On September 26th Braeburn took part in the annual Badminton drama competition (named after the UK school that donated the trophy to IAPS Kenya) hosted this year by The Banda school. Ten students were carefully selected to represent the school; five under 11’s (Amna, Lou Lou, Yannick, Keith, Mariam) and five under 13’s (Ian, Angel, Naomi, Harlene, Emile) against 9 other IAPS schools. There was a palpable amount of excitement leading up to the event due to it being the only competitive drama event of the year (and because we haven’t won it in nearly 10 years!). The competition takes the whole day and comprises of a random word being drawn out of a hat which each school then use as the stimulus for a devised piece of drama lasting between 4-7 minutes. The rules are strict, tried and tested: -
- No pre-planning a performance
- The teacher may help their group for the first and last 15 minutes of the 90 minutes only
- No costume or props are allowed to be used
- The use of a piano and drum are permitted
The judges had fantastic credentials too; Davina Leonard: actress, author and playwright. Julia Mathews: former LAMDA teacher and examiner, actress and director, and Tirath Padem: actor and singer, recently playing the lead male role in 'Subira', a Kenyan feature length movie which has been nominated by the Kenyan Film Association for OSCAR consideration….no pressure then!
The word picked out of the hat was ‘Tangled’. The children all went to their designated areas and began devising. I was very pleased with how our group came together, they listened to each other’s ideas and seemed genuinely excited during the whole process. I then had the agonizing task (along with all of the other teachers) of then leaving my group for an hour whilst they continued creating their piece. On my return I watched their creation and gave them a few tips on how to improve it. Their ideas were different, challenging and unique. I loved their bravery, I loved how they wanted to use physical theatre; abstract symbolism was key to their piece. Time was up.
All the groups then came back together into the theatre and the order of each performance was picked out at random. We were performing 9th out of 10. I must admit, having been involved with drama for a number of years, I was blown away by the overall standard of the pieces that we watched. This meant that our group became more and more nervous (probably due to the realization that their piece was so ‘different’). Finally, our time came and we performed. They were fantastic. Their piece was based on the idea of a ‘case of mistaken identity’. A woman is wrongfully accused of committing a murder and is entangled in a web of deceit and lies. It involved physical tangling of bodies, slow motion moments of wonderful suspense, a well-choreographed fight scene with an impressive lift and to top it off a twist in the story at the end. That being said, it was VERY different to the others. We waited for the judges to decide.
The results were in. In third place – Brookhouse. In second place - Braeburn Garden Estate and, after what seemed like an age, in first place – Braeburn School! We were all stunned. The children couldn’t believe what they had achieved. They were presented with the trophy and two of the judges insisted on having their photographs with the children (whilst recreating the ‘lift’) because they were so impressed.
Overall, it was the most special of days. The children were a credit to the school, their behaviour was exemplary, their creativity was unique and I believe the experience will stay with them for life. Thank you to Mr. James for his invaluable input and thank you to everybody that supported them in the lead up to the event. Roll on next year!
Mr. Williams – Head of Drama