Article by Christ's Hospital
On Monday 12th November, A-Level Drama pupils and Drama scholars were treated to a masterclass workshop with star of Downton Abbey, W1A and Paddington, Hugh Bonneville. Hugh spent the afternoon offering valuable feedback and direction on speeches and duologues as well as answering questions from pupils about his vast experience as an actor on the stage and screen. Stories were also shared about the National Youth Theatre, with Hugh having worked with the NYT as a young pupil himself, and two CH pupils, Lucy and Sophia having completed the same course themselves this year.
A variety of pieces were shared, from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ to the RSC production of ‘Matilda’ and pupils from year 7 through to the Grecians (year 13) were represented in the workshop. Hugh gave invaluable advice and feedback, always encouraging the pupils and helping to create a positive and productive atmosphere for all those involved. Grecian and Drama scholar Jade commented that ‘it was really useful to have such an experienced and professional actor giving advice. I was able to really develop my piece and Hugh helped me to think about performing the speech in a way I would have never done before. We were so fortunate to be able to work with an actor who is so skilled.’ Director of Drama John Johnson also saw the value of the pupils being able to explore texts so closely with Hugh: ‘These opportunities to work with such fantastic actors are few and far between. It was so generous of Hugh Bonneville to give up his time to come to CH and impart his knowledge of performance. We all learnt so much from Hugh, and he was very encouraging to all of the pupils involved.’
The workshop was made possible with the help of Donation Governor Henry Pollard from The City of London Corporation and Guild of Skinners. Pupils involved in the workshop, including those representing the City of London and Skinners Guild, can be seen in the photos.