Students put together innovative radio play

Pennthorpe School pupils recently produced and performed a radio play
Pennthorpe School pupils recently produced and performed a radio play

Towards the end of last month, Year 7 children at Pennthorpe School hosted an innovative and unique event at The Arts Centre in Cranleigh.

Under the guidance of their heads of drama and music, the children spent the Spring term working hard to produce a full-length radio play, which they wrote, performed, recorded and edited themselves.

The play even featured atmospheric music composed by the children and sound effects sourced by them.

Eagle Radio from Guildford were also involved in the project, giving children an opportunity to look around their studios and also assisting with recording at editing.

The evening at The Arts Centre saw the children confidently delivering presentations about their various roles within their production team, with these presentations being followed by the first official airing of the finished product.

The children’s play took characters from existing fairy tales and nursery rhymes, and brought them together in a new narrative with a modern and amusing twist.

The Narrator, played by 12 year-old Fisher Costello-Rose, told listeners the tale of young Goldilox (yes, with an ‘x’) and The Big Bad Wolf, who join forces to form a terrifying crime partnership. Baby Bear, Jack & Jill and many others all suffer at the hands of the villains, as they embark upon their quest to rob a bank chain owned by the Three Little Pigs; ‘Oinkëbank’. Thankfully though, Red Riding Hood’s Granny (who happens to be a black-belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu!) saves the day with just seconds to spare!

Zoe Maddalena who played Goldilox and attends a theatre school at weekends with lots of experience acting on stage, said: “In our stage experience, we are used to wearing costumes and make-up - and we found that the lack of these in radio can make it harder to get into character. There were definitely lots of notable differences!”

Toby Mallender who played ‘Jill’ (of ‘Jack & Jill’ fame) talked about the development of his character and said:“I definitely found it hard to get into character in the radio play, especially as she is so different to me! Originally, Jill was meant to be a kind, sweet and old-fashioned person when we devised her - but through our improvisation activities, we found she began to evolve into the modern, brattish, thug-like girl that you can hear in the play.”

Hollie Rogers, Pennthorpe’s head of drama, said: “This project was designed specifically to provide children with an opportunity to learn that ‘drama’ is about so much more than just acting on a stage. They begin to understand that there are so many different roles that fall underneath that same umbrella; script-writing, sound production, directing – it all counts. Through the project, children who are not natural performers often discover that they have a real talent for technical theatre. Once they have learned the basic principles of sound editing, for example, they can continue to experiment with at home or at senior school if they so wish.”

The Radio Play Project has now been running for two years and is something that Pennthorpe intends to continue with future Year 7 groups.

If you are interested in seeing more of Pennthorpe’s performances, their Year 8 Leavers are staging a production of the RSC’s Wendy & Peter Pan on July 4 and 5. This new production, critically acclaimed in Stratford earlier this year, features Peter, Wendy, Hook and Tinkerbell as you’ve never seen them before! You can reserve your tickets by calling the school office on 01403 822391.

To see updates from Pennthorpe’s Performing Arts departments, follow @PennthorpePA on Twitter.