Drama is introduced to Pinewood children during Pre-Prep and EYFS and is continued in the Prep School as a discrete subject in Year 3 when each form has a term of Drama as part of their Creative Curriculum. This is followed up in Years 4 and 5 with Drama lessons throughout the whole year. The aim is not only to instil an enjoyment of the subject, but also to nourish their creativity, build their self-confidence, improve their communication skills and develop their facility for empathy and a consideration of other people’s views. These values and skills are used to enhance the children’s learning throughout the school. This in turn is augmented through the experience of watching visiting TiE (Theatre in Education) groups in school (across a range of curriculum subjects) and visits to theatres such as the Wyvern in Swindon, the Everyman in Cheltenham and the Watermill in West Berkshire.
“The quality of pupils’ work in Drama is of an exceptional standard.”
(ISI Inspection Report 2012)
In the Autumn Term we have two senior productions. Just before the October Half-Term there is ‘Year 8 Presents’ – a largely self-directed soiree of short acts united around a central theme such as ‘Love and War’, ‘Shakespeare’, or ‘Gothic’. Whilst participation is voluntary, the children are encouraged and supported to explore their own ideas and interpretations of the theme through whatever performance medium they feel most comfortable, such as poetry, prose, music, dance, mime, puppetry or mask work. At the end of the term Year 7 perform a straight play (as opposed to a musical). In recent years this has been a Shakespeare play (‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Macbeth’) offering the opportunity to stretch the children with unfamiliar language and to challenge them to get under the skin of complex characters in emotionally-charged stories. This too is a voluntary undertaking, with a guarantee that all children that audition are assured some kind of speaking part.
In the Spring Term all of Year 5 go briefly off-timetable for an intensive two-day theatre workshop that culminates in a rehearsed reading/performance of the story of ‘D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers’. Meanwhile Year 6 rehearse and perform a full musical production over the course of the whole term. Recent shows have included ‘What A Knight’, ‘The Pirates of the Curry Bean’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Honk’. As with the Year 7 play, this is a voluntary production, the aim being to encourage those with a particular passion for drama to be involved with (and see through to completion) a production which will begin to stretch and challenge their dramatic range.
The Summer Term sees the Year 4 production, which alternates between a theatre-based show and an alfresco performance in the school’s glorious grounds (weather permitting!). Performances in recent years have included ‘Greece The Musical’ – a light-hearted look at the relationship between the gods and mortals of Ancient Greece; an adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and a junior production of ‘Rats’ – the re-telling of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn. As with the Year 5 production, all of Year 4 are engaged in this production.
Every year a number of our senior students take Drama either as a discrete Scholarship exam or as an integrated part of an All-Rounder award to a variety of public schools. Through performing and participating in school productions students are able to gain their drama colours or even the coveted Pinewood Honours for particularly outstanding performances.