The Performing Arts (Dance, Drama and Music) have always been popular at Brentwood School and in recent years there has been an explosion of interest and excellence in all three creative disciplines. At Brentwood, we have long since held that creativity is needed across the curriculum but it is often in the Performing Arts where innovation is sparked and, as with hundreds of our students, encouraged to develop.
We are a Steinway School and have an extensive rare instrument scheme in Music. These initiatives allow our children to test themselves in new ways and to achieve genuine excellence. Record numbers opted for all three subjects at both A Level and GCSE. With the Year 7 Performing Arts Showcase and our House Music event, all members of Year 7 perform at least twice to almost two thousand people; inclusivity is as important to us as excellence. We also know that once our students get a taste of performing, most of them keep coming back for more.
Drama at Brentwood allows our students to develop hugely valuable skills which they continue to use throughout their life, in and out of work. Studying Drama help students become confident, open-minded people who aren’t afraid to create, perform or do a bit of public speaking. Drama students are taught how to act, direct and design as well as becoming proficient in technical theatre. Alongside this practical education, students also learn how to analyse live theatre and explore play texts.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was very much a success, and that is mostly down to the fantastic teamwork and collaboration between all cast and crew members, really epitomising what Drama is like here at Brentwood School; a family business.
We are proud to have a thriving Dance Department offering not only the academic study of Dance but also a wide array of co-curricular Dance opportunities for all ages and abilities. Our Dance students develop creative, imaginative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacities, as well as gaining technical and expressive skills. In addition, it supports their knowledge and understanding of Dance through performance, choreography and critical appreciation.
Check out what our incredible Dance Department has to offer below:
Brentwood School is recognised as one of the leading Music specialist schools in the independent sector, with a reputation for musical excellence, inclusivity, and enjoyment. Our Music curriculum provides ample opportunity for both practical and written tasks, which are centred around the skills of listening, performing and composing, providing an excellent basis for building strong theoretical knowledge. Through the elements of music, students explore a wide variety of genres and gain experience in music technology, including Sibelius and Garageband software. Our Music Department holds over 70 concerts, recitals, chapel services and musicals every year and we are proud of the diversity and breadth of opportunity awarded to our musicians.
"I love studying GCSE Music because I find learning about music from different cultures really interesting. It helps bring new influences and inspiration to my compositional work."
At the very heart of the faculty is a spirit of family enterprise. The Whole School Musical brings together children from all years and the older students are consistently superb role models for our youngest students. We have a huge range of student-led initiatives, from our barbershops to the girls’ choir to Junior Drama Club, where this environment of warmth, support and joy is most keenly felt. A real highlight of each half term is the Performing Arts Breakfast, which sees over 100 students come together, older students paired with younger to simply enjoy each other’s company and creativity.
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 informal Performing Arts space within the Bean Academic Centre, a state-of-the-art Drama studio, a newly expanded range of purpose-built Dance, Drama and Music rehearsal studios, 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.
Dance is one of Brentwood’s fastest-growing subjects and students have the opportunity to compete in choreographic competitions, perform in dance shows designed by professionals and study curriculum Dance in one of three large and fully sprung studios.
At Brentwood, we are proud to have a thriving Dance Department offering not only academic study of Dance but also a wide array of co-curricular Dance opportunities for all ages and abilities. Dance is taught throughout the Senior School and at every level, students have the opportunity to perform in Informal Showcases, Dance Shows and Musicals. Dance Academy classes are also available for all age groups.
This year we have worked with the following prestigious Dance organisations and companies: Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, Rambert Dance Company and Matthew Bourne's New Adventures.
There are record numbers of students studying curriculum Drama and more children than ever auditioning for one of the most diverse programmes of co-curricular Drama in the country. The Faculty enjoys excellent links with London Theatre and all Performing Arts Departments are full of teaching staff who continue to work within the industry. Recent years have seen a huge number of our Drama students successfully audition for the National Youth Theatre and the National Youth Theatre Young Directors Programme, two of the most fiercely competitive courses in the country. Students have also dived straight into the industry after their Sixth Form education and we have had successful applicants accepted at Mountview, GSA and RADA. Students have also taken their technical theatre training with us into the industry.
The Drama Department has given my son so many opportunities to participate in a wide variety of performances. Their inclusive attitude has enabled him to express himself and get involved to develop his passion for performance.
Brentwood School Parent
Our Drama programme is incredibly busy and diverse. Recent productions have included Hedda Gabler, the RSC’s Arabian Nights, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, The History Boys, The Pillowman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bugsy Malone, Little Malcom and his Struggle against the Eunuchs, Measure for Measure, Coram Boy, Memory of Water, Fatherland and many more.
There are several opportunities for each year group to perform every year. The Junior Musical, Year 7 Showcase, Middles Play, Senior Play, Winter Musical, Shakespeare Schools Festival and Summer Shakespeare are our headline productions but this programme is supplemented with dozens of smaller studio performances for all year groups. Regular audition masterclasses, professional practitioner workshops, dozens of theatre trips, guest speakers and artists from the industry and a wonderfully busy and vibrant staff and faculty building make the Drama Department at Brentwood School one of the most fun and successful in the country.
Brentwood School is proud to be recognised as one of the leading music specialist schools in the independent sector, with a reputation for musical excellence, inclusivity and enjoyment. At the very heart of the Music Department is the ethos that music is for every child and the feeling that we are a family who work hard, who help each other and revel in achieving the impossible.
The Music Department holds an annual performance schedule of over 70 concerts, recitals, chapel services, musicals and international tours and we are very proud of the diversity and breadth of opportunity awarded to our musicians. Each week there are over 40 rehearsals for our choirs, orchestras, bands and chamber ensembles, all catered to different musical abilities and all with opportunities to perform in regular concerts.
We also specialise in student-led music-making and many ensembles and choirs are led, rehearsed and conducted by students within the school, which provides the perfect opportunity for demonstrating leadership, resilience and musical development.
Every year we are pleased to see musicians leaving Brentwood School to attend the top universities and conservatoires in the world to read music and follow in the footsteps of many of our past students, who are already successful professional musicians.
Brentwood School is truly dedicated to providing a first-class musical education as can be seen in three major recent developments.
- Firstly, we became an official Steinway School in November 2019, taking delivery of 11 new Steinway pianos and beginning a formal partnership with the makers of the finest pianos in the world. These pianos allow our students to perform on the very best instruments, as well as a range of other opportunities for masterclasses and performance.
- Secondly, we launched a fully-funded endangered instrument scheme, to allow more students the opportunity to trial and experiment with new and exciting instruments.
- Finally, we have become a partnership school with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the finest musical institutions in the world, who will be supporting our work and giving our musicians another pathway to success.
We place great emphasis on the value of music education and recognise its importance in:
- Allowing all students to benefit from the plethora of transferable academic and interpersonal skills that music education facilitates and develops, improving attainment and confidence across the curriculum
- Arming students with the creative skill-set, critical thinking skills and artistic benefits that are going to be increasingly important in the future workplace, ultimately increasing earning-potential
- Offering outreach, partnership and support to local maintained-sector schools to help promote, support and develop music education within the wider community
- Developing a community of students, staff, parents and OBs who understand the importance of cultural capital, supporting the arts and acknowledging their benefits to society at large
- Providing a proven route into professional music for those students who have the necessary talent, dedication and desire.
Find out more about our Music Department below: