Independent School Parent
Performing Arts CLAREMONT SENIOR SCHOOL
The school has established a strong platform that allows students to take the lead on productions, hone skills and collaborate on performances, even during the Covid-19 lockdowns
The work produced by the performing arts department at Claremont serves as a constant reminder that in its short 10-year history, student voice, leadership and inclusion are firmly embedded in the school’s DNA.
“To win an award that recognises our Performing Arts department as a can-do team, feels hugely satisfying. To also have our adaptability and inclusiveness commended by the judges, particularly in a pool of schools with performing arts provisions we already admire, was very special. Whether on the stage or behind the scenes, every single person who contributes to a piece of work in our theatre, does so with a full understanding of the level of commitment, trust, imagination, freedom and focus needed to create professional and consistently memorable performances. To celebrate this on such a grand scale was wonderful,” says Sarah Cakebread, Director of Performing Arts.
Happening upon an original idea by chance and running with it, rather than following a tried-and-tested process in pursuit of one has empowered Claremont’s young performing artists to think beyond themselves and follow creative paths of expression through music, dance and drama that have, and continue to be quite transformative.
Full company, big budget theatre productions are inevitable crowdpleasers, but as the role of the teaching team increasingly becomes a guiding one, the results and long-term impact of this way of learning on the lives of students are consistently positive. Claremont Extra, was an idea born out of the confines of lockdown when drama and music students started to work with the medium of radio so they could share the plays they’d been devising and rehearsing with an audience. Claremont Extra’s main feature is an original radio drama Holly Avenue, which is scripted, voice-acted and edited by our students.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream community outreach workshop was quickly adapted for radio during lockdown to enable local primary schools to take part from afar.
For the International Schools Partnership Film Festival, students created an original piece of performance art: fully scripted, acted and produced by the students, to include a new arrangement of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango by a music scholar, BETCHA tackles the issue of women feeling unsafe walking home alone.
The whole person is focused on in the performing arts: everything that a student is, everything they stand for and against, their interests, their cultures and experiences all feed into the work that they produce and how they reflect upon the work we create.
Seeing students, who elsewhere may not be heard, ‘hold the space’ and the attention of a live audience of their peers is pretty extraordinary. It’s like no other area of their student life – they can’t get it wrong! It’s a doorway to the fullest expression of themselves – something which is of profound value and importance to these teenagers. claremontschool.co.uk
“TO WIN AN AWARD THAT RECOGNISES OUR PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT as a can-do team feels hugely satisfying. TO ALSO HAVE OUR ADAPTABILITY AND INCLUSIVENESS COMMENDED BY THE JUDGES WAS VERY SPECIAL”