‘An honest tale … plainly told’

For this year’s Shakespeare Schools Festival, QE boys took on one of the playwright’s most popular plays, Richard III. They performed an abridged 30-minute version to a packed audience at the Arts Depot in North Finchley.

The performance itself was the culmination of a process which included a special workshop organised by the festival at which the boys received tips and advice on acting techniques from a professional acting coach. They also enjoyed a half-day technical and dress rehearsal with professional technicians, as well as preparing at QE with assistance from the School’s Drama Co-ordinator Elaine White and Susannah Sweetman, Head of English.

The audience included parents, a number of members of staff and the Headmaster. “It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening,” said Mr Enright. “The boys worked hard in preparation, taking advantage of the opportunities on offer to them, and reaping their reward with a high-quality performance.”

The abridged version provided 18 roles for QE boys, with Alex Wingrave taking the part of one of the stage’s most well-known villains, Richard. Suraj Shah was cast as Lady Anne, with Miles Huglin as Buckingham and Timur Salim as Lord Hastings. Boys also had the opportunity to take on back-stage roles, with Finbar Gaffey and Alex Chinweze directing, and Shiras Patel as Stage Manager and also directing the lighting and sound.

""The evening’s programme also included a performance of Twelfth Night by West Lea School and Macbeth by Alexandra Park School. The festival, which includes the Department for Education amongst its partners, is the UK’s largest youth drama festival, working with more than 1,000 schools and 150 professional theatres. Its patrons include Dame Judi Dench, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Lord Puttnam. Its aim is to offer students from all backgrounds the opportunity to perform Shakespeare on their local professional stage.