Perse student pens excellent Senior Middle School production

The latest Senior Middle School play broke new ground for Perse productions, as well as entertaining audiences.

Rather than taking a script by an established writer, drama teacher and show director George Smith decided to stage The Blood on the Bannisters, penned by Perse student Elif Cektir (Lower Sixth) and longlisted in this year’s National Theatre New Views play-writing competition.

He said: “There were moments when you had to take a step back to remember this was written by someone while they were studying for GCSEs and I think it’s a marvellous thing for us to have done.

“I think it’s the first time we’ve done a student’s work as one of our major productions and I’m very proud we were able to do this.

“It was a uniquely rewarding experience and unlike any other piece I’ve directed.

“I hope for the New Views programme going forward that this will give it a bit more gravitas and show there’s a possible opportunity for other students, having shown that this worked.”

Elif Cektir

Set in the 1950s, The Blood on the Bannisters revolves around Lizzie, who lives a bleak existence and becomes fixated with an author, Ivana, who lives in opulent surroundings on the opposite side of the lake. However, it emerges that Ivana is a figment of Lizzie’s imagination.

Although Mr Smith directed the production, Elif played a major role during rehearsals, explaining the characters’ intentions and motivations with the actors and making minor edits to the script along the way.

She said: “It was a great privilege to have been able to impact the play in terms of direction. Mr Smith checked the story and understood it perfectly, but it occurred to me during the dress rehearsal that I should have written a character for myself!”

The dress rehearsal was the first time Elif had seen her play brought to life and she was thrilled with the outcome.

“When I watched it, I was just so moved because the words I’d written were being said back even better than I’d imagined them in my head,” she said.

“Everything was so vibrant and to see what I’d written on paper become animated was amazing and strangely intimate.

“The cast was incredible and I’m really proud of them. They were like professional actors, they could definitely make careers out of it!”


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