From King’s High to Hollywood

King's High, Warwick, have a strong reputation of producing A-list stars. Here, they explain why their pupils are flourishing in performing arts

Drama is a real strength at King’s High, Warwick and former pupils have gone on to enjoy tremendous success in the acting profession, from the BBC to Hollywood. King’s High can claim two Old Girls in Game of Thrones: Sophie Turner, known to millions for her role as Sansa Stark, was encouraged to audition for the part by her Drama teacher at King’s High. Sophie has gone on to storm Hollywood, with her roles in the X-Men films, and she is closely involved with the #Time’sUp movement in Hollywood. 

Sophie’s fellow Game of Thrones actress Gemma Whelan (who plays wise, loveable Kate alongside David Mitchell’s Shakespeare in BBC1’s Upstart Crow) and Poldark’s Ellise Chappell also had performance foundations laid at King’s. Recent Old Girls are currently studying at RADA, LAMDA and the National Centre for Circus Skills, and King’s High pupils have enjoyed private tours of RADA and LAMDA, through the school’s King’s Links programme, where former pupils show current pupils around their place of study.  

Last year, 183 girls sat LAMDA exams, and all passed with Distinctions and Merits. Performance – in Music, Dance, Acting – starts young, from Year 7 producing Plays in a Day, and acting in junior productions, to joint productions with King’s High’s brother school in the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, Warwick School. Recent productions include a dazzling Narnia, with some mesmerising puppetry, and a performance of Oliver!, where the off-stage live band, comprising Warwick and King’s musicians, were so good, the audience thought they were listening to a West End recording!   

This summer, the schools celebrated 10 years of joint productions with a run of Les Misérables, Schools Edition. Pupils enjoyed a masterclass from theatrical royalty, when they rehearsed with John Caird, Co-Director, with Trevor Nunn, of the original Les Misérables. John read from his original directing notes, and gave the cast invaluable insight into their characters. Pupils have access to professional theatre spaces, with Warwick town’s Bridge House Theatre, and Warwick Hall.

A new, state-of-the-art King’s High school building is rising fast, with the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation’s  Project ‘One Campus’, which sees  King’s High moving to a new site alongside Warwick School and Warwick Preparatory School in 2019. Shared Drama facilities will include two amazing new studios, with sprung floor, a ‘black box’ mini-theatre, mirrors and dance bar. 

King’s High’s performance students enjoy some wonderful opportunities beyond school. In recent weeks, girls have been out, treading the boards – singing for the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker, dancing and acting with local theatre groups and pantomimes, and performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.  Harriet Kelleher, who started at King’s last September, was a memorable Ghost of Christmas Future, haunting Phil Davis’s conscience as Scrooge in the RSC’s A Christmas Carol. She said, “I have always loved acting, so to be able to perform on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was a dream! My teachers have been so supportive with my dream of becoming an actress and continuing with my studies.”

Headmaster, Richard Nicholson said, “I am delighted to misquote Noel Coward – ‘The Master’ himself – and say: ‘Do put your daughter on the stage’, because King’s High drama is flourishing at school and beyond, from Stratford, to RADA and Hollywood.” 

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