Drama is an exciting and popular subject at Blackheath High School, from Nursery all the way up to Sixth Form. Every girl is given the chance to shine with regular performance opportunities and a dedicated co-curricular programme.
The performance calendar is packed and vibrant, from the Nursery Nativity, to the Junior School play, to the all-singing, all-dancing Senior School spring musical. These cross-departmental productions bring together students across multiple age groups and interests – on-stage cast members are supported by fantastic music groups, while teams of lighting, sound, and back-stage crews help behind the scenes.
The study of Drama and regular participation in on-stage activities encourages our girls to develop skills that will help them long after they leave us. Confidence for interviews, pitches and presentations is a vital skill to have, along with social and interpersonal skills that aid everyday interactions. Starting early in the Junior School ensures that even those who prefer to be out of the spotlight, are able to step into it comfortably when they need to.
LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) lessons and examinations are available from Year 4 onwards, encouraging those with a strong interest in Drama to take their studies further from a young age. These sessions are not only fun, creative and inspiring, the Grades 6, 7 and 8 count towards the UCAS point system.
The study of Drama is mandatory in the Senior School from Years 7-9. Timetabled lessons cover a wide range of topics, from Stage Combat to the widely-renowned techniques of Stanislavski. Every term ends with a performance relating to the subject learnt, allowing students to become accustomed to being on stage in front of an audience. The annual Gadesden cup is another opportunity for KS3 students to shine; everyone enters the interhouse Drama competition, which culminates in a thrilling final round in the Theatre, judged by an external adjudicator.
GCSE Drama is a popular choice, with the curriculum including a selection of scripted and non-scripted pieces that are performed in front of a live audience of peers, teachers, and parents. Students go on theatre trips at least once a term, not just as part of the curriculum on which their coursework is based, but to inspire and influence in the way only live theatre can.
The co-curricular Drama programme is varied and extensive with each KS3 year group having a dedicated Drama Club that meets every 2 weeks, and even a Musical Theatre Dance Club. In the Autumn Term, there is a Shakespeare School Festival for Years 8 and 9. The Summer Term play is a highlight of the performance calendar; with auditions open to everyone Year 7 to Year 9, this small and selective cast finish off the year in style. For those of a more musical nature, the Spring Musical is another option; with a larger cast and chorus, along with set design, backstage crews and a band, this performance is open to everyone from Years 7-13 with a passion for the theatre.
Additionally in the Senior School we have our Drama Scholars, who are part of the Girl emPowered Scholarship Programme. With a specific talent for Drama, scholars have additional opportunities such as company workshops and additional theatre visits. Scholars are expected to choose GCSE Drama, and to take leading roles in school productions.
The Girl emPowered Scholarship Programme is about providing the scholars with the knowledge and resources that will help them to achieve their goals and dreams. There are also academic, Art, Music, and Sport scholars within the programme.
A-level Drama classes are a small and select group, ensuring dedicated teaching for every student studying at this level. Expert audition and interview prep is given for those looking to continue studying Drama at university. Theatre trips are taken at least termly, often including complex and mature content that reflects this level of study.
Sixth Form students are welcome to audition for school productions and often obtain substantial leading roles. While there is no dedicated Sixth Form Drama club, students always have the option of starting a society around their specific areas of passion.
An additional Girl emPowered Drama Scholarship is awarded on entry to the Sixth Form, and both students moving up from the Senior School and those applying externally are welcome to be considered.