Co-curricular Drama at Gresham’s aims to produce imaginative, challenging and rewarding experiences for both our audience and the pupils involved onstage, backstage and front of house.

A large number of pupils participate in our main school productions every year. The opportunity to take centre stage and perform as a principal or a member of a committed chorus in a musical on The Auden stage is something that is seen by many as an essential part of the Gresham’s experience. Our recent performances have included The History Boys, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The 39 Steps, Grimm Tales and Around the World in 80 Days. Our Michaelmas musicals have included Sweet Charity, We Will Rock You and Little Shop Of Horrors.

Our pupils take responsibility for every aspect of production from the hospitality of our Front of House Stewards to the unsung heroes of productions, the technicians who, under the supervision of our professional technical team, gain the confidence and skills to operate the lighting and sound desk or crew the shows from the wings.

We are fortunate in having a range of well-equipped and versatile spaces. The Auden Theatre is home to the Drama Department and is both an extraordinary teaching space for the academic courses we offer but a professional venue. As a receiving house we balance a programme of outside productions and our own work. The Auden hosts a musical in the Michaelmas term with a Lower School production in the Lent term. In the summer, we take to our unique Theatre in the Woods for a celebration of Drama, Music and Dance. This in addition to our A level, IB Diploma and GCSE exam performances make the department a busy, diverse and exciting place to be.

The Auden Theatre is a professional and versatile venue for our own productions but we are also a recognised mid-scale receiving house and one of the key venues, alongside our beautiful Theatre in the Woods, for the Holt Festival. The range, scale and variety of performances to which our pupils have access throughout the year is developing and aims to provide an extra artistic and cultural dimension to their term time experience and that of the wider community.

Participation in co-curricular Drama is very popular with large casts and crews signing up for the productions and pupils making the most of the opportunities offered. As influential theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht famously said, “Is work not magic my friend” but the rewards are undeniable and though we work hard in rehearsal, we play hard too.” Former pupils from the last ten years are currently studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama, RADA, LAMDA and Arts Ed. From the extraordinary high profile career of award winning actress Olivia Colman to the innovative successes of Curious Directive led by Greshamian director Jack Lowe and most recent graduate Jack Gillett taking on the role of School Boy Assasin in Deadly Class An American TV series taking to the screen in 2019 to name but a few.

“Gresham’s, in many ways made me the person I am today. It was the first place I ever acted. Crucially, it was the first place I wanted to act. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been an actor at all if it weren’t for Gresham’s.”

(OAKLEY, 1992)