2020. The year where the whole world had to go under lock and key because of a pandemic that was rapidly spreading. COVID-19 was its name. Because of the situation, places like theatres and cinemas had to shut down, and we were forbidden to go anywhere and because of it, our annual plays here at Whitgift School had to be cancelled, but our annual Whitgift House Drama competition was still able to run online! So, on Friday, November 13th at 6:30pm, the House Drama competition premiered on YouTube. 

 The houses performing were, Andrew’s, Brodie’s, Cross’, Dodd’s, Ellis’, Tate’s and Smith’s. They all had to devise or prepare a piece which could be comedy or drama, and film it. Here’s what Alex Braglewicz, a Year 10 student, had to say about this year’s format, “This year was different from most, but each house managed to have an individual and extremely entertaining take on a COVID adapted house drama.”  The performances contrasted from a parody of the hit US TV show, The Office, to a mockumentary of London, but in the end, Tate’s took the (virtual) trophy with their short film, A Comfier Seat, directed by Kit Connor and Henry Gillard, who are both Year 12 (Lower Sixth) students.  

Kit had to say this about winning the House Drama competition this year and gives a brief synopsis on the short film, “A Comfier Seat is a film about the IRA bombing of Hyde Park in July of 1982, following the experience of a young member of the Irish embassy. The idea that originally came to me was that of a man sitting in a toilet cubicle, talking to another man with a bomb. I liked the sense of tension that the situation itself would create. Then, with the help of Henry Gillard, I adapted it to fit the events of the IRA attack. Winning the House Drama competition was genuinely a great feeling. It was a lot of work to edit what was a ten-minute-long film down to fit the guidelines was really challenging, so it was great to have that hard work pay off.” The adjudicator for this year was Mr Daniel Pirrie, not an unfamiliar face to Whitgift School, as he used to be our former Director of Drama and has appeared in many TV shows, including Downton Abbey and Doctor Who.  

If there’s anything that House Drama 2020 has taught me, it’s that even in the direst of situations, there are people who will persevere to continue doing the thing that they love, even if there are borders restricting them from pursuing their creative passions. It taught me to persevere even in the face of adversity, and that there is still a glimmer of hope for the arts after all! All we need to do is follow the rules and wait, it will all work out in the end.