing one of the five performances of Joshua Sobol's play, 'Ghetto', this year's annual drama production at Kent College. The audience was unable to speak at the end and we all filed out in quiet contemplation; something I have never experienced at a school production.'
'Ghetto' requires a talented and versatile cast of actors, singers, dancers and musicians and it is testament to the willingness of the girls and staff to take on such a challenging and emotionally demanding piece of theatre. All the seating in the theatre was removed and the space was turned into a large warehouse setting enabling the production to become a piece of immersive theatre, which served to make the performance even more powerful. The cast had been to hear the experiences of a holocaust survivor earlier in the term, it was a privilege to see the young performers capture and deliver their roles with a maturity and understanding beyond their years.
AS Drama Performance, Miss Julie
Why has Carousel been described as ‘the greatest musical of the twentieth century’ by Time magazine?
"It is twenty years since I last directed this show at Kent College and my fascination with the work has never dimmed. Famously Rodgers and Hammerstein were commissioned to write this show by a member of the United States Government to bring comfort to the tens of thousands of grieving war widows .What they fashioned from the bones of an obscure Eastern European play is, in my opinion, one of the most profound and moving pieces of musical theatre ever created.
The theme of love transcending death is at its heart and to me it has parallels with the greatest music drama ever written Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.
The second scene of Carousel known as ‘the bench scene’ is a touchstone for all subsequent composers of musicals, the sublime blend of music, dialogue and subtext is surely a work of genius. Steven Sondheim has described this scene as ‘the greatest twenty minutes in musical theatre history’.
And the last ten minutes of the show with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in its original context has I feel never been equalled.
I fell in love with the coast of New England whilst taking a production of Jane Eyre to our sister school, Kent's Hill in Maine, many tours followed and holidays and my visits to the extraordinarily beautiful island of Nantucket with its grey weather beaten shingled houses has been the inspiration for the design of Carousel. In 1992 Nicholas Hytner and Bob Crowley totally reimagined Carousel and purged it of all its sentimental 1950s accretions, it’s their production that has inspired us." By Nigel Ashton
Lord of the FliesJuly 2015
'The Lord of The Flies’ script, adapted for stage by Nigel Williams, presents a huge challenge to any cast, school or professional. The unfinished sentences, the single word interruptions, repeated words and phrases and characters speaking simultaneously, in other words the way children really do speak, is tremendously difficult to pull off. Our two Lower School casts took on this challenge and conquered it magnificently, delivering utterly convincing and moving performances, rich in characterisation and emotional truth.
In addition to the hard work of the girls, we were very lucky to have an extremely talented team to create a beautifully atmospheric show, from Mr Ashton’s jungle set, to Mr Hougham’s sound and light design. Mrs Noyek’s and Katherine Sweet’s choreography and Mrs Munnings’ hair and makeup which gave Jack’s gang their menacing tribal look for acts two and three. Katherine Sweet and Kirsty Girvan did a fantastic job as our stage managers, organising those school uniform costumes was no mean feat! Holding it all together, organising rehearsal space, and ensuring tickets were sold and programmes printed was the job of our wonderful producer, Mrs Cable.
We thank you all, staff and girls alike, it’s a privilege to work with such talented and dedicated people. Thank you also to parents for your ongoing support and helping the actors to learn their lines – greatly appreciated!
On the Razzle
Kent College combined all of its formidable theatrical resources to stage this effervescent farce.
The plot revolves around the chase of two naughty grocer’s assistants who, following their master’s binge with a new mistress, escape to Vienna on a spree. The complexities of Stoppard’s script were handled masterfully by the gifted cast who ensured that the audience were left roaring with laughter.
It was clear that the cast and crew had dedicated a lot of hard work to the production, alongside the expert direction from Kent College staff. Special recognition and thanks to the school’s Head of Drama, Nigel Ashton who designed and sourced the set, as well as producing and directing the show.
Little Shop of Horrors
Over 40 students from key stage 3 presented a dazzling version of the multi awarding winning musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ over three nights to a packed theatre last week. The show is a spoof of 1950s horror musicals and featured a giant man eating plant brilliantly operated by Ellie Cluley and Saffron Gilbert.
The close harmony singing was very impressive from the chorus and the Motown inspired Ronnettes. Leading roles were taken by Saffron Pooley and Lauren Bagge as the heroine Audrey and Natasha Pope and Hannah Prideaux as the hapless Seymour Krelborn. They were given superb support by Sophie Crowther and Primrose Fincham as the sadisitic dentist, Georgina Emmanuel and Georgina Nimmo as the shop owner Mushnik and the voice of the plant was brilliantly portrayed by Mya Kinlock and Myfi Smetham. Cat Noyek choreographed the show with great wit and panache and the actors performed on a very atmospheric set wearing original 1950s costumes all under the baton of Mr Kent Davis. A huge achievement for all involved.
Agamemnon - by Aeschylus, in a version by Ted Hughes
From the 11th – 14th February, a talented cast of over sixty KC performers and three young male actors brought to life a new production of the inexhaustible Greek tragedy masterpiece ‘Agamemnon’. Using the full and ambitious resources of the KC Drama, Technical Theatre, Music & Dance departments in the School’s Countess of Wessex Theatre, students were delighted to be involved in this intense and emotional piece of Drama:
"It has been a fantastic opportunity to experience this powerful character’s (Clytemnestra) broad range of emotion. Despite the intensity of the tragedy I have loved every minute; the atmosphere of the performance, the spirit of the cast and crew and even covering myself in blood and slaughtering my husband! This production has challenged me to experiment with a character of evil nature and seduction.” Hannah, Upper Sixth
What makes Greek tragedy so moving is its mixture of intense emotion and rigorous order, the feeling that we are watching both archaic ritual and something that still seems potently relevant to our lives 2,500 years later. Kent College is thrilled to be presenting a new production of this inexhaustible masterpiece. Ted Hughes’ version of the drama is outstanding - supple, eloquent and full of vivid, often disturbing imagery. His tough, sinewy poetry is a perfect match for Aeschylus’ great portrayal of human barbarity and its eventual supersession by civilization. One succinct image succeeds the next without the filler of so many other translations so that the dialogue has great clarity and bite. It is as if Hughes has sandblasted grime from an old building; we know that the building is old but it looks new and the bricks have been revealed. It is also an eminently speakable translation and in itself a pleasure to listen to. (Head of Drama, Nigel Ashton)
February 2013From the 12th to the 16th February 2013, Kent College’s Countess of Wessex Theatre was transformed into fiery 1950s Argentina as the school delivered its' musical masterpiece: ‘Evita’ (lyrics by Time Rice, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber), leaving audiences wowed once again by the incredible ambition and talent of pupils and staff at the leading independent girl’s school in Kent.
Kent College’s reputation for excellence in the Performing Arts continues to soar following outstanding productions over recent years including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Carmen’.
Congratulations to the drama and music departments, actresses, musicians, crew members and all those involved in bringing yet another mesmerising production to life.
‘The year’s KC production once again reached professional standards and I was proud to hear from so many friends of the school that they had a fantastic night coming to see it. Personally, it was the team work behind such a stunning show which meant the most to me. There were girls on stage as young as 10, working with and supported by 17 and 18 year olds. The back stage crew were also phenomenal and we remain so fortunate to have exceptional drama, music and dance departments who all work together so effectively.' Mrs Huang, Headmistress