Drama is taught throughout the Senior School and at every level, pupils have the opportunity to be a part of at least two of the thirty plus shows we stage a year which includes plays, showcases and musicals. LAMDA classes are also available for all age groups and are taught throughout the School week.
There is a wealth of teaching talent available to our students and with professional workshops, nearly twenty trips a year, small class sizes, contact with the National Theatre, London Theatre, RSC and West End directors, actors and producers and a curriculum designed to challenge pupils up to Drama school level, the future is very bright. Indeed, Drama and Theatre at Brentwood School is absolutely thriving. There are record numbers of students studying curriculum Drama and more children than ever are auditioning for one of the most diverse programmes of co-curricular Drama in the country.
Brentwood School was recently selected as the best Performing Arts School in and around London and with over 70 events a year there is excellence and opportunity for all students.
During the First and Second Years, pupils enjoy a lesson a week, which rises to three a fortnight in the Third Year. Pupils participate in a wide variety of activities in solo, paired and group settings. They are encouraged to grow in confidence, work effectively as part of a group and to acquire a range of fundamental theatrical skills. In the Fourth Year, all Drama pupils will perform in our annual ‘Fourth Year Showcase’. We visit the theatre four to five times a term, with all age groups.
Many of our Third Year pupils elect to continue this subject at GCSE Level with record numbers taking this route in 2018/19 and our results are consistently impressive. Those who opt for this popular course will devise their own drama performance, develop a portfolio about it, perform a section from a scripted play and sit a 90-minute written exam on a text they have studied as well as a piece of live theatre they have seen.
Our Sixth Form A Level and IB Diploma students also gain outstanding results and often choose to continue studying the subject (singly or in combination with another subject such as English) at university level. Recently, a number of our students have been accepted by prestigious Drama schools such as RADA and LAMDA as well as Oxford University to read History and we have a number of Oxbridge candidates currently heavily involved with the subject.
Each year the Drama Department stages five major productions at Sixth Form, Middle School and Junior School levels, affording every child a chance to participate as they proceed through the School. There is a range of subject-specific performance spaces throughout the School including the 400-seat auditorium, the classically inspired proscenium arch Memorial Hall, our new informal Performing Arts space within the Bean Academic Centre, Drama Studio 9, the outdoor Shakespeare Stage and the Courage Hall, which converts to a 1000-seat performance space for the annual House Music competition and the Promenade Concert. These places are creative hubs in the School and their influence is pervasive.
What skills will this subject help you develop?
In seeking to realise a role and understand a play text, students hone skills of close-reading and analysis which are extremely useful in studying English Literature and other essay subjects. The written elements of the courses enable students to develop their ability to express themselves clearly and coherently on paper. Many Drama and Theatre students have gone on to Oxbridge and top Russell Group universities to study Literature, PPS, Medicine as well as an array of other subjects where the skills learnt in the Drama studio are seen as crucial and, importantly, transferable. We have a range of comment from Cambridge University admissions tutors and English professors lauding Drama and Theatre as a curriculum subject because of the skills it instils in students.
Drama is fundamentally about communication and a good Theatre student excels in this area. He or she can thus be an asset in a business meeting, promotional setting or any context where persuasion and clear explanation are important, which includes virtually all areas of human contact. Drama also teaches a number of other skills including vocal awareness and clarity and the ability to work well as part of a team. Much of the time students spend is as part of an ensemble, developing devised work and helping one another to achieve their full potential. Students learn to set clear aims and goals, then work together to achieve them.
All those interested in applying for a Drama Scholarship will be required to complete the Drama Scholarship application form before the deadline of 1st December 2019.
Applicants will be invited to attend an all day Drama Scholarship Workshop where they will be involved in a number of spontaneously improvised group activities and a duologue, and will perform a prepared
brief monologue. Lunch will be provided. From this Workshop a shortlist of candidates will be invited back to an Assessment Day.
Shortlisted candidates will be welcomed by the Director of Performing Arts to a Drama Assessment Morning after which they will undertake a number of activities. Details will be sent to parents nearer
the time. Refreshments will be provided.
Successful candidates will also need to have performed very well in the Entrance Examination in January.