Belvedere has a strong reputation for drama. There is an ambitious and varied annual season of productions, giving scope to very large numbers of pupils to become involved in the theatrical life of the school. The flourishing drama scene in the college has inspired many pupils to make a career in the world of theatre and film as actors and directors.
Four productions are staged in a typical year. As well as acting in the productions, boys build and paint the sets, provide lighting, projections and sound, collect and manage props and play in the orchestra under the guidance of members of staff.
The Junior Musical (1st and 2nd year students)
For most boys, their first appearance on the stage of the College O’Reilly theatre will be by performing in the Junior Musical. Boys in their first two years frequently play major roles in the junior show and occasionally in senior shows too. The Junior Musical is an annual production, staged at the end of October, and is cast exclusively from boys in their first two years. All boys are welcome to take part regardless of ability or experience. Recent productions have included “Elf”, “High School Musical” and “Pirates of Penzance.”
The Senior Musical (Students from 3rd to 6th year)
The Senior Musical is a large scale production staged in late November/early December and is open to students from third to sixth year. Auditions are held for main roles, but the show is open to all students regardless of ability or experience. Recent productions have included “Sweeney Todd,” “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Spamalot,” “Les Misérables” and “West Side Story.”
The Senior Play – Class Acts
The Senior Play is staged in the month of March and is open to students in First to Third Year. Students take on directing roles under the mentorship of a staff member. Three one-act plays are performed on the O’Reilly stage. Students have the opportunity to have their own writing performed in a professional theatre.
The First Year Play (1st year students)
This production is staged in the month of May and is open to all First Year students. It gives those with an interest in performing arts, the opportunity to take part in a second production in the year and allows those who did not take part in the Junior Musical, to make their first appearance on the College stage. Previous productions have included “The Wind in the Willows,” “Peter Pan,” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
All first and second year boys have the opportunity to take part a weekly speech and drama class. The emphasis is on creativity and fun. Drama Club involve improvisation and theatre games; the rehearsal and performance of dramatic texts and getting used to performing in front of an audience. Students interested in getting involved should contact Ms Oliver.
The Stage Crew
The ‘stage crew’ is an activity for boys interested in stage management, design and the technical aspects of theatre production. It is open to all boys throughout the school. The stage crew has responsibility for the design and building of the sets and the management of the stage during the various productions. Stage Crew work is creative, collaborative, and a fantastic experience for boys to get involved with.
The Lighting, Sound and V.R. Crews
The lighting crew design the lighting for all shows and rig and operate the theatre’s powerful technical systems. They gain a grounding in a whole range of design and craft skills, including the solving of complex computing and electronic problems; they begin to learn aspects of management; and they develop an understanding of the fundamentals of the technologies and creative practices of the media and entertainment worlds.
The sound crew work closely with the sound engineer and also have responsibility for sourcing and managing the sound effects for each production.
Students involved in the video realisation crew source, design and produce stage projections to complement the set design.
The Artistic Design Crew
There are plenty of opportunities for pupils to design and paint the sets and props used in the college productions, and through their work, to learn about the artistic side of theatre. The artistic design crew is open to all boys in the college and they meet on Wednesday afternoons from 2.30pm to 4.00pm and on Saturday afternoons from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. This is an exciting and creative crew and students find it hugely satisfying to see how their work can transform the stage and bring an empty space to life.
Students who play an instrument may audition to play in the orchestra for the Senior Musical. This orchestra of approx 30 musicians, is made up of present students, past pupils and a small number of professional musicians.
The O’Reilly Theatre
The O’Reilly Theatre, our purpose-built, professional-standard performance venue, is fully equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, sound and stage technology, and has seating for over 400 people.
The Drama Team
Stephen Carey – Head of Drama