Between 10 and 12 houses produce a play in a typical year. Half of these will be in the Farrer Theatre and half in the Caccia Studio, with occasional productions in converted sites.
Houses differ in the frequency with which they produce plays. Some do so almost annually, some more occasionally. However almost all will produce at least one play in a typical boy’s five-year spell. House Plays tend to be inclusive — large casts, large backstage teams — so as to involve as many of the boys in the House as possible. For this reason they are usually directed by a master, who may or may not be the House Master.
Productions vary from the minimal to the lavish, and budgets for House Plays can exceed those for School Plays. Performance standards vary, of course, but many House Plays achieve brilliant results and attract large audiences. The repertoire is extremely wide, including classics, musicals, rep standards, and the best contemporary drama.
The House Drama Competition
This takes place in the Lent half. Houses enter a piece of theatre lasting not more than 30 minutes. This can be a complete play or an excerpt. There are no restrictions on the choice of play or on the size of cast. All directorial, production, and performance work must be done exclusively by boys from the house. Adults may only assist in the choice of play. The final round of the competition is judged by an outside adjudicator, typically a professional actor or director, and a trophy is awarded.