South Wirral High School has a purpose built Drama Studio, practical classroom space and a Hall adapted for a variety of Drama presentations. Through Drama, skills are developed which are vital in the outside world; the ability to express a viewpoint clearly; to present information effectively; to initiate action and ideas and co-operate within a group. Many Drama skills transfer directly into other subject areas, in particular English.
Each year fresh opportunities arise for students to display their talents in Drama. There are countless large and small-scale drama productions, Christmas and Summer Concerts. Every December there is a Dance/Drama Production which takes place over three evenings, with over 250 students from Year 7 – 13 taking part. A significant number of students also assist with technical direction and backstage activities. In spring, examination candidates in Music, Dance and Drama perform their examination pieces to parents. In addition, GCSE Drama students work closely with our primary schools often touring work and devising workshops in drama to welcome our new Year 7 students.
This lively department is continually adding to its performance diary, encouraging whole year groups to perform together and performing out in the community, in school halls and churches. Our calendar is varied and full of the many ‘extra’ experiences we offer, here are but a few: –
- Year 7 and 8 Drama Clubs – resulting in a Performance Evening in the summer.
- “Act Up” A Year 9 Drama Company.
- Year 9 Stand Out Comedy Project
- A Drama Technical Club offering stage lighting and sound.
- Residentials at the Conway Centre to explore Performing Arts and resulting in school productions.
- Entry to competitions and showcase events such as ‘On the Beat’ held at the Philharmonic, Liverpool, “MacBeth” performed at the Chester Gateway as part of the Royal Shakespeare Schools of Festival, a performance based on Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man performed in front of HRH Prince Edward as part of the Duke of Edinburgh celebrations, a school production performed at the Theatre Clwyd and our Yr 11 and 13 students were invited to perform at the Barbican in London as well as Chelsea Football Club.
- C.A.S.T Ensemble – An upper school production company. The first production of this company was ‘Waiting for Godot’ in November 2007. The second, in 2009 was ‘Under Road’ exploring the connections between Under Milkwood and Road and this year’s is ‘The 39 Steps’.
- In the summer, students work on a massive project with six other schools, producing a performance for touring. The cast work over a ten day period devising an ensemble piece. The company was also commissioned to create a piece for The Port Sunlight Museum.
We continually seek out new and exciting opportunities for our students. We receive increasing requests to launch business and public sector events with themed Drama performances and have presented numerous sketches for Specialist Schools Trust training days based on educational topics. For this we have been able to perform in conference spaces across the country including London.
The Drama department has gained from the valuable experience of visiting theatre groups. They have included Theatre in Education, the English National Touring Theatre, and the RSC to name but a few. The school completed two residencies with Frantic Assembly during the summer of 2007 and 2008. In 2009 we worked with Periplum Theatre Company, exploring site specific theatre techniques, transforming the school and creating an interactive experience for the audience
Trips are run frequently, locally and nationally by the Drama department including a joint Drama/Science and Geography trip to London. In the past we have enjoyed pantomimes, musicals and classical dramas and they are attended by staff and students alike. 2009 also saw the launch of a LIPA progression programme. This exciting development offers students who have successfully passed an audition stage to access facilities and coaching at LIPA. All years can audition and the programme runs throughout a students’ school career. Upon leaving students are also guaranteed an audition to the college should they desire.
Examination results are excellent rising above 90% A-C at Key Stage 4 and above 95% at post 16. We offer GCSE Drama and Double Vocational Award combining Dance and Drama, worth 2 GCSE’s and A’ level Theatre Studies. This advanced course is receiving excellent results, and offers opportunities for many more public performances – including to date ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, ‘Hymns’, ‘Vinegar Tom’, ‘The Pilgrimage’ ‘Metamorphosis’ ‘This is a chair’ ‘Crave’ ‘The Permanent Way’ and many more. In addition we offer A’ Level in Performance Studies as a natural progression from Key Stage 4 Performance Studies. Again results are extremely healthy. This course combines Dance, Drama and Music – in this way students are provided with a progression and continued route in the performing Arts Sphere.