The Arts

We encourage every girl at College to express herself creatively and learn to work collaboratively.

This is not only enjoyable, stimulating and rewarding in itself, but also helps to develop essential skills and self-confidence.

ART AND DESIGN

Art at College takes place in an award-winning, contemporary building with exceptional facilities. Art at College focuses on the acquisition of techniques, skills and vocabulary in order to communicate and express ideas visually. Creativity, innovation and artistic talent are encouraged, along with taking creative risks and learning from mistakes.

Textiles is embedded within the Art and Design curriculum. The girls undertake practical activities to understand fabrics, construction and manufacturing skills, and appreciate the design process.

The understanding and application of these skills in a commercial context, allows the girls to produce outstanding work at every level, from dresses for the Upcycled Fashion Show to preparation for Art-based university courses.

Our art teachers are well-qualified specialists who teach a variety of disciplines including oil-painting, print-making, ceramics, textiles, photography, mixed-media work and sculpture.

These activities are available to all girls as part of the co-curricular programme, regardless of whether they pursue the subject as part of their academic studies.

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DANCE

Dance is a compulsory part of the curriculum in LC1 and LC2 and can be continued as an option from LC3 upwards. Various dance classes and clubs occur weekly (e.g. ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern dance and tap). Private lessons can be organised at the Janet Marshall School of Dance for girls who are keen to follow this activity further.

As part of the club, dance companies are invited to visit College to lead workshops in many different styles of dance. College also puts on a popular evening of dance, to which other local schools are invited. The inter-house dance competition takes place every other year.

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DRAMA

Cheltenham Ladies’ College has a long tradition of creating exciting and thought-provoking theatre. Whether acting, directing or supporting productions in our stunning 325-seat theatre at the Parabola Arts Centre (PAC), or engaging in workshops with visiting professional companies, drama is a diverse and inspiring part of College life.

The Drama Department stages five main productions each year, and girls from every year group have the opportunity to audition for at least one of these. Older girls sometimes assist in the directing of productions, and our technical crew is made up of girls from all year groups who are supervised by the Parabola Arts Centre technical manager and technician.

The SFC and UC5 production for Autumn 2016 is Arabian Nights. This will be followed by the LC1 and LC2 girls in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Recent LC1 and LC2 productions include Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew. Girls in LC3 and UC4 performed Laura Wade’s Alice in 2015 and Dickens' Great Expectations in May 2016.

In 2017, they will be performing a selection of modern one act plays. On alternate years we stage a musical and in 2016 the Drama and Music Departments presented Little Shop of Horrors. Our next musical will be in 2018.

In the Summer Term it has become tradition for the SFC1 girls to perform an open air Shakespeare play for which they take full responsibility. The 2015 production of Much Ado About Nothing was blessed with glorious sunshine and the performance looked fabulous in the setting of the Main Quad. The summer of 2016 was more inclement, and the outstanding production of The Taming of the Shrew was forced to take shelter in the Parabola Arts Centre. CLC productions have also been a regular fixture at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the largest arts festivals in the world.

In addition to the curriculum Drama lessons, girls are able to study for LAMDA acting, musical theatre and communication exams with our visiting drama teachers.

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MUSIC

Music is flourishing at College. Every week during term, more than 1,000 individual music lessons and ensembles take place within the Music Department. This is all the more amazing as no girl misses an academic lesson to attend her music lessons. A tremendous range of instruments is taught by more than 40 permanent or visiting staff and many girls also take ABRSM practical exams and London College of Music (LCM) exams.

From Symphony Orchestra, Flute Ensemble and Symphonic Wind Band to Jazz Band, Percussion Club and Hellacappella, College’s a cappella group, the diversity of music-making is a joy for all. The talents of our keen and skilled musicians are on display annually at the Autumn, Christmas and Summer Concerts, Scholars’ Concerts, the Spring Concert and the May Concert. In addition, we have events such as a Piano Masterclass and competitions in Wind and Brass, Strings, Keyboard and Singing.

One of the highlights of College’s musical year is the House Music Competition. Each Junior House chooses a popular song and arranges it for their House choir and band. The competition is always a colourful, entertaining and joyous occasion.

In addition to our fixed, annual series of concerts, we often present concerts beyond College. We have recently expanded the number of public concerts we give, staging events in Pittville Pump Room and Tewkesbury Abbey. Our major overseas tours take place biennially, usually in the first week of the summer holidays. Recent tours have taken us to Venice, Tuscany and Umbria, Emilia Romagna, Provence, Andalucia and Catalonia. Over the past few years, the choir has also sung in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, St. George's Chapel, Windsor, Salisbury Cathedral, Eton College Chapel and York Minster.

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