English: Years 7 and 8 Explore Guns, Ghosts and The Gothic


Bede's Prep School's Year 7 and 8 children have enjoyed unforgettable theatre experiences in London’s West End this term, all in support of their studies of War Poetry and The Gothic.

On Thursday 14 January, Year 7 had the opportunity to see the National Theatre’s highly acclaimed stage production of Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’ at the New London Theatre, just two months ahead of its final farewell to our capital city.


As the children had been studying the topic of WWI literature and poetry, including the life and works of Wilfred Owen and Jessie Pope, they were able to compare the stage version to the original, fictional novel.

The work of the Handspring Puppet Company, with their life-size horses and other animals, was truly outstanding and, as an audience, the children and staff were fully immersed in the incredible story of Albert and Joey’s friendship, witnessing the trials and tribulations they endured.

Joy, pain, humour and gunshots were all part of this believable adventure, not to mention some inspirational staging and imagery!


On Tuesday 9 February, an anxious and curious Year 8 then boarded their coaches to see ‘The Woman in Black’.

Susan Hill’s novel was thoughtfully adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt, and the careful, creative theatricality of the production has made it both infamous and long running.

The children, who had just started studying Gothic horror, were seated together in the intimate venue and witnessed a veritable theatrical spectacle. Performed by just two actors, the simple yet cleverly designed set enabled the gentlemen to retell the whole story of Jennet Humfrye, otherwise known as ‘The Woman in Black’, using minimal props and a lot of sleight of hand.


The material was thought-provoking and left the audience feeling a wide range of emotions. Most importantly, the play set the scene superbly for the Year 8 children’s forthcoming Gothic genre writing, combining fiction, horror, death and romance.

Perhaps we will find another Mary Shelley in the making, here at Bede’s Prep School?


Learn more about the English department at Bede's Prep >

Learn more about life in Year 7 and Bede's Prep >

Learn more about life in Year 8 at Bede's Prep >