Elstree Declamations Competition

On Friday 28th January, Elstree hosted the final of the annual Declamations Competition. It was a pleasure to have the finalists perform in person, in the McMullen Hall, following last year’s virtual event. The audience commented on the joy that was to be found in the vigour and enthusiasm on display from all the pupils. It felt a particularly high standard with a real variety of literature on display. Though a competition, this was a real celebration of the spoken word.

What is involved in Elstree Declamations?

1). Pupils choose a poem or extract from prose or monologues from a play and memorise and practice the piece to recite in class

2). Pupils perform their recital in their English lesson and are selected by Elstree teachers on the following criteria: 

  • Engagement with the audience
  • Expression and use of voice and variation
  • Their understanding of the text
  • Body language
  • Appropriate gestures and eye contact

3). The semi-finalists from each year group and subsequent finalists are then chosen

4). The adjudicator judges the year group finalists in the McMullen Hall 

5). The adjudicator provides his/her feedback and announces the winners.

Feedback on the finalists

Adjudicator Jo West, Head of English at Downe House, made comments on each of the finalists and was very impressed with the standard of the performances.

Sophie S, 3CMK who read, ‘The Doves of Damascus’ by Ftoun Abou Kerech, “That was beautiful Sophie. Very poignant. What a great choice of poem.” 

 Isobel C, 4ELB who read, ‘Matilda’ by Hilaire Belloc, “Great pace and great drama. Super choice.”

 Harry L, 4PLJ who read, ‘Maggie and Millie and Molly and Maeve’ by ee cummings, “Lovely laid-back delivery. You were superb. Very impressive.” 

 Henry P, 5CLP who read, ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Caroll, ” Great humour and change of tone. Very well practised. Superb.”

 Toby W, 6JCM who read, ‘The Cow’ by Roald Dahl, “Loved your funny voices! 

Sophie P, 6PAS who read ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Incredibly dramatic. Lots of feeling.”

 Alex A 8PAS, ‘The Destruction of Sennacherib’ by Lord Byron, “Really captured the mood. Some lovely well-placed phrasing. Really mature and sophisticated in your presentation.”

 Petra M 7TDW, “The King’s Breakfast” by AA Milne, “Petra is hilarious and has a future in comedy! Lots of funny voices.  Very enjoyable. 

 Joshua C 8LJO, “Home” by Warsan Shire, “What a message, very important. Very genuine and well spoken. “

 Mrs. Jo West said after the performance,  “It was an absolute pleasure to judge, although, the standard was exceptional making it a very tough job!”


Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Juniors: Isobel C

Middle School: Henry P

Seniors: Alex A

I would like to thank all the pupils and the teachers of English for their efforts. A special thank you to Mrs Jo West for adjudicating and offering encouraging feedback to our performers.