Involvement in drama outside of the classroom is a popular and highly valued extra-curricular activity, providing the pupils the opportunity to be part of a team working together to produce a professional standard production. The productions at Exeter School are of an exceptional standard. There is the opportunity for large numbers of pupils to get involved in the productions, whether it be as a performer, or part of the increasingly popular production team. Although the productions are directed by one of the members of the Drama department, the performances are run by the pupils – as performers, as a member of the production crew involved in running the tech desk, as stage managers, as hair and make-up artists, as wardrobe assistants or in the props department. The school productions are an inclusive school event aimed at getting as many pupils involved as possible, whilst putting on a professional quality production.
There are three senior school productions in the year – the Senior School Play (Upper Fifth to Upper Sixth) in the Autumn term, the Middle Fifth play in the Spring term, and the Lower School Play (Third Form to Lower Fifth) in the Summer term. This allows for all pupils across the Senior School to get heavily involved in a production should they want to.
The Senior School play is on a three-year rotation, with a musical one year, a Shakespeare the next, followed by a straight play in the final year of the rotation. This offers the top three years a variety of styles and genres to perform; each year requires different skills and dramatic understanding, and therefore opens up the opportunity to be on stage for a greater range of pupils.
Productions often use outside professionals to help shape and contribute to productions including the use of West End choreographers, specialised theatre practitioners and a few professional musicians. Pupils enjoy working alongside working professionals and get a taste of what working in the professional industry might entail.