Drama is taught by a specialist teacher from year 3 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 either 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, girls in years 5 and 6 all take a role in an end of year musical and girls from years 7 to 11 are able to audition for a part in the annual Senior School show. We stage joint productions with our partner school, Rushmoor, and these have included ‘The Ash Girl’, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ and most recently, an elaborate production of ‘Bugsy Malone’ which involved a very large cast and lots of fun! These larger productions are held in The Place Theatre thereby giving the pupils the experience of performing in a professional venue.
Weekly Drama clubs run for Junior and Senior pupils. The after school Junior club is for pupils from St Andrew’s and Rushmoor and we alternate venues half termly to give the pupils a range of experiences. The Senior club, for years 7 and 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 are thrilled to be visited by the internationally acclaimed company, Frantic Assembly, in the autumn. The GCSE Drama pupils from years 10 and 11 will first watch the company’s current production at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and then, a week later, spend a whole day working with the company on devising and physical theatre.
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.