The drama department offers exciting enrichment opportunities for pupils in all year groups. We encourage children to get involved with as many of these events and projects as possible, and the uptake is always high.
In the Lent term, we work together with the Music department to stage a whole school musical with a large cast and orchestra. Pupils have performed in previous shows including ‘Beauty & The Beast, ‘Oliver’, ‘Calamity Jane’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Grease’, and ‘Annie’, and have received rave reviews from packed audiences! We alternate our musicals with a play every other year.
We offer a weekly drama club which is run by our VI Form ‘Drama Captain’, alongside our Head of Drama. These sessions include a variety of different performance styles and are open to all pupils in Key Stage 3. The focus is always on having fun, building confidence, and encouraging collaborative skills. We have recently explored physical comedy, adapting fairy tales for a modern audience, and some scripted pieces. There is also a technical theatre group which aims to give pupils hands-on experience in all ‘backstage’ roles including lighting, sound, costume, and set design, as well as stage management and directing.
The department runs regular trips to the theatre; we are lucky enough to have easy access to a wealth of productions in London’s West End, as well as being close to excellent regional theatres such as The Watermill, Windsor Theatre Royal and South Hill Park. We also have long established close relationships with a number of acclaimed professional theatre companies who visit us in school to provide workshops and performances for pupils. We welcome a different practitioner each term and have recently hosted Scene Productions, The Paper Birds, Stage-Ed and Frantic Assembly. The benefits of working with such modern and exciting companies are that the pupils are able to experiment with new techniques and performance styles, learning first-hand from professional actors and directors.
We are also fortunate to be able to offer exciting residential trips to pupils including a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, with a backstage tour and performance at the RSC, visits to Shakespeare’s houses and a workshop, and an Art & Drama themed trip to New York where pupils were able to visit many of the iconic landmarks as well as explore Broadway.
The department enters festivals, both locally and nationally and have recently been involved with the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival and The National Theatre Connections Festival. Many of our pupils perform outside school with acclaimed youth groups and have secured leading roles with Berkshire Arts Academy, The National Youth Theatre, and in other professional productions. We offer advice and support for any pupils auditioning for drama schools or looking to work in the industry.