With the eyes of the world on London, our students at Oxford Royale Academy have been revelling in the Olympic fever which has been sweeping the nation. Such has been the Olympic excitement, that we have been distracted from providing an update on our students’ activities. So now, let us take you back to week four, with some highlights.
Living in one of Oxford’s three oldest colleges is a thrill for all Oxford Royale students. To walk across quadrangles that have been traversed by scholars for centuries inspires our students in both their academic and their extra-curricular work. Week 4 at Balliol College began with an optional debate, led by the students themselves, on the subject of Capitalism and Socialism, where they displayed confidence in taking the podium with many well-argued points. The debate was optional, but the studious atmosphere continued out on one of Balliol College’s immaculately tended lawns. Here students read through their notes, with counsellors on hand to support their learning. The day ended, however, with a much less serious event, a karaoke evening. Counsellors and students alike took to the stage to attempt a wide variety of songs.
St Catherine’s College
‘Romeo, Romeo, where art thou?’ As lines from Shakespeare go, this is one of the most famous. One of the workshops that has proved most popular with Oxford Royale Academy students is Shakespeare on Stage; led by actor, director, playwright, singer and tutor, Mary Scott. There is a strong theatrical culture in Oxford, and tutors like Mary are able to inspire students with the performance bug. This week students were working on Romeo and Juliet.
Charlotte had taken centre stage as Juliet, while Leo played Romeo, and both were running through lines and moves with co-stars, under the watchful guidance of Mary and the directors. Students are divided between those who prefer to ‘direct’ and those who want to take the stage.
Teaching focuses on many aspects of acting, including movement, expression, learning the language, and how to fight through any stage fright students might suffer from. The students put all this into practice at the St. Catherine’s College Graduation Ceremony, performing a scene in which Romeo courted Juliet at the Capulet Party.
As with all Oxford Royale Academy summer programmes students’ final evenings in the historic university city are marked with a graduation ceremony. The evening kicked off with a presentation of films created by the Film Academy students and performances given by those from the ‘Acting and Performance’ classes. Students and staff felt proud to display their hard work, and parents and friends equally so in seeing such fantastic achievements. The audience looked on fondly as all departing students walked up to receive their graduation scrolls and a handshake from the programme director. Some students also received a special prize for effort or achievement within their particular subject.
Emotional speeches were given from campus programme director Malcolm England, Junior Dean Grant, and nominated student valedictorian, Ben. Malcolm emphasised just how proud of themselves the students should feel, especially as English was most often not their first language. In mentioning Friday’s opening of the London 2012 Olympics, Malcolm raised the thought that many athletes will be disappointed at “only” being fourth place in the world, when really this is a huge achievement in itself.
In his speech, Grant shared with the audience that when he started at ORA it was just a job, but since then had become so much more. The Junior Dean declared that he loves his job so much, he even comes in to see the students on his days off!
Ben used his talents as a comedian to introduce himself and make the audience laugh. The well-spoken student gave a fantastically confident and heart-felt speech to illustrate what a fantastic time he’d had at ORA, how much he had learnt and how many friends he had made.