Opportunities to star on stage at Leweston are many and varied with Performing Arts taught as part of the curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9.
Performing Arts includes stage and performance skills, improvisation, voice, movement, mime and dance developing confidence in all pupils.
The usual parameters of the classroom do not apply in Performing Arts. The teacher is not at the front and there is no whiteboard, text or exercise book to draw the focus. Each performance is achieved through a creative amalgamation of ideas suggested and developed by the pupils themselves with guidance from staff.
The process is entirely non-selective – each pupil is of equal importance. Each member of the team shares skills, encourages the less confident, listens carefully to direction and overcomes unforeseen obstacles by working together. Everyone has a part in the production.
The skills learnt in Performing Arts reach a more formal level at GCSE when the School offers the EdExcel Drama Course. Practical units are assessed along with written portfolios. A Level Theatre Studies offers an even more sophisticated analysis including the study of practitioners like Brecht and Stanislavski and the technical and design side of theatre. As well as the written papers, there are extensive practical workshops in all exam groups focusing on plays and themes. Both at GCSE and A Level, pupils are required to develop productions for public performance and have many opportunities to see live theatre.
Extracurricular drama is very busy with extremely successful visits to the Mid Somerset Festival and the annual Solo Acting Competition for local schools held at Sherborne School’s Powell Theatre. Private speech and drama lessons examined by LAMDA are available throughout the Senior School and there are numerous opportunities to enjoy and participate in drama from House plays to major productions and assemblies.
There is also a Drama Scholars’ Company that produces original work and a thriving tech theatre club that meets weekly and involves hands-on use of theatre equipment from lighting to sound. This group is the core of the technical side of every production at Leweston.