Whitgift Schools Sixth Form production of Not About Nightingales at the end of March 2022 was an exceptionally powerful piece of theatre. For over three and a half hours, senior actors from the Fifth and Sixth Forms held levels of tension and electricity as the story of horror and complexity unfolded.

The three-act play by Tennessee Williams set in a Philadelphia prison in 1938, is a savage and brilliant epic of depression era America.

Over three nights, several of Whitgift’s finest actors, some of whom were appearing for the final time in their school careers having graced the Whitgift stage for many years, gave their very best performances. Damola played the desperate and trapped prison informant who finds hope again in the unlikeliest of places. Jack was the brutal leader of Cell Block C, defiant in the face of oppression and maltreatment. Harry was the sadistic and chilling Warden Whalen, master of all he surveys, and seemingly without pity or remorse.

Although an epic, it flew by in a sequence of terrific action set pieces and tense moments, all on one of the most bold and extraordinary sets that Whitgift has ever produced, thanks to the AV Department. Featuring around 200 lighting fixtures and 14 speakers with surround sound, it was made mostly from recycled timber and items from past sets and filled with over 2000 litres of grey gunge!

While strong language and brief depictions of violence in a couple of scenes meant the production was not suitable for a younger audience, we were delighted to be able to welcome Sixth Form Drama students from local schools to experience the performance.

Congratulations to the company, crew and everyone involved.

 

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