Upper Sixth Haileybury student, Suzi Battersby, has been awarded a gold medal with distinction in the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations, losing only three marks out of a possible 140.
What makes Suzi’s achievement all the more remarkable is that she took the exam at the minimum age limit of 17.
LAMDA examinations in Acting are designed to develop the skills necessary to communicate dramatic text to an audience. Suzi, whose ambition is to be a stage actress, began LAMDA lessons at the age of 11 at her prep school, St Anselm’s College in Bakewell, Derbyshire, and has progressed rapidly through the grades in only four years.
Gold is the highest medal awarded by LAMDA; the next stage is to undertake diploma studies.
For her exam, which was a solo exam, she had to prepare three monologue speeches of between four and five minutes each from published plays. Her repertoire included a Greek tragedy, a modern play and a free choice (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) which demonstrated her ability to do comedy, anger, tragedy, and an accent. She also had to do an unprepared sight reading.
"I would like to go to drama school after Haileybury and having this achievement will certainly carry some weight when I audition," says Suzi, who also attained distinction for her silver medal exam last year.
"My aim when I came to Haileybury was to achieve a LAMDA gold medal in acting by the time I finished school," she explains. "The fact that I managed to achieve it in my Lower Sixth year is an even better feeling."
Other Haileybury pupils who were high achievers recently in their LAMDA exams include Jo Rochling (15), who was awarded a bronze medal for his acting exam; Alexandra Marsh (14) who was awarded honours for her Grade 6 verse and prose; Jonathon Killen (16), who achieved distinction in his Grade 8 verse and prose; and Jean Gervoson (12), who was awarded a high distinction for Spoken English.
Says LAMDA teacher, Maggie Pagliarulo: "We have many foreign children at Haileybury so English is a second language for them. LAMDA gives them so much confidence and many end up achieving great things academically."