The Performing Arts are a fundamental part of our curriculum at WGS. There are so many ways for pupils to get involved including School productions, music ensembles, stage crew activities, regular theatre visits to London, a bi-annual tour to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, open mic events and national public speaking competitions. Apart from classroom Drama, Music and Dance lessons there is specialist teaching available for Trinity College London examinations in Music, Acting and Speaking, Communications Skills, Singing and Musical Theatre and valuable assistance preparing for auditions.
The Drama Department is vibrant, priding itself on the high quality and diverse nature of its productions. In Magdalene House there are two major events each year – the Nativity play and main production, which ensures that every child has their moment to shine on stage in the Russell Hall. In the Senior School, apart from the GCSE and A level examination performances in the intimate studio space of 77 , we also stage Sixth form and Scholars’ productions (last year ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ and this year ‘Shout! The Mod Musical’) and a main School production in the Trinity term. Some of these productions are staged in the historic Angles Theatre to give pupils a broader spectrum of performance experience.
“Following our creative partnership with Trinity, and the way we promote their qualifications, from individual exams to group performances, and how our Drama pupils have been filmed for training examiners as exemplars, I am delighted that we have been awarded recognition as a Trinity Champion Centre for Music and Drama. WGS has achieved this because of our standard of teaching and examination results, and as such will be advertised across Trinity publications as a centre of excellence where good practice is shared with the wider community. I regard this to be an important achievement and is a testament to the dedication and skills of our staff and pupils, not least because all this has taken place for less than three years”. Susan Duncan BSc ATCL, Head of Drama
Music thrived last year with Mrs Missin at the helm; the range and skill level displayed during the concerts was astonishing. Our musicians put on a busy programme of performances, from large-scale concerts in the Russell Hall to more intimate recitals in the beautiful surroundings of Peckover House. Catherine Missin (Music Scholar) and Abigail McGlone (Music Scholar) gained places with the National Schools Symphony Orchestra. Growing numbers of pupils in both the Prep and Senior School have taken up the opportunity for individual instrumental or singing lessons with our team of visiting music teachers. Each week, 150 individual lessons are delivered. The range of co-curricular ensembles continues to expand with Samba Band, Jazz Ensemble and Rock Choir now established.
We have been incredibly fortunate to establish closer links with Studio 19 in King’s Lynn and Lois Slingsby, one of their experienced teachers – with an additional teacher apprentice – now has a regular slot teaching everybody from Prep pupils to 6th Form. It has also been exciting to see some of our older pupils help with the teaching, expanding their own experience and broadening their skillset for the future.
Charlotte Beck Meets HRH The Prince Of Wales At Cranmer Awards
2nd Form pupil, Charlotte Beck, interrupted her half term holiday plans to attend the 30th Cranmer Awards, a public speaking competition run by the Prayer Book Society, in the medieval splendour of Lambeth Palace.
Entrants from across the country read or recite a passage of their choice, 3-5 minutes in duration, from the Book of Common Prayer. Local heats are held around the country, and the winners of the heats go through to the National Final where competitors must recite their chosen passage by heart. Entrants are encouraged to ask a teacher or a priest for guidance on how to prepare for the Cranmer Awards.
Charlotte was one of fifteen listed Junior finalists, with the judges awarding marks for clarity, fluency and intelligent communication of meaning. The Conference Room was a big, demanding space that required all of Charlotte’s Speech & Drama training and her performance experience to project her voice effectively. Her presentation of the gospel story of Lazarus and the joyful psalm 95 gave her the opportunity to display a secure ability with both Cranmer’s measured prose and the rhythm of verse.
As Patron of the competition the organisers were delighted to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to present prizes and certificates to all Junior and Senior contestants. Although unplaced in this year’s event Charlotte is looking forward to competing again next year and would recommend the discipline of accurate learning as a rewarding task.