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Drama and Speech, 1977

Public Speaking Report 1976 - 1977

On a fully democratic basis, Maria Greenhalgh, Phillipa Bosley, Susan Bishop and Julie Milnes were unanimously volunteered to the eloquent heights of Public Speaking by various influential forces!

We were coached with enthusiasm by Mrs. Roper on how to convince our audience that `Equality of the sexes is a dangerous myth!

So, breast-plates polished, we advanced into the local round of The Knights of St. Columba Public Speaking Competition on November 14th. It was there at St. Thomas More's School that we gained our first victory. There, we competed against an excellent team from St. Thomas More, and our own school in the form of our B team, comprising Carol Anwyll, Joanne Barrow, Sandra Menegatti and Teresa Broom, whom we narrowly defeated after a close competition.

The following area round was arranged to take place in Guernsey on January 15th, but we, and St. John's College, Southsea, were unable to attend as sea-crossings were delayed from Weymouth owing to bad weather. However, the competition went on in Guernsey without St. John's team and ourselves and the team from Farnham won.

Nevertheless, still determined, we invited the St. John's team to Bournemouth on March 5th to compete against us in order to decide which of us should go through to the semi-finals. Feminine supremacy won the day, and on March 12th, a convoy of Minis advanced on London for the semi-finals. Bishop Thomas Grant School, Streatham, were our kind hosts.

Here the competition, as we expected, was greater than we had previously encountered, but our nerves were soothed by Mrs. Roper's and Mrs. Wiatr's kind words. The Adjudicators declared Boscombe Convent the winners.

Automatically we had won the Area shield, (which has been ours for three out of the four previous years). We must now go forward to the National Finals, at Birmingham University on April 30th. Boscombe Convent having twice achieved second place in the Finals in previous years, we must hope that we will be third time lucky and this time gain the winner's position.

To the story of this, we must add the tale of the Rotary Public Speaking Competition, where our B team was placed first in their section of the Local Round, and our team, second in our section. This was all good experience and it greatly helped to build up our team spirit.

Maria Greenhalgh, L.VI

The cast of "Frost on the Rose"

'Frost on the Rose'

The school drama production this year was an historical play set in the Tudor period. It concerned the intrigues of a handful of courtiers which resulted in the proclamation of Lady Jane Grey as the "nine days' Queen of England".

The young Jane was played by her namesake Jane Gazzi most successfully. As a fourteen year old in the first scene she was required to show childish obstinacy, and the uncompromising bigotry which had been imparted by her tutors. Not only did Jane handle this side of the role well, but she was utterly convincing in portraying the more mature, dignified attitude of the young queen, her bigotry softened by charity, and her obstinacy now turned to necessary firmness. Her calm acceptance of her death brought a tear to many eyes.

As the Duchess of Suffolk, Jane's mother, Patricia Attfield had a demanding role - domineering, selfish and harsh to her daughter, she commanded the stage. Like every bully she was a coward, and, unable to face the consequences of her ambitious plots, she abandoned Jane at the end, departing with muttered excuses and unseemly haste.

In complete contrast to Lady Suffolk was her sister Lady Brandon. Phillipa Bosley brought to this part great womanly warmth and sympathy to her young niece.

Joan Johnson showed yet another type of woman as the Duchess of Northumberland, leader of the intrigue, and Jane's mother-in-law. As ruthless as Lady Suffolk, she controlled her passions better, and kept her dignity to the end.

Jane's nurse was the most sympathetic character. Rosina Hadley showed to the unfortunate girl all the understanding which a mother would give.

Gabriella Menegatti and Amanda Denton as young Kate and the page, Richard, completed Jane's household, and made the most of their roles, contrasting their normal, relaxed behaviour with Jane's self imposed restraint.

The two princesses Mary, and Elizabeth Tudor were played by Doris Evans and Maria Greenhalgh. The former stressed the true generosity and charity of Mary, traits spoiled by her tragic upbringing and the latter was a lively Elizabeth.

Apart from these historical characters there were three women of the street who appeared from time to time to comment on the action - a sort of chorus.

As the first woman Sue Woodsford won applause for her low key, but always amusing performance, and was ably assisted by her two cronies, Jane O'Neill and Theresa Broom.

The beautiful costumes against an impressive set were enhanced by sensitive lighting and the entire production was the first class one which we have learnt to expect of Daphne Roper. A really worthwhile performance all round.

S. M. O'Donnell

The Mikado

"Who would like to be in the opera over at St. Peter's?" the LVI were asked at the beginning of the Easter term. The result of this question was that nine girls decided to take the risk and arrived at St. Peter's on the Thursday evening.

"Right!" said Mr. Tristram when he had sorted our rehearsals etc. "Who can sing what?" A quick shuffle around and we ("we" being St. Peters LVI boys and girls (old girls of the Convent) and Convent LVI girls were in four groups. Then the fun began! First of all we sang and then, after three or four rehearsals, we started to work out the moves and sing.

Now that we are all becoming quite proficient in the art of fan flicking and Geisha girl steps, everyone is enjoying him or herself, although it is hard work trying to remember the words, one's notes and the actions.

Hopefully the opera, Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Mikado', will be performed in May and, by the time this is in print, people can pass their own judgement on its success.

Rosalind Hume, L.VIth
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