Drama and Dance
Beyond the Classroom
An opportunity for everybody
We offer a wide range of curricular and extracurricular performing arts opportunities for all our students. This includes weekly clubs and annual productions as well as workshops, masterclasses, and theatre trips. Our programmes are designed to provide an enjoyable and meaningful learning experience. The award-winning Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre sits at the heart of our provision and is host to a variety of events throughout the academic year.
Drama activities are led by a number of experienced teachers (including a Theatre Practitioner in Residence, a Director of English and Drama, specialist Drama teachers, and a Graduate Assistant) who bring a variety of backgrounds and experiences – in the academic and professional spheres – to their roles.
Nearly every student will come into contact with drama activities at some point in their school career. Whether this means ‘dipping in’ to the provision on offer, gaining a qualification, taking part in a production, or discovering the foundations of a vocation, Perse drama will have a significant impact on the lives of many students.
Courses, Clubs and Workshops
In the Lower and Middle School (Years 7 to 11), pupils can join the Junior Drama Club, the Middle School Drama Company, Dance Club – taught in conjunction with Bodywork – and the Perse Theatre Company. Regular lunchtime sessions provide an informal environment designed to enthuse pupils about performance skills and to extend their understanding of practical theatre.
We run several dance clubs, enabling the study of a range of styles, from contemporary to street jazz, and participate in the annual Bodywork Outreach dance show, with brings together the most talented dancers in the region.
Developing technical skills
Our Technical Theatre Company is home to the budding producers, lighting technicians and sound engineers of the future. Students learn about lighting, sound, set, props and stage management, and use high-end technical kit such as our state-of-the-art lighting desk.
Students cover acting and technical aspects of theatre, including lighting, sound and effects. Pupils also receive an introduction to other skills of the theatre such as production, direction, stage management, costume and make-up, and masks.
Other clubs available include Junior and Senior Film, Stage Combat, Improvisation and Drama Wellbeing. Some activities (such as Junior Drama Club) are run by older students for their younger mentees. We offer opportunities for students to stage their own scripts, and students take part in the National Theatre’s mentored ‘New Views’ scheme (playwriting competition) on an annual basis.
Year 9 students have the opportunity to complete a one-year (non-certified) drama course, while Year 10 students can study for a two-year Drama course or choose the extension drama option which culminates in a RADA Shakespeare Certificate.
We also run our Creative Mentors scheme, inspiring and supporting pupils to explore future opportunities in the creative arts industries. From work experience opportunities to discovering and enhancing skill sets, this forum draws on the expertise and advice from our staff body and professional contacts from within the industries of broadcasting, theatre, art and design.
Professional theatre practitioners, speakers, performers and workshop specialists visit the school to provide after-school sessions on a broad range of performance styles. Past workshops led by specialists from Cambridge University and from the West End have included stage combat, gothic horror and commedia dell’arte.
Debating and public speaking
A large number of students take part in Debating and public speaking competitions, developing their spoken diction, persuasive skills and public speaking confidence. There are three in-house debating societies, and students have the opportunity to take part in external events run by – among others – the Cambridge Union, the Oxford Union Society, the English-Speaking Union, Rotary International and Debating Matters. Perse students regularly win local rounds and regional finals in the events (and sometime participate in national finals).
Performances and Trips
Each year there is a Lower School production for pupils in Years 7 – 8 and a Middle School production for Years 9 – 11.
All year groups are invited to audition for the annual Perse Players production which includes both plays and musicals. Shows include The Penelopiad, Kindertransport and Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical JR. These productions are supplemented by a year-long New Writing Project and a new Performing Arts Showcase.
There is also an annual whole-school House Drama competition, in which pupils take on the roles of directors, devisors and script-writers.