Clubs and Productions

The Greek Play

When: The first half of Michaelmas Term

Year groups: Lower Fourth and above

Each year, in collaboration with the Classics Department, MCS stages a Greek tragedy in translation (recently Prometheus Bound and Agamemnon). This is directed by the school's Director in Residence, with opportunities for Sixth Formers to assist in the creative team. With a short rehearsal period (just five weeks!) the emphasis is on creating a strong sense of ensemble, often making use of puppetry and other varied skills. This is a great opportunity for Middle School boys to act alongside some of our best Sixth Form actors in a short, intense theatrical experience.

The School Musical

When: Michaelmas Term

Year groups: Sixth Form

With an average cast of well over thirty, plus full band and backstage crew, this is one of the most popular events in the school year, and a great opportunity for Sixth Formers to meet new people, create a high quality show, and have a lot of fun along the way! Recent productions include classics such as Cabaret!, 42Street and Beauty and The Beast, alongside new shows written specially for the school (The Bluestocking and 1917). If you enjoy dancing, singing and acting, this is the show for you, and if you’ve only had experience of one or two of those, then we’ll quickly train you up.

Lower School Drama Club

When: All through the year, with a performance in Hilary Term

Year groups: Second and Third Forms

Location: The Studio, Wednesdays 4pm - 5.30pm

This is an opportunity for the youngest pupils to take centre stage, learning key theatre-making skills and rehearsing towards a performance in Big School. Recent productions include a puppetry-based Frankenstein, an epic school-room version of The Iliad, a comic re-writing of Jekyll and Hyde and a fantastically vibrant version of Animal Farm. Younger pupils have the chance to take leading roles and develop their ensemble skills under the tutelage of our Director in Residence.

The Sixth Form Play

When: Hilary Term

Year groups: Sixth Form

This is a chance for the school's best older actors to stage a performance in the Burton Taylor Studio at Oxford Playhouse. Recent productions include A Doll’s House, Time and the Conways and Black Comedy, the last of which was directed and produced by a Sixth Form team. It’s competitive to make it into the cast, but there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved in the creative or technical teams.

Middle School Play

When: Hilary Term

Year groups: Lower Fourth, Upper Fourth and Fifth Forms

This is a large scale production which gives Middle School boys the chance to take leading roles, working with challenging texts ranging from Shakespeare’s Henry V to Journey’s End and Tom Brown’s Schooldays. MCS is ambitious with what we expect from the cast but there’s usually space for everyone who wants to be involved and this is a great way to meet pupils from other year groups and have some fun. There’s often live music, too, so instrumentalists can be part of the production, and the technical team is made up entirely of Middle School boys too.

The Playhouse production

When: Hilary and Trinity Terms (auditions in Michaelmas)

Year groups: Various

The biggest show of the year, this is when our acting talent from a number of year groups comes together to put on something truly extraordinary. The show is created and directed by our Associate Director, supported by a full creative team, and is as close as school pupils can get to taking part in a professional theatre production. The Oxford Playhouse is a renowned space and this is an opportunity not to be missed for keen actors. Recent productions have included original versions of The Wind in the Willows and Alice in Wonderland, plus a new re-telling of J M Barrie's Peter Pan.

The School Field production

When: Trinity Term

Year groups: Various

Traditionally (but not always) a Shakespeare play, this production takes place on the school's stunningly beautiful island, with the river Cherwell as the backdrop and punters gently cruising by. The cast is usually led by Sixth Formers with younger pupils in the ensemble. The bulk of rehearsals take place after exams, making this a great way to de-stress! Our most recent productions have been A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

The Edinburgh Fringe

When: The summer holiday

Year groups: Sixth Form

Each summer one of our productions is taken up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a truly incredible experience. As well as performing to a wider audience it’s a chance to see more theatre in a week than most people see in a year! In recent years we’ve taken up an abridged, modernised version of King John, a rip-roaring quartet of farces by Chekhov and a newly-devised retelling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. A must-do for budding thespians!

MCS Theatre Academy and Technical Theatre Academy

When: Saturday mornings during the Michaelmas and Hilary Terms

Year groups: Lower Fourth and above

In addition to our many staged productions, we run a skills-based theatre academy which aims to give pupils an introduction to as many forms of theatre as possible. With workshops in everything from stage fighting to directing this is a chance to develop a deeper understanding of theatre. A technical theatre academy runs alongside this, giving pupils the chance to learn the essentials of lighting, sound, set design and backstage work.

Other opportunities

MCS is always keen to give pupils the chance to take their passion for drama in new directions. There are opportunities for pupils to direct, produce and design productions, or to take responsibility for costumes, props or make-up. The school hugely encourages pupil initiatives: three recent productions have been entirely pupil-led. For example, Reflections in November 2018, a play about the Great War, was researched and created mainly by Sixth Formers, see left. The French department often stages a French-language play, and we collaborate with various other departments on a number of other projects through the year. The Drama staff are always looking for new challenges too, for example taking a group of Sixth Formers on tour through the Tuscan hills as ‘strolling players’, performing The Knight’s Tale to Italian audiences for a week in July. All the world’s a stage, so come and join the fun!