Drama is taught to pupils from Year 3 upwards with Senior School lessons taking place in our atmospheric Drama Studio. Pupils are encouraged to use improvisation to explore topics and improvisation skills and techniques are built on and enhanced over the years.
Pupils are also introduced to a variety of plays from an early age through play texts in lessons, by going to the theatre or by bringing theatrical companies into the school.
The pupils are encouraged to perform in front of an audience as often as possible. Within the drama lesson they will perform to their peers, to younger pupils and there are opportunities in assemblies. The youngest pupils take part in a Christmas production, and girls from years 6 to 11 are able to audition for a part in the annual Senior School show. We stage independent productions and also joint productions with Rushmoor School. Some of the former have included ‘Daisy Pulls it Off’ performed at The Place Theatre; ‘Mary Poppins’, performed here at school and featuring the whole of Years 5&6 as well as the senior cast; most recently the contemporary and thought-provoking play, ‘This Changes Everything’ which we performed at The Quarry Theatre as part of their performing arts festival week. The joint productions have also been great fun with large casts and fantastic sets and props! Together, our school have staged ‘The Ash Girl’, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, ‘Bugsy Malone’ and Peter Pan’ all of which were held in The Place Theatre thereby giving a wide range of pupils the experience of performing in a professional venue. ‘Guys and Dolls’ is currently underway and we are looking forward to performing this at Rushmoor School in June 2020.
Weekly Drama clubs run for Junior and Senior pupils. The after school Junior club is for pupils from St Andrew’s and Rushmoor School and we alternate venues half termly to give the pupils a range of experiences. The Senior club, for years 6,7 &8, is run by the Year 11 Drama prefects who always have great ideas for enthusing the younger girls. Speech and Drama is a popular extra-curricular subject where the LAMDA syllabus is followed across a range of disciplines including acting, verse and prose and reading for performance. Pupils are encouraged to perform in the Bedford Festival of Music, Speech and Drama, with very good results achieved each year. Drama is also a popular and successful subject at GCSE level with a number of pupils going on to pursue their interest in Post 16 and Higher Education courses. The studio is always buzzing with activity as the GCSE girls prepare for their practical assessments with the high standard providing inspiration for the younger pupils. All GCSE students go to see several professional productions a year and participate in drama workshops which help towards their exam work. We were thrilled to be visited by the internationally acclaimed physical theatre company, Frantic Assembly, in the autumn. The workshop, held at Rushmoor School, inspired and pushed our GCSE and A Level pupils with all subsequently incorporating the beautiful and effective techniques into their own devised work.
It is evident that through drama pupils develop their communication skills, self-confidence, creativity, co-operation skills and team work. The contribution to the whole pupil and their self-esteem is immense.