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Arts News

BTEC Metamorphosis

Our sixth form BTEC Performing Arts students have been exploring contemporary theatre as part of their recent assessment, and they were really excited to be able to perform their adaptations of Berkoff's Metamorphosis to an invited audience of GCSE Drama students.
The performance centres around the character of Gregor, who inexplicably wakes up one morning in the form of a dung beetle. The nightmare like premise of a man transforming into a bug, alongside the themes of alienation and abandonment, paved the way for the students to create imaginative and engaging performances, drawing on the work of both Berkoff and other practitioners. We were lucky enough to be able to watch a performance of Metamorphosis at The Redbridge Drama Centre in London, and this really inspired the students to experiment with a variety of techniques. The result was an exciting and dynamic sensory experience, which left our audience reeling.
Students in the audience in lower years have been studying elements from this piece.  "The physical theatre elements and use of staging were really interesting and I have lots of ideas for my own performances having watched it." The performers also played with the senses "using smells and crawling through the audience bringing them into the story."

Music Concert 2014

The Drama Hall was host to the school’s Easter music concert on Thursday 13 February 2014.  Postponed from Christmas due to We Will Rock You the concert featured a wide range of styles from classical to Rage Against the Machine, solos to large groups.  It was great to see the range of musical talents of the students in all year groups at the school, across many different instruments, some students playing multiple instruments at different stages of the evening.  Thanks to all those who came to see and support the students.

 

No Day But Today!

RENT, not the first thing that springs into your mind when you hear a school is going to do a musical.  Focusing on the characters getting on with their lives amid difficult circumstances in Alphabet City, New York the story takes us on a journey following a group of friends over a year.

Once the auditions had taken place and the cast was assembled with an array of actors, singers and dancers who would together tell the story.  A few short months later and songs have been learnt, stage movement blocked, dances choreographed and a few extras.  A technical crew has assembled and laid a floor and staging ready to be painted, two flats have been erected and stand at the back of the stage and the lighting has been designed, hung and focused specifically for this performance.  A group of art students has descended on the blank canvas left for them and has transformed the dull set into a colourful and attractive set that can be used to create multiple locations and generate the atmosphere for the show.  Finally, the IT department helped to set up a live video link from the drama hall to backstage and into the green room so that the people backstage could monitor the show and see what was happening.

A few days before the first show the whole company spend the weekend at school doing rehearsals to fine tune and tweak the details that have been worked on for the last few months.  The crew using newly learnt skills programmed the lighting design into the desk, set up the music and sound effects, sourced props and rehearsed set changes.  After a few late nights double and triple checking everything was ready.

During the show it was all handed over to the students.  Under the watchful eye of a few staff the students Stage Managed, operated the lights and sound, ran refreshments and front of house and performed on stage.  All their hard work paid off as was clearly shown with the quality of the whole process, onstage, backstage and everywhere else.  The whole group came together to put on a show, and what a show they put on.

 

The Tempest

In November, Miss O’Leary and a talented team of youngsters gave Shakespeare’s The Tempest a new lease of Life. One of our more experienced actresses, Georgia Katz reports on the experience.

I felt so privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the upcoming stars of Mark Rutherford as the wonderfully creative and committed Miss O’Leary put together a spectacular production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  The fortune-telling crystal ball sits centre stage as the magical story unfolds around the shipwrecked islanders, played by the superb young actors and actresses, some of the most avid students the school has to offer.  Our directors, both teachers and a student director crafted a mystical piece that took inspiration from the foretelling tarot cards and took Shakespeare’s adventure comedy into a magical realm where a winged Ariel twisted the fates of the islanders under the command of the powerful Prospero. 

We put a spell over the audiences, both at the grand theatre in Stevenage and our neighbours at Bedford Modern School.  Our lively cast followed the inspirations of our directors and brought to life a story-book tale that captured excellent responses from the audiences and brought together actors from all the years to give us the chance to learn from one another and, for some, gave us the opportunity to stand of a professional stage and shine.  Once again, Mark Rutherford aided in bringing Shakespeare into the hearts of the youth and to all with a zeal for theatre.


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National Theatre New Connections


Once again the school are taking part in the National Theatre New Connections Festival . Each group that enters are required to choose a new play or musical to perform at their home venue and for us, at the Royal Theatre in Northampton. The production will be reviewed by a National Theatre professional, and if we are successful, we may be invited to perform it for a final time at the Nation Theatre itself! This year we have chosen to perform a musical, Alice By Heart by Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik.
How do we leave childhood behind? How do we close the book?

In the throes of adolescence, determined Alice Parsley convinces her seriously ailing friend Alfred to follow her one last time "Down the Hole" and play White Rabbit to her petticoated heroine. Mad as it all is, there's so much she still wants from him. And yet, how late it's getting!

In a world of Mad Hatters, and baffling Mock Alices, a handsome Caterpillar puffs deep on his hookah: "Whoooooo are you?" Alice sighs, "If only I knew." The Caterpillar smiles: "Oh, don't I know."

A fresh new rock-musical take on Alice in Wonderland, from the creators of Spring Awakening.

This exciting new project has only just begun but already it’s looking very promising and entertaining. Watch this space for more Alice news!

 

 

Shakespeare Festival/Battle of the Bard

This year a number of our students performed ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage on Tuesday 1st November. This is an annual event that gives the students an opportunity to perform in a professional theatre along with other schools from different regions. It is a celebration of the work of  William Shakespeare and Mark Rutherford students had every reason to celebrate as their performance of ‘The Tempest ‘was excellent and very well received by the audience and other schools.

We also had the opportunity to perform our 30 minute version of ‘The Tempest’ at Bedford Modern School on Tuesday 15th November as part of their annual Battle of the Bard festival; this was a fantastic evening with schools from the local area all doing their own unique adaptation of a number of different Shakespeare plays including Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Our students did a great job and I am really proud of them. Well done.

Miss O’Leary

 

DNA by Dennis Kelly Thursday 10th February
Directed by Mrs J Herron and Mrs L Hughes

“Dead?”
“Yeah.”
“What, dead?”
“Yeah.”
“What, like dead dead?”

These are the opening lines of DNA (also known by its less catchy full title DeoxyriboNucleic Acid), a play by Dennis Kelly which I first saw three years ago as part of a GCSE Drama visit, performed at the National Theatre. I enjoyed it immensely and it quickly became one of my favourite plays; so, when I was invited by Mrs Hughes and Mrs Herron to audition for a part in a school production of it I jumped at the chance. I had always loved the character of Lea, a slightly neurotic chatterbox, so I was delighted to be chosen to play her. The cast was made up of 11 students ranging from years 11 to 13 and we met weekly to rehearse.

The play centres around a group who have to deal with the consequences of their actions after "having a laugh” goes horribly wrong and ends in the death, supposedly, of outsider Adam. Rather than own up, the group, led by the quiet yet calculating Phil, devise a plan to cover it up, framing an innocent man in the process. However, when Adam turns up again the group dynamics begin to unravel leading to an horrendous conclusion.

We performed on the 10th of February to a packed audience and judging by the reaction throughout and feedback we received afterwards the audience thoroughly enjoyed it! It certainly made all the work memorising Lea’s rambling monologues worth it. I loved having the opportunity to work with a talented group of actors bringing to life such a variety of characters, from the hilarious duo of Jan and Mark to the slightly unhinged Brian, and would like to thank our fantastic directors and everyone who came to see it and supported us.

Thank you Ellie Styles for this review and as directors, we’d like to thank the cast of very talented drama students for making it such a wonderful production.

In Rehearsal for Beauty and the Beast
Rehearsals are well underway for Beauty and the Beast by Laurence Boswell.??? Although the play has all the humour and romance of the Disney Musical, this play has a bit more magic and mystery. We meet two horrible sisters, friendly brothers, a bumbling father, a loving mother, robots, talking furniture, a witch and of course Beauty and the Beast! All of them will be having their say about their experiences of the ‘page to stage’ process. To introduce us to this idea and initial technical ideas is Jessica Jennings from year 10 who will be playing one of the horrible sisters, Marie Claire. Marie Claire is the less intelligent one of the pair. Her head is full of pink ponies and wedding dresses and she has is often left to follow her dominant and mean older sister because she doesn’t know what’s going on. I am lucky to have such a talented comedic actress playing Marie Claire.

Rehearsal Blog
Hi, I’m Jessica Jennings and I am a member of the cast of this year’s production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. In this blog, we’ll be telling you all about the hard work and effort that goes into putting on a show. This week Mrs Hughes (the director) played us some of the music we will be using for the production, composed especially for us! We are also working with the year 10 BTEC Art and Design students who are designing and making our set. I have some friends who are helping and the designs and models they have made are AMAZING! We all can’t wait to see the real thing!

We are really enjoying rehearsing at the moment and you can follow our progress with photographs and other blogs on the School website!! YAY!!!

Jess Jennings (Marie Claire)
Year 10

 

Mark Rutherford Upper School builds on its success after being awarded Specialist Status for the Arts!

Three Mark Rutherford Students have been commended for their outstanding performance in GCSE Drama by Edexcel, the UK’s largest awarding body. Tassneem Attia, Rani Badhan and Natalie Greenwell were amongst the top ten students who achieved the highest overall marks out of 60878 entries.

Jerry Jarvis, Edexcel’s Managing Director said “This is a tremendous achievement and testament to the hard work these students have put into preparing for their exams. We send our congratulations to Tassneem, Rani and Natalie.” Rani also achieved an outstanding 14 GCSE grades - all above grade C and including six A*s and four A grades! A Sixth Form student, Richard Smith was also ranked in the top ten of high performers for AS Music Technology.

NatalieRani

 

 

 

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Mark Rutherford School
Wentworth Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire Mk41 8PX
Telephone 01234 290200 : Fax 01234 290236 : Email: mark.rutherford@mrus.co.uk
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