Winner of the 2023 Talk Education Award for Innovation in Education 2023 in Creative and Performing Arts
Tower House School has a unique and exceptional drama department, demonstrated by our production of a full-length sci-fi feature film, ‘Proxima’. Following the Covid pandemic, the school felt there was a desperate need for all our pupils to step away from computer screens, reconnect with their schoolmates, learn new skills and above all, come together for a big and ambitious adventure! Our Head of Drama, Mr Paul Geary, devoted a year to directing, filming and editing this production. With a cast of over 70 pupils in speaking roles, filmed in over 17 national locations this was an extraordinary experience for everyone involved.
To watch the film, Proxima Part 1 click here.
To watch the film, Proxima Part 2 click here.
To read the program that accompanies the film click here.
"Working on Proxima was a once in a lifetime experience. Mr Geary wrote an amazing script, took us to countless incredible locations to film and always gave 110 percent of himself to the production. I learnt how to work well with other people, and certainly patience; sometimes filming took longer than expected, but it was always worth it in the end. Proxima was such a rewarding experience; I saw how hard it was to direct and organise a production like this and I am so thankful to Mr Geary for making it possible. I really enjoyed watching the finished film on the big screen, knowing how much effort everyone had put into it. I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity."
- Roscoe, cast member
"Filming Proxima was such a special and unique experience which I doubt many get to have at my age. I really enjoyed every second from early morning shoots in the woods, to driving the getaway car and then filming in an old bomb shelter. What an experience! Every effort was made to make it as convincing as possible - we all learnt to make sure the audio recordings were spot on and how a simple thing like changing the pitch of your voice could make such a difference to the scene. I won't forget filming such an amazing production with such a great team."
- William, cast member
As part of the school’s performing arts programme, Tower House has a commitment that all Senior School boys (Year 4 to Year 8) have the opportunity to perform in a speaking role in our annual drama productions. Getting involved at a young age, learning from older boys and challenging themselves to try new things helps our students to continually grow in confidence and develop a real love for the performing arts. This is shown by the annual drama scholarships awarded to our Year 8 leavers and the many THS alumni going on to have successful careers in film and theatre.
In case directing, filming and editing wasn’t enough of a challenge, Mr Geary felt that writing a completely original screenplay would ensure it was tailored to the cast and enable the boys to explore themes of friendship, adventure, fear and triumph.
Tower House annual stage productions always include a filmed element to give our pupils a taste of the different dramatic and technical skills required. This year Proxima pushed this experience even further, enabling our pupils to gain a huge insight into the myriad of skills required for film production, including storyboarding, cinematography and audio recording. Roles were shared; learning to hold the boom and capture perfect audio, writing detailed notes of each take and keeping an eye on continuity were just a few new technical skills our pupils learnt.
Filming in all sorts of locations at different times of day (and night!) brought many challenges for both the staff and boys. Filming in muddy farmland, cramped basements, abandoned buildings, air raid shelters and dense forests highlighted to everyone the need for not only military organisation but also great teamwork! Our students realised that the success of a project is equally dependent on someone offering help as it is on a performer in front of the camera. The most powerful result of this project was witnessing the strong friendships formed between year groups as boys developed an understanding of each other and learnt to work together in a variety of challenging situations.
Proxima was finished in November 2022 and premiered at the Curzon cinema in Bloomsbury. An immensely proud moment for our whole community, it was also vital for our students to see the culmination of this ambitious project and what close teamwork, striving for excellence and pushing creative boundaries can achieve.