Drama and performance form a major part of life at Shrewsbury International School.
From the first days at school, children in our Early Years classes find their voice through singing, dancing and acting. As they get older, pupils progress to class-led assemblies, performance poetry, whole year group productions and auditioned performances to packed houses in the Memorial Hall.
The curriculum study of Drama and Theatre (from Year 7), and the opportunity to perform at all age levels, helps to develop valuable transferable skills that benefit learning in other areas of the curriculum, and beyond, including:
Leadership, communication, time management, collaboration and support of others, patience, creativity, imagination, adaptability, listening, focus, courage, stamina and confidence.
These skills, developed through the curriculum and extended through the vibrant co-curricular programme benefit all students, and for some develop a passion for acting and theatre production that leads to study at university level.
Shrewsbury utilises the expertise of visiting practitioners and companies to enhance our curriculum. Amongst others, Frantic Assembly and Splendid Productions are regular visitors to Shrewsbury and our pupils have learnt so much from the workshops and performances they offer. Our Drama and English Departments have also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company to develop creative and fun ways to teach Shakespeare to our students, a core element of the Key Stage 3 curriculum.
We also provide opportunities to experience live theatre when available, including residential trips overseas to attend arts festivals, and more locally staged productions.
Within school, we regularly screen National Theatre Live productions in the Memorial Hall to ensure our students have access to quality live theatre, from watching Peter Pan in Junior School, to works such as Yerma as part of the A Level course requirements.
In the Junior School, performance is woven into the curriculum, in the form of whole year group productions and class assemblies, and is a central feature of the school’s community celebrations, including Graduation events. Recent whole year group productions have included Fantastic Mr. Fox, Aladdin, Shrek and Peter Pan.
In Senior School, timetabled Drama lessons continue until Year 9, and from Year 10, students have the option to continue to GCSE and A level study. This allows further development of performance technique and the academic study of Theatre practice and theory, advanced texts, stagecraft, styles and genres from around the world.
It is through the co-curricular programme, however, that opportunities to perform are extended to students right through the school. The regular auditioned Senior School productions provide opportunities for all students to be part of theatre production both in on-stage and off-stage roles. They are able to experience the team work and dedication needed throughout the rehearsal process as well as the rewards that 'show week' brings.
The School’s main annual production (Senior School) takes place in Term 1 or Term 2. Every other year, this is a musical production, involving extensive collaboration with the Music Department. There are normally three performances on consecutive nights, featuring as many as 120 performers plus backstage crew. Recent play performances have included Grimm Tales and Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Ash Girl, whilst musical productions have included Sister Act and High School Musical.
The popular House SceneFest competition takes place annually as part of the Senior School’s International Day programmes. The competition sees performers from different houses collaborating in productions of a set theme, hoping to earn the coveted SceneFest Trophy for their House.
In addition to these events, the annual Fusion event, a series of individual sketches, musical performances, poetry, dance and comedy, provides an opportunity for students to take the creative lead, and is one of the most varied and popular events in the school calendar.
In recognition of our commitment to the Performing Arts, Shrewsbury offers scholarships to Drama students who demonstrate talent, passion and commitment – and who will continue to develop their stagecraft in life after school.