Gifted pupils at Horris Hill School are preparing to inaugurate the school’s new, state of the art theatre with their first major musical production this year, School of Rock.

The purpose-built David Brownlow Theatre will be electric as the Upper School hosts its annual, end-of-term show across three nights in July (8-10). Thirty boys from the leading independent day and boarding school will showcase their talents and grace the stage to perform their rendition of the popular musical. Supporting behind the scenes are a further ten pupils, who are heavily involved in production, set design, lighting and sound effects, alongside a team of committed staff members from across the school – a true team effort.

Taking centre-stage for the highly anticipated performance is talented young actor and boarding pupil Samson Wakayu (12), who will portray the lead character, Dewey. Samson is no stranger to the spotlight having starred in famous West End productions Kinky Boots and Matilda, where he held the coveted roles of Young Lola and Bruce Bogtrotter.

Samson, who joined Horris Hill School in September last year, commented on his preparations for the upcoming performance, “I have thoroughly enjoyed learning my lines for our end-of-term production; the School of Rock script is very funny which has made rehearsals with the rest of the cast so fun.  I am very passionate about music and drama, and it’s great to be around many other boys at school who share the same passion.”

Horris Hill School Pupil Samson Wakayu (12) in Rehearsals for School of Rock

Led by Head of Drama Chloe Anderson, and Director of Music Thomas Bennett, pupils have been dedicating two evenings a week to perfect their roles, and have risen to the challenge of balancing rehearsals with their studying and many other extra-curricular activities. Once the boys in Year 8 have completed their Entrance Exams, rehearsals will be ramped up in readiness for the final dress rehearsal on 7 July and subsequent trio of shows.  

Giles Tollit, Headmaster at Horris Hill School commented, “Preparations for our annual musical theatre performance are well underway and our talented pupils are showcasing an immense amount of determination and passion in rehearsals. Music and Drama is a huge part of school life here at Horris Hill and I am confident that our boys will put on a truly professional production – a fitting way to celebrate the official opening of our new theatre.

“The David Brownlow Theatre is a spectacular facility in the heart of the school. Performance, whether in drama or music, certainly builds confidence and enthusiasm in each child, something which our boys at Horris Hill have in abundance. All boys are exceptionally keen to perform and we are proud to ensure that all pupils get the exposure and experience to do so.”

Horris Hill School pupil Digby is the Stage Manager for this year’s production

Also preparing to tread the boards are pupils in the Middle School, who will showcase their production of James and the Giant Peach, in the penultimate week of term. They will also take to the school’s outdoor stage to perform snippets of the show during the renowned Horris Hill Day.

The new theatre, which was funded by support from current parents and alumni together with the Greenham Trust and David Brownlow Foundation, has the capacity to seat 154 adults in total. In addition to its internal use for productions, prize-giving ceremonies, assemblies and many other school events, The David Brownlow Theatre is opening its doors to the community and will soon host the Newbury Spring Festival. To find out more about using the theatre please contact

Situated in a beautiful natural setting surrounded by 85 acres of woodland and playing fields, Horris Hill is one of the UK’s leading day and boarding preparatory schools for boys aged between 4 and 13, with an outstanding academic reputation. With full, weekly and transition family-friendly boarding, Horris Hill welcomes boarders from around the globe, as well as providing local collection bus routes for day pupils who attend the school from the towns and villages neighbouring the school’s stunning rural location on the Hampshire/Berkshire border.

For those looking to visit Horris Hill and experience its unique atmosphere and ethos, contact the school to arrange an individual tour by emailing

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