Page to Screen

On March 1st, as the “Beast from the East” took hold in London, World Book Day fever was in full swing at NHEHS.

Our sixth form English Reps, dressed as the Famous Five, gave an entertaining presentation in assembly on the theme of the day – “From Page to Screen”. They spoke about the Harry Potter franchise before moving on to other film/book crossovers, including a link between Shakespeare and The Lion King! We were then treated to a talk by our visiting author for the day, Irena Brignull, author of “The Hawkweed Prophecy” series. Irena has also had a very successful career in screenwriting and her credits include “The Boxtrolls”, “Shakespeare in Love”, “The Little Prince” and the Sky adaptation of “Skellig”. She talked to us about her own experiences of embarking on a screenwriting career, and her message of the importance of self-belief was inspiring.

Some of our Year 10 students were also lucky enough to have workshops session with Irena later in the day. Based on how books can be effectively converted into screenplays, the workshops featured some clips from Irena’s films and exposed the students to ideas about the power of storytelling. Irena shared the idea that everyone is a storyteller, and went on to discuss how it is important to consider the need to show action in a screenplay as opposed to characters narrating their thoughts and feelings. A moving montage from “The Little Prince” really helped the students to appreciate this. They then embarked on their own attempts at converting a page from Irena’s first novel, “The Hawkweed Prophesy” into an idea for a scene in a screenplay.

Later on in the lunch break, students from throughout the school were able to join Irena in the library for a Q&A session. There were some profound questions, such as “What is the role of fiction?”along with more practical queries about how to get into screenwriting as a career. Irena spoke in an inspiring and motivational way, and the students left armed with the knowledge that they can succeed if they persevere with their writing.

Fancy dress always plays an important role in World Book Day and over 30 members of staff dressed up as book/film characters, with a range including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cruella de Vil, Tintin and a whole host of Hogwarts professors and students. Of course, the students all dressed up as well, and at lunchtime there was a large gathering in the atrium for the eagerly anticipated fancy dress competition. Judged by Mr Shoults (aka Paddington Bear) and Irena, the winning group entries included a Quidditch team and the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


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