Two Lower Sixth Trinity Drama students Barney Sayburn and Rob Wilding are entering the Southern Counties Drama Festival with an original play they have written as part of their A Level Drama course called ‘Letters of Last Resort’. 

The play dives into the ethics and politics of the topical nuclear debate through the eyes of three submarine officers working on one of the British ballistic nuclear missile submarines. In every submarine is a hand-written letter from the Prime Minister, locked in a coded safe, with instructions on what to do in the event the government is destroyed. In the play, the three officers open that letter and must decide what to do as the last resort. 

Mr Chambers, Head of Drama Productions, has been keen for the school to enter the Festival for many years, particularly after Rob devised an original play ‘DIG’ in 2020 while he was in the Fourth Year.  

As well as writing the script, Barney and Rob will both act in the play and have recruited fellow Lower Sixth student, friend and actor Amare McDonald who has collaborated with them on previous drama projects including ‘DIG’.  

Barney says, “It’s an interesting process because Rob and I both work on the script with Mr Chambers and rehearse as part of our A Level Drama class, with Drama Technician Mr White standing in for Amare. We then need to update Amare during lunchtimes and after school, we’re all very dedicated to making it work so have adapted our process. As this is the first time Trinity has submitted a piece into the festival, there is some pressure! The whole experience has been very rewarding, we really enjoy it, and we’re looking forward to finalising it and presenting a piece we feel proud of.” 

The duo is currently finessing the script, rehearsing and developing the set with Mr White and Technical Theatre Club students, and Lower Sixth student Aidan Keogh has taken the role of stage manager. They will perform an extract from the play at the end of January to a select audience including students and parents and inviting feedback. After their exams are over at the beginning of February, Barney and Rob can then dedicate the final weeks and half term to polishing the script. 

Mr Chambers said “I was very keen to produce a play at the Festival, having been impressed with the quality of work staged at The Barn over the last few years. To be joining in with other local groups is exciting, but even more so that our submission is from the pens of two of our talented drama students. It is no mean feat to turn what begins as an idea into a 45-minute play and Barney and Rob have approached this task with sustained focus and dedication. I hope that our production will do justice to their vision.” 

Barney, Rob and Amare will be performing the piece on Wednesday 22 February at the Barn Theatre in Oxted and are opening the show at 7.00pm. They will receive comments from the adjudicators and be put forward for the festival’s range of awards. We wish them good luck – break a leg! 

Tickets are available from Tuesday 31 January at: www.barntheatreoxted.co.uk  

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