Register 2020


This year saw the House Plays tradition continue into its 51st year, albeit in a somewhat abbreviated form due to the disruptions to the school year caused by Covid-19. The length of plays and cast sizes were limited to enable the boys to create their plays in a very short time frame, and the Old Boys’ Theatre was a useful, intimate venue, because the audience size was restrained but not diluted. So, from 22–25 June, we had three nights of House Plays in the OBT, with a rotating audience of 200 as the Covid alert had (temporarily) moved to level 1. The adjudicator was Peter Rutherford, Director of Theatre Arts at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. In 1970, Headmaster Nigel Creese inaugurated the interhouse drama contest to give the boys an insight into the complexities of the production

and direction of plays. The fiercely contested Tothill Cup was named for science master TWC (Tommy) Tothill – a stalwart of College drama. House Plays present a steep learning curve, as boys grapple with the difficulties of interpreting words on a page into action on a stage, giving vision to their own and the author’s intentions. Directors assemble a cast from within their House and negotiate their rehearsals around choir times, sports practices, and all the other school activities. While doing this they pass the ball to the younger year groups by also teaching them how to create a successful production. In 1998, Headmaster Rob Zordan oversaw the development of a fully- fledged Drama department. David Chambers was appointed to lead the development of an academic drama

programme across every year level, creating a growing pool of senior boys with enhanced understanding of the processes of acting, directing, producing and, every now and then, effective script writing. House Plays got better. In 2020 it was appropriate to use the OBT for a competition beloved of so many Old Boys. It is 20 years since the opening of this generous gift, which has enhanced the life of drama within College. The opportunity for mass participation in drama across the whole school is a key feature of the House Plays Festival. It is our fervent belief that the festival should return to the Assembly Hall and the previous tried-and-true format.

David Chambers Director of Drama


Christ’s College Canterbury

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