Coaching for LAMDA examinations in Acting (Solo), Speaking Verse and Prose, and Speaking in Public is provided at the school by former theatre director, BBC Radio Producer/Director/Commissioning Editor and free-lance Television Drama Producer, Bernard Krichefski.
Like music exams, these exams are graded from Entry Level to Grade 8 but, instead of playing instrumental pieces, candidates perform solo dramatic scenes, or recite poems and extracts from novels or, for the Speaking in Public exam, give talks on subjects of their own choice and conduct a conversation with the examiner on a range of topics.
Bernard stresses that the intention is in no way to turn boys into actors, but to help them to express themselves with confidence, to use their imagination and to contribute to an understanding of dramatic literature. These are the most important outcomes as opposed to the narrower objective of achieving high marks in the exams. However, it does also have to be said that results have been highly encouraging.
In the academic year 2016/2017, 25 boys took LAMDA exams at the school and gained 9 Distinctions and 16 Merits. In 2017/2018, a further set of results were particularly impressive with 8 out of 10 boys awarded Distinctions and these included the first boy at St. Anthony’s to gain a Distinction at Grade 7, which will, in due course, contribute a significant number of points in his UCAS application. Since then, the numbers of boys opting for LAMDA coaching has grown term on term and the most recent group of 17 boys taking the exams not only achieved 10 Merits and 7 Distinctions (no straight Passes), but the latter included the first boy ever to be awarded 100/100 marks!
In the current term, by way of experiment Bernard has included a large contingent of Year 4 boys, though his usual preference is not to start coaching boys until they are in Year 5. In view of the scale of the waiting list for Summer Term 2019, he will probably revert to this policy for the immediate future.
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