The Arts are alive and well at Shrewsbury!
At Shrewsbury International School Bangkok Riverside the Arts are incredibly well respected and important to all members of our community, and this is evident in the dedication and commitment to music, drama and art and design, both inside the curriculum and beyond. In the past two weeks alone, the health of both our creative and performing arts scene has been fittingly articulated through announcement of another Top in Thailand and two further Top in the World Awards for our Art exam students (the 17th such award since 2011) and two high quality performances; the annual Music Scholars’ Concert, and the Drama Scholars’ production of ‘Girls Like That’ by Evan Placey.
Hosted by the Director of Music - Mr David Place - the Music Scholars’ Concert took place in the Recital Hall in early October. Welcoming Year 10 student Nong-Tae Sirisook (Violin), Year 12 student Lauren Storah (Flute) and Year 7 Sirima (In-In) Pholtape (Piano) to the scholar family, the event was a fascinating insight to the rigours of both the music programme and the talent of its leading musicians.
Audience members were treated to performances from students in Years 7 to 13 on a range of instruments, from the piano to the flute, and from a series of well recognised composers including Chopin, Debussy and Strauss. However, by far and away the most wonderful of the programme items came from a Scholar’s Chamber Ensemble who performed pieces that were written and arranged by two of their own, Tay and Eve. These lively pieces (The Landler and Polka) were testament to not only the talent mentioned previously, but also to the many, many hours of practice and hard work that the students had dedicated to this performance over several months leading up to the event. Watching the audience respond to the students both as individuals and as an ensemble on stage, and from the sonorous clapping echoing through the recital hall, it was clear that all the parents and teachers alike are incredibly proud and appreciative of what these students bring to the school community through their exceptional music-making and artistic development.
Just a few days later, in mid October, a second scholars event, this time from the Drama Scholars proved to be of equal quality. Seven Sixth Form students performed ‘Girls Like That’ live on stage to an appreciative audience in the school’s Memorial Hall; a world-class stage where many students’ passion for performance is born at a much younger age in the contexts of Junior School year group productions, assemblies and concerts.
‘Girls Like That’ is an ensemble piece exploring the pressures on young people today in the wake of advancing technology. It was specially commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth to highlight the role of social media and friendships for young people. The group of scholars was extremely fortunate to work with a professional director and playwright Jack West, who took them through a series of workshops enabling them to find the characters within the lines and truly bring the words to life. Head of Drama - Kay Sanders - was delighted with the performance, ‘the students took the opportunity to work with a professional director and fully explored the nuances of the play’, she commented. ‘Dealing with the pressures of A-Level study alongside the rehearsals and planning was at times a challenge, but the students delivered a powerful and timely message to their peers and a younger audience superbly.’ The success and potent messages of the play struck a chord with the teachers in particular, so much so that performance was repeated to all students in Years 10-13 during assembly time.