Pupils in the Lower School follow Arts Award pathways and enjoy a thoroughly enriched curriculum due, not least, to our partnership work with the Octagon Theatre. Lessons focus on enjoyment, imaginative exploration, inclusive participation and exposure to a range of art forms and practitioners. We follow the tenets of the Arts Award programme: inspire, explore, create and share. We believe that providing a public audience for student work encourages boys to reach for high standards. All boys have multiple opportunities to perform for a live audience across their school career.
'And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.'Roald Dahl, from 'The Minipins'
Year 7 boys begin the year with focus upon introductory performance skills – navigating performance space, solo and group movement, gesture and voice. This year, they will produce their own work for performance based upon fairy tale and myth. Boys will adapt folk tales to re-imagine the stories from unusual and alternative perspectives. The project draws inspiration from the Octagon Theatre’s ‘Cinderella’, a version of the famous tale told from the rats’ point of view. Pupils will have the opportunity to meet with the play’s director, learn about the design process behind the production and create designs for their own adaptations. Examples of the current activities Year 7 pupils are carrying out in Drama lessons can be found here.
'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'Harper Lee, from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Current work in Year 8 focusses upon Harper Lee’s novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Pupils' understanding of this work is again enriched by association with an Octagon Theatre adaptation. Educational resources to support the stage adaptation of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' can be found here. Our project involves exploration of character and methods to develop a role for performance, staging Tom Robinson’s trial as a piece of forum theatre and verbatim theatre work on the topics of democracy and race. There is a keen focus upon the skill of empathy and development of informed social values woven through the work. Examples of the current activities Year 8 pupils are carrying out in Drama lessons can be found here.
Previous projects have included Year 7 page to stage work with a Roald Dahl focus and Shakespeare for Young Directors: a Year 8 project that produced a range of reduced Shakespearean Comedies, Histories and Late Plays. Lower School work is celebrated in our Drama Festival that takes place at the end of the academic year.
'Be great in act as you have been in thought.'William Shakespeare, from 'The Life and Death of King John'