A professional team of director and choreographers have this year put together a Christmas production with a difference. Putney High School had the chance to work with director Katharine Drury and professional dance and fight choreographers on the set of The Ash Girl, which premiered on Wednesday 5 December and runs all week at the school.
Professional actor and director, Katharine Drury became Director in Residence at Putney in June 2018 primarily to audition, cast and direct, The Ash Girl by British-based playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker. Having trained at Guildhall School of Drama, she is a great supporter of youth theatre and co-runs writing theatre company, PLAY.
In addition to preparation and rehearsals for the play, which starts a limited run on Wednesday 5 December, Miss Drury has been running workshops in the Senior school, improvisation sessions with Year 3 Junior school pupils, and working twice a week on professional development with A Level drama students and those interested in pursuing a career in theatre.
Miss Drury has seen the opportunity to bring in other professionals to assist with the play.
“I wanted to make it feel like a professional production and I decided quite early on that I wanted music running through the play”, she said, “I brought in composer Tom Chapman to compose an original score for the play in collaboration with the girls. There are at least 20 really good musicians in the cast. We also had a fight director come in to the work with the girls to choreograph the fight scenes and another professional to choreograph the dance scenes – it really is a great ensemble piece.”
Asked what appealed to her about The Ash Girl, she said, “I love the playwright – I acted in one of her plays so it was nice to come back and work with her writing again. It’s a challenging text for young people – there is lots of tricky dark material – it’s a play about loss and hope and a lack of hope.”