Highlights from Performing Arts
Leit and Dark
In our first showcase event of the year we combined singing, dancing and acting into an evening of light (or leit) and dark material presented by our KS4 and 5 performing arts students. The evening was an opportunity for our older students to show what they have been working on in lessons and in their after school clubs. The evening kicked off with an amazing solo from one of our 6th formers, Father and Son, self-accompanied on the guitar. This was followed by pieces ranging from lyrical dance pieces and full group songs. In addition to this, four of our KS4 and 5 students prepared monologues that reflected the evenings themes.
Highlights of the show included a dance from our all- boys troupe, a first for the school. What was amazing to see during the evening was the joy of performing and singing. It wasn't just their considerable talent that came across with their technical skill, but also the sheer unadulterated passion for performing that they have. Most of the pieces during the event were self directed and choreographed by the students, it is this independence and trust we have in them that made for such a joyous and successful event. In addition to this, the togetherness of the KS4 and 5 is palpable, and this cooperation between them makes all the hard work worthwhile. Everyone makes sure that all are included, irrelevant of skill level. One of the biggest triumphs of the evening was the first time our GCSE dance students performed. GCSE Dance is new to the school, and it was clear from this evening alone that we have confidence in their ability to shine.
Mind Dance Project
A number of our Year 9 students took part in a dance project run by Mind Hounslow. The project was a way of expressing how we feel through movement and took the themes of Hamlet as its inspiration. The girls who took part are part of a pilot scheme by Mind and it is hoped that the project will continue in the future.
This was the biggest show of the year so far, with over 80 students taking part from Chiswick School, and 40 more from our local primary schools Belmont, Cavendish and Strand on the Green. In addition to this we also had the opportunity to work with students from the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, who worked with our 6th Form to develop ideas. The project was in support of the national White Ribbon Campaign and the London Borough of Hounslow's Learning to Respect Programme.
The project began at the start of this year with students from Year 13 visiting the primaries to talk about how we should respect each other, and how we should treat all with the same kindness as we would anyone else. They then worked with the schools to develop short pieces of drama and dance that represented their ideas creatively. While this was happening the Year 10s, as part of their BTEC studies, were developing their own devised theatre, and KS3 were working on drama and dance pieces in after school clubs. The 6th Form were being assisted by Royal Central, who sent students to us from their MA course, to talk about community theatre and give advice on how to present their own pieces. In total we had 12 numbers for the evening, all showing different ideas surrounding the theme of respect.
We had booked Watermans Arts Centre for the show and by the opening, had sold out!
The primaries and Chiswick School arrived late in the afternoon to rehearse, the audience came in at 6:30pm and we were ready for the off at 7pm.
The audience's response was amazing, describing the evening as moving and inspirational. One primary school Deputy Head said:
"It was a great show, my colleague and I, along with the children, really enjoyed taking part. It was wonderful for the children to be given this opportunity, one child told me 'I loved being on stage, I never thought I would have the confidence to be!'."
The evening finished with the whole cast (all 110 of them!) singing, Why You Gotta Be So Mean.
Mr Robinson then gave a short speech reminding the audience that it was Anti-bullying Week and that everyone should heed the message of the evening and respect others. The evening was also an opportunity to raise funds for Chiswick Refuge, and to raise awareness of their cause.
This will be the start of a longer project with Royal Central. They will return and mentors our 6th Form applicants to drama school. We will also be visiting them in the new year for workshops and performances. We will also be continuing to attend the primaries with plans for another large-scale all- school performance in June.
Drama Award Shortlisting
We are proud to announce our shortlisting for Outstanding Drama Department at the National Drama and Music in Education Awards.
The awards are the "Oscars" for the performing arts in schools, and this will be the 4th time we have been shortlisted!
This comes on the back of an extraordinary year (2022/23), that included a number of nominations, awards, performances and outstanding KS4 results. Here is a reminder of all the great things that happened last year in the performing arts.