Vision for Drama
My hopes for Drama at Belhaven
Mrs Anna McGrath puts forward her vision for the future of Drama at Belhaven Hill.
When you have a landscape as dramatic and beautiful as Belhaven, it is hard not to feel inspired and challenged to find a drama programme to match. The questions I have asked myself amidst this pandemic have been: What can we do now? What can we do when … ?
When … life starts to return to a semblance of what it once was, but arguably better. It will be better because never again will we take for granted the power of collaboration and the power of contact with our peers.
When … children can move freely in and out of school, creating memories together.
When … drama is at the forefront of the curriculum, inhabiting a prominent position in our wonderful school.
Drama connects to every subject and to every child. Whether it is from playing the lead in the school play to having the confidence to put your hand up in class - Drama is essential.
I see ...
STAND ALONE LESSONS
Belhaven embedding drama into lessons, with a stand-alone drama lesson for every year group. Bringing the page to the stage; maybe it is helping our Form 1 students unpick the complexities of Shakespearean characters or working with Form 6 exploring friendships and social skills. Using drama as a tool to unlock our communication skills.
MUSICALS AND PLAYS
Belhaven offering a wide range of dramatic opportunities throughout the academic year. Not just in academic lessons, but in an extra-curricular setting. We already have a strong foundation for drama in our activity offering; but moving forward I would like to create distinct learning opportunities each year. For instance, one year the juniors perform a play and the seniors a musical, the following year it is switched. The experience of both allows students to tap into the dramatic skills that most appeal to them.
I want to use the landscape outside to create an immersive and physicalised exploration of drama. The Tempest in the swimming pool? A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the walled garden? The options are endless …
As Form 4 demonstrated with their sharing of ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’, there will be high level performances throughout the year, particularly in year groups where there is no official school play or musical. Students will present stages of their learning in a more relaxed setting. They may be performing physical theatre, sight-reading or showcasing their improvisational skills, allowing more confidence to build in live performance and for a more active dialogue with parents and peers, watching and learning together.
This has already begun. I want to develop the offering of acting and verse & prose lessons available to students in an individual and group setting. We have a successful and established LAMDA teacher in Jennifer Lowrie, who is offering her expertise to the children of Belhaven. The LAMDA experience offers students the opportunity to learn monologues, take direction, build public speaking confidence and experience the adrenaline and reward in partaking of exams.
In addition to the wonderful spoken English and poetry recitals, I want to encourage students to lead assemblies, have debating societies and have more inter-school tournaments with other leading prep schools.