Festival Report 2012
99th Taunton and Somerset Music, Drama and Dance Festival
The drama section of the above festival was held at the Temple Methodist Church, Taunton and Darren Riggs the Drama Secretary was pleased to announce that once again we had had a very successful week, with numbers very much higher than last year.
John Carrington, many will know as the Deputy Head of Taunton School before he retired in 2001, once again adjudicated the classes on Monday, which consisted mainly of Years 3 and 4, (7 – 9 years).
Verse Speaking and Prepared Reading.
John was able to give constructive criticism here which the children were able to deal with, and he was very much impressed with the confidence shown in the delivery of the poems and readings they had selected.
Thalia Squire, the adjudicator for the rest of the week, trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is a member of The Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama. Thalia has not been at the Festival before, but has examined in several schools in this area.
Verse Speaking and Prepared Reading Years 5 (9 years) to adult.
The set poems spoken by large classes could easily have been a boring experience, but they were dealt with in such different ways by the children that one never felt that, and they were all encouraged by the advice given for future work. Prepared readings were mostly ‘Own Choice’ and this produced a very interesting selection. Thalia did explain that a change of voice patterns was needed if you had several people in the text, but she felt that this was dealt with efficiently.
Duo Verse Speaking
This is not an easy thing to accomplish and needs a great deal of precision. 30 young children had had the courage to do this and they were to be commended. Audrey Leyland, a former teacher who now lives in the Midlands, will be delighted to learn that the ‘Audrey Leyland Junior Verse Shield’ was awarded to such accomplished speakers.
Solo Acting, Duo Acting and Group Acting
These, this year, had brought in a plethora of talent and a wide variety of chosen work. Thalia explained what it was that she was looking for in these categories and was able to demonstrate delivery of speech and body language, something that is vitally important if you are to connect with an audience. It is not necessary to speak to your fellow actors, eyeball to eyeball, and it is important to let your audience see facial expression and projection is a ‘must’. In the main this was the case, and the standard of work very good.
It was a delight to be able to award a Cup and a Medal for this work. In recent years it has not been popular with students and it was encouraging to see that Taunton is paving the way for work of this kind.
Although only five students took up the challenge here the work was of excellent standard. Before you can speak the language well you need to understand it and this they appeared to do. Thalia said how pleased she was that schools still encouraged the study of Shakespeare and praised the work of the tutors.
This had been a joy this year, with both ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Distinction’ certificates being awarded. Clear diction and good projection was needed and this was achieved by all the readers. Thalia hoped that this class would become ever popular and grow in size.
Both adjudicators expressed pleasure with the talent and commitment of all the competitors, and praised the teachers for their hard work and the parents for their continued support given to the children. The attendances of parents, grandparents and other members of the family in the Church had been impressive. They had both had an enjoyable week and wished the Festival great success in its Centenary Year 2013.