We encourage every pupil 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.
College offers students Alexander Technique lessons to help with their general well-being, as well as with their performance in music, drama and sport.
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 pupils as part of the co-curricular programme, regardless of whether they pursue the subject as part of their academic studies.
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) within College in our Dance Studios at the Parabola Arts Centre and at our Health & Fitness Centre. Private lessons can be organised at the Janet Marshall School of Dance for those 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 Dance Showcase and the inter-house dance competition takes place every other year.
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. Girls often assist behind the scenes by helping to direct productions, Or as part of our technical crew, supervised by the Parabola Arts Centre technical manager and technician.
Recent productions have included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Journey's End and an original play entitled St Mabel's. From September 2021, we are delighted to welcome a Director in Residence to join the Drama Department.
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. In 2017, three UC5 (Y10) girls were successful in gaining places on the National Youth Theatre Acting course.
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 pupil 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.
The Princess Hall, which seats around 1,200 people, is often used for major music concerts throughout the year, whilst a series of smaller lunchtime concerts take place in a variety of spaces across College.
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 Chapel Arts and Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham, and at 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.
In recent years, College has invested in a recording studio, based within the music department, and in addition to dozens of practice rooms on the College main site and in the Houses, we also offer a dedicated space for student-led bands to rehearse with guitars, amps, pianos, drums and microphones.