New Directors’ Season (NDS) 2021 / 2022 took place on Wednesday 17 November and Thursday 18 November, and is a joint festival led by the LSF Drama department.
We were extremely proud to present a variety of performances that were written, directed and performed by students of Loughborough Grammar School, Loughborough High School and Loughborough Amherst School.
NDS performances commenced on Wednesday 17 November with ‘The Waiting Room’, written and directed by Nadia Mahama. Beginning with three school children in their school’s waiting room, the play explores adolescence, friendship, and trust whilst explaining the complex nature of human relationships. The next performance of the evening was ‘The Liberty Well’, written by Antony L. Mariani and directed by Eleanor Bradley. This ghost story connects a modern-day family to criminals from the American Revolution, thus bringing a great contrast between the supernatural world and our own.
After refreshments in the High School Hall, parents and actors moved over to the Grammar School where the session kicked off with ‘Murder in the Green Room’, directed by Izzy Smith and Jess Zhao. Through developing suspense and mystery, the audience are left to wonder – who committed the murder in the Green Room? The play explores the possible motives of all the characters and the lengths that people will go to keep things the way they are. The penultimate performance of the evening was ‘Nos Veritium’, written and directed by Ian Collett. A comedy play about vampires, the narrative follows a detective who finds himself in the care of two suspicious surgeons, vampires, who consume the organs of their patients during surgery. The final performance of the evening was ‘The Shining’, which was adapted by Tom Byrne from the Stephen King novel, and was directed by Miss Stevens. A family move into a secluded hotel with a brutal past, and the nature of this hotel led the exploration of insanity, the paranormal, and precognition. Dante Kasenza was outstanding with his portrayal of Jack Torrance, his characterisation was alluring and he did a brilliant job at playing a dangerous, murderous and possessed grown man.
The second evening of NDS began at Loughborough Grammar School with ‘The Great Gatsby’, adapted and directed by Annabelle Hull, based on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Set in early 1920’s New York, the characters within the play long for the American dream. Different relationship dynamics are prevalent within the play and the captivating world of the wealthy ultimately exposes their illusions and deceits. The final play performed at the Grammar School was ‘The Glass Menagerie’, written and directed by Jaysol Doy and based upon the Tennessee Williams play. Narrated by the protagonist, a memory is shared with the audience about his family and the fractious home environment they all share. Each character struggles to grapple with their own identities, hopes and fears. Jaysol intricately directed this emotional play, and it was clear that every element of the set was thought out and well-planned. His portrayal of the main character, Tom Wingfield, was encapsulating – just as that of the whole of the cast. The whole play flowed beautifully and provoked both laughter and tears, which is always a sign of a greatly diverse piece.
Refreshments were available in the Grammar School Sixth Form Centre, and then the second half of the night of NDS began at the High School. ‘Swallows and Amazons’, adapted and directed by Sofia Rowlands and Mary Brammall, is a short play version of the classic children’s book by Arthur Ransome. The Walker siblings finally get the news that they have been waiting for all summer, that they can sail across the island in the lake, and here the audience follows them on their adventurous journey. Our NDS musical was ‘Matilda’, adapted and directed by Katy Blain and Alisha Cartwright, which is based on the 1988 children’s novel by Roald Dahl. Matilda is a young girl with the gift of telekinesis, who loves reading and is working to overcome the obstacles caused by her family and school. Matilda’s interaction with her school friends, her not-so-nice father, and the fierce Miss Trunchbull is displayed through this extract of Matilda the Musical. NDS 2021 / 2022 ended with a performance of ‘Little Women’, adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott and directed by Asha King, Martha Kingerly and Ruby Clarke. The play looks at the exciting lead up to a slightly unusual Christmas, but more importantly the Christmas play which the March sisters and desperately trying to perfect.
Over the two nights of NDS we had over 200 parents come to watch these brilliant performances, and we received some lovely feedback. We were, and still are, so pleased to have welcomed so many keen parents to celebrate the achievements of our students who have been working extremely hard on their performance projects since June. A special thanks to Georgina Hessey, our High School Drama prefect, for observing the rehearsals since September and for presenting both evenings. Finally, thank you to our Grammar School Drama prefect Theo Abdool-Rassool for presenting on Wednesday and our Amherst School Drama prefect Lily Macauley for presenting on Thursday.