The phrase ‘You’re on mute!’ has become a standout quote from the nation’s time in lockdown, but there is certainly no mute button for the ever-enthusiastic Performing Arts Department at St John’s.

As lockdown 3.0 began, our Performing Arts Department were determined to not be muted despite the cancellation of forthcoming performances, and so the first of several lockdown projects began to appear from the editing suite! The St John’s institution of weekly Congers hymn practice has continued in full swing with videos each week, featuring several members of the choir and staff joining in with rousing enthusiasm.

Lunchtime recitals are a wonderful feature in the school diary, and the first of our lunchtime recital series took place in January, featuring musicians from Lower Sixth. Well done to Hannah, Harry, Emily, Will and Luca who provided a pot pourri of music from Bach to Bernstein. On Thursday 4 February, it was the turn of Lower Fifth to wow their virtual audiences with a musical miscellany; performances from Louis, William, Luc, Alexander, Jack and Will provided a welcome moment of enjoyment for our community.

While online rehearsals have been taking place in anticipation of the California Dreamin’ concert on Thursday 4 March, February was a busy month with two fantastic live musical theatre cabarets streamed directly from pupils’ homes (Positivity by Fourth Form and Lower Fifth, and Endings and Beginnings by Upper Fifth and Sixth Form), a remotely filmed presentation of Little Women, and a St John’s community dance routine and a virtual version of the Forbes Music Competition, which saw over 100 wonderful entries!

The entire school community enjoyed the ever exciting House Film Competition, this year adjudicated by Ed Turner – production designer for film & TV. Showing their creativity and commitment to this year’s competition, the following awards were presented:

House Fim Competition Awards
Standout Performance – Harry (West)
Best Cinematography – Monty
Best Sound – West
Best Poster Image – Monty
Special Recognition – Churchill
Best Picture – West

Amongst the excitement, pupils have also been excitedly preparing for the Miss Saigon musical which will now take place at the end of the academic year.

The Director of Performing Arts, Ollie White, commented: ‘We are determined to keep the spirit of the department going during lockdown and to continue to create the excitement of performing for our pupils. It is a fantastic way for the School to stay connected with one another, even if we cannot be together in person, and I am so proud of the way the St John’s pupils attack these challenges undeterred and with relish. Our video editing software is certainly being put to good use and keeping the team busy!’