Performing Arts (Drama, Theatre Studies and Music)

The Performing Arts play a hugely important role in life at KEHS. Every week, nearly half the girls are involved in Music, Dance or Drama, often at the magnificent Ruddock Performing Arts Centre, sometimes in conjunction with boys from King Edward's School. The variety and range of musical and dramatic productions includes something for everyone, novice thespian, Bhangra specialist or international pianist alike, with informal one-act plays and lunchtime recitals by a range of choirs, bands and ensembles, to the breath-taking annual Dance Production and concerts of a professional standard featuring our Joint Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall. Inspired by this proud tradition, and the example of Old Girls such as actress Lindsay Duncan and comedian Natalie Haynes, many girls make their careers as performers or producers in Music or the Performing Arts.

Drama and Theatre Studies

Students begin studying drama in the Thirds and can opt to take Drama at GCSE and A level. Our courses are designed to give girls a love of theatre as they hone their performing and analytical skills and develop their knowledge and understanding of the language of drama. In the roles of director, designer, actor and critic, students become individual thinkers, determining their own interpretations and judgements of the history and practice of theatre.

Music

We aim to make music hands-on and fun, as we are firm believers that pupils learn best when they are motivated and enjoy the experiences they encounter.

Most of our lessons are practical, with emphasis on learning through doing. In the Lower School, pupils work in a variety of groupings, but for most practical work, they are either in pairs or small groups. Through this interaction, pupils learn to experiment with others’ ideas, in addition to trying out their own.

In the Thirds, there is a wide range of ability, from those who have had little experience of music and have never played an instrument, to pupils who are Grade 8+. In order to address this, we ensure the tasks we set are open-ended so that the pupils are able to work at their own level of ability.

In the Lower Fourth, pupils focus on three main areas across the three terms: ‘Music for Special Occasions’ (incorporating seasonal music related to Hallowe’en and Christmas), ‘Music for Dance’ (which includes a trip to see a ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome) and ‘The Blues’.

In the Upper Fourth, pupils explore music that has ‘Pushed the Boundaries’, looking at genres such as impressionism, minimalism, serialism and film music, along with important composers such as Gershwin and Stravinsky.

We expose the girls to a wide variety of music throughout the Lower School to enable them to develop a love and understanding of music for different purposes, from different cultures and genres, and across different historical periods.

Pupils can then opt to take music at GCSE and A level. At GCSE, pupils are assessed on their performance, composition and appreciation of music. They hone their appraisal of music, through the study of set works ranging in style and period, from Bach to Queen.

At A Level, pupils take these three essential skills to the next level, again utilising a diverse range of set works from Mozart to Kate Bush.