Performing Arts at Kellett School
Those first tenuous steps as an elf or a reindeer in a Reception Christmas show may be the beginning of a long and fruitful journey to playing a Pink Lady in “Grease” or one of the eponymous “Blood Brothers” in a senior school production, stopping off en route to be an Ugly Sister, Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes.
How does this all happen? In the Preparatory Schools, everyone will take part in their class assembly, giving them a small taste of life on stage. These are often curriculum related, based on what the class is studying at the time, or calendar related, such as Chinese New Year or Halloween shows. One teacher confesses that it’s quite intimidating when you first see the standard of Kellett assemblies and wonder if you can match it! Often the children’s work is incorporated into the assembly, or they even write the script themselves, as with some of Mr. Lovell’s West End calibre assemblies. Emily Peters, who appeared in 5ML’s Watership Down assembly recently, says “Half way through my tour two years ago, I was so amazed by the facilities, I wanted to join Kellett as soon as possible.”
Alongside this, sometime around October, Christmas starts looming – as one anonymous staff member said, “I’ve worked in a lot of places, but no one does Christmas like Kellett!” Whilst we try to be traditional, it’s important that families with several children don’t feel like they’re watching the same show (or costumes!) every year – whether we use or tweak an existing script, or write something new, there are always Hong Kong references and some current music, along with the well-roasted chestnuts like Rockin’ Robin. In 2012, it seemed every show had a Gangnam dance – from Reindeer Style to the seven dwarves and their “Vertically Challenged Style”.
The Christmas season kicked off with the Year 4 panto - oh yes it does! The teachers spend a lot of time “Kellett - ifying” a traditional script, and the class parents work on getting over 100 costumes ready between the two campuses. There have been some very talented and generous parents involved in all shows over the years and our former theatre technician, with West End experience, commented that many a small theatre company would envy our costume wardrobe - not to mention Humphrey, our life-size camel, with cameo roles in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Aladdin” after being kindly donated by a parent.
Barely is the panto “behind you” when the Reception and Year 1 and 2 shows are gearing up, with snowmen and shepherds sharing the stage, whilst the senior school students are deep into rehearsals for their big show. We may never have another laser car that almost stole the show in “Grease”, but as you’ll read elsewhere in this issue, the recent “Blood Brothers” was a truly stunning performance.
The other big event of the prep school year is the musical - like the senior show, always a tricky decision, choosing a script that will accommodate actors, dancers and singers, with a flexible number of parts large and small. With rehearsals after school and some weekends, this, again like the senior school show, is a major commitment requiring dedication as well as talent. And like the senior show, it’s great fun to be part of! The 2015 shows will be in the smaller theatres at each campus – “The Little Mermaid Jr.” at Pok Fu Lam and “Aladdin Jr.” at Kowloon Bay. In future years, you may see the same children treading the boards in more adult roles at senior school.
There are many other opportunities for would-be performers at Kellett –but it’s not a competitive sport! For the serious older thespians, drama is offered all the way to A-level, with performance exams, workshops and theatre outings. We also have choirs and orchestras in each school, with choral and instrumental evenings showcasing their talents, reaching a crescendo with the Musical Evening in June.
With the beautiful new theatre at Kowloon Bay, inaugurated last year with “Joseph”, we have a perfect venue to make our big productions look even more professional. Book early to avoid disappointment!