Performing Arts are all about self-expression, exploring alternative options and embracing individuality. Used regularly as part of school life, Performing Arts can really help to strengthen the school community. Students develop a sense of individuality, perform well and as such are happier within themselves in the school environment.
Here at Stoke Park School, Drama and Music work seamlessly together to create a wide range of enrichment opportunities for students of all ages. We offer many opportunities outside the classroom for all students to take full advantage of and engage with. The Performing Arts play a hugely significant role in helping students to develop their creative skills. Educational theorists are increasingly emphasising the importance of “emotional intelligence”, developing a creative mind and fostering personalities and imaginations as students make their journey through school, to become happy and well-rounded individuals.
We have an exclusive enrichment program for our year 7 students in ‘The Bridge’, they can sign up to the Future Musicians program in either violin or woodwind, join the Bridge Choir or audition for the Bridge Musical. We hold an annual Bridge school production (Year 7 only), this is a small-scale musical put on in their first term to friends and family. This is a fantastic project and is always very popular, it instils a love for performing arts in our students from the beginning of their journey at Stoke Park. We also take part in the annual Shakespeare schools festival, this allows students to work with professional actors and perform in a professional working theatre. Creating opportunities and experiences for them which will last a lifetime. There is also a weekly dance club on offer, which is very popular and well attended. This is where students can explore a range of dance styles and choreograph their own work based on key issues that they feel affect them.
All year groups can elect for dedicated small group/pair or individual music instrumental or vocal lessons delivered by one of our visiting specialist musicians. Our extra and super-curricular opportunities run alongside the curriculum consisting of a range of groups such as Bridge choir, Senior Choir, Guitar Club, Rock Band, Modulo orchestra group and Drum Circle. Students from all stages have a range of opportunities to perform or get involved in music related activities, including regular concerts, showcases, talent shows, celebration assemblies, workshops, trips and our whole-school annual musicals. The whole school production caters for Years 7 – 13. This creates a great sense of community within our students as they all work together in a professional capacity to create what is always an outstanding quality production.
Alongside this we have designated drama and music ambassadors in KS4 and 5 who wish to take on additional responsibilities within the departments, such as, supporting open evenings, running warm ups in production rehearsals and supporting with the rehearsals for the Bridge production. The drama ambassadors also run a weekly drama club for KS3 in the summer term which culminates in a small showcase of student work. This develops their leaderships skills and allows them to apply the skills they have learnt whilst support the younger year groups. Bringing student to the centre of everything we do has led to us gaining the ‘Music Mark’ and we are currently working towards our ‘Arts Mark’. Our performing arts ambassadors have been an integral part of this process.
Students can also gain skills and participate in back stage production areas such as live sound engineering, lighting operation, costume design, set design and events management – making our events and shows student centric with the students at the heart of the whole music department. We have excellent links with our wider community and professional partnerships in the city and beyond and participate in several programs to offer a wide range of professional experiences for workshops, visits and opportunities to perform in world-class venues. We regular work with universities, music conservatories allowing and local theatre companies to ensure our students aspire to and work towards higher education and beyond. We run a range of trips to see live theatre, concerts and musicals as well as inviting practitioners into the school to run workshops with a range of students. Over the last few years we have worked closely with Frantic Assembly, Highly Sprung and Pilot Theatre Company, with our students participating in customised workshops.
We pride ourselves on our inclusive, inspiring and encouraging ethos where all students can be successful and realise their full potential. Studies have also indicated that children who participate in Performing Arts can enjoy improved performance in more traditionally academic subject such as mathematics and English. Performing Arts is not about right or wrong answers, and this is what allows children to develop self-confidence and belief in themselves. With improved self-confidence and self-belief, comes a natural pathway for our students to go on to master many more skills that will equip them for life. We believe that our commitment and enthusiasm is the key to providing an enjoyable and rewarding performing Arts experience of high quality learning and engagement for all our students.