3rd May 2024 Adam Hartland

Year 8 and 9 students enjoy performance of The Woman in Black

On Thursday 4 May, Year 8 and 9 students enjoyed a performance of ‘The Woman in Black’ at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre
Susan Hill’s 1983 gothic horror novel tells the story of Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor who is summoned to Crythin Gifford – a small market town on the northeast coast of England – to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow and settle her estate. During the funeral, he discovers that the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals. Over the next several days, as Kipps sorts through Mrs Drablow’s papers at Eel Marsh House, he endures an increasingly terrifying sequence of unexplained noises, chilling events and appearances by the Woman in Black.
The students were excited to see the text they had studied in their English lessons brought to life. The Year 8s have focused on gothic pastiche, analysing how tension is built in the text, and have designed their own pieces of original writing inspired by the novel. Year 9s studied the text last year in English and are now unpicking the play version in their drama lessons.
The legendary production – which has had an impressive 33-year run in London’s West End – didn’t disappoint! The play follows a metaplay form in which two characters tell the story, with a surprise third guest at regular intervals. Stand-out moments included when the Woman in Black stood staring out at her audience… and the ending had a great twist!
“I loved the theatre trip to see the Woman in Black! Overall, I found the play very exciting, I loved the set and the actors were very well- chosen. Comparing it to the book, it was such a big contrast because I wasn’t as scared. Whereas when I watched the film at home, I was quite scared, and I was even jumping out my skin! Thank you very much to all the teachers who went with us, they well and truly made it work perfectly!” – Hannah McKenna, Year 9
“The book was fun to read and unpick but the play was even better! It was thrilling and such a treat to see a fantastic story come to life on stage. Our pupils were expertly behaved, even though there were some jump out of your seat moments.” – Miss Forde, Head of English
The Kingsley School