There is a rich heritage of Performing Arts at New Hall School and the Drama Department is vibrant, ambitious and innovative. Sir Laurence Olivier once said, “The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand” and we aim to extend such aspiration to include all actors, whatever their gender, and all theatre-makers, whether onstage performers, backstage crew, designers, directors or technicians. We want to encourage students through drama to explore, imagine and create other worlds, and to understand and develop empathy with other characters.
Our curriculum and co-curricular programme contain elements designed to cater for a range of needs and personalities, levels of ability and areas of interest.
Drama Clubs provide opportunities to flex creative muscles, experiment and play in a safe environment. These are specifically targeted to year groups or Key Stages in order to nurture strong, collaborative relationships. Drama games and exercises, which are inclusive and accessible, are central to the activities but we also encourage further exploration of ideas and development of skills. Key Stage 3 Drama Clubs have, in recent years, formed the core cast and crew of productions such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Arabian Nights’ and other showcase or review performances are planned.
Trinity College, an international examination board, offers an unrivalled choice of qualifications for students and teachers of drama and speech. It has been providing assessments globally since 1877 and examines 850,000 students, every year, from 60 countries around the world.
At New Hall we prepare students in Years 7-9 for age-appropriate examinations. These are currently in Speech and Drama. The majority of students opt to enter the external assessments and we are confident that a long tradition of exceptionally high results, will be sustained in the years to come. Older students are able to pursue the opportunities offered through Trinity College in the co-curricular programme. This typically involves students participating individually or in pairs in weekly training sessions with a specialist teacher, who equips and enable students in one of the options available – Acting Skills, Communication Skills, Speech and Drama or Musical Theatre.
The Drama Department has been proud to host some exceptionally talented professionals from the world of theatre. Workshops have prepared students for performance with specific skills or offered them firsthand experience of innovative ways of producing theatre. In recent years we have welcomed practitioners from Complicite Theatre, Squire Stage Combat, Splendid Productions and a professional puppeteer.
We produce a varied and exciting programme of plays and musicals, sometimes for specific year groups and sometimes for students from across the Senior Divisions. Recent examples include Les Miserables, High School Musical, The Wiz, Guys & Dolls, A Christmas Carol, Treasure Island, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Sound Of Music and Arabian Nights. Most performances are in the Eaton Theatre or Jubilee Hall but we have also experimented with outdoor performances in the North Quad, and most recently, in the new Walkfares Canopy.
Walkfares – the ‘home’ of the Drama Department is the purpose built Walkfares Performing Arts Centre. We benefit from two equipped Drama Studios, office space, lighting and sound control room and costume department. The lighting rig in Drama Studio 1 and two recently installed consoles facilitate a wide range of design possibilities as well as scope for training students in lighting design and technology.
Eaton Theatre – the main performance space is the 180-seat Eaton Theatre with a traditional proscenium arch stage and flexible raked seating which allows for multiple configurations in the auditorium. There is a large lighting and sound control room, audio-visual equipment and two dressing rooms.
Jubilee Hall – a second performance space is the Jubilee Hall, which is transformed to cater for larger-scale productions and events, with retractable seating and a sprung floor, this space is perfect for spectacular productions.
Walkfares Canopy – in 2020 a brand-new performance space was created and flexible staging, audio equipment and purpose made surface installed. Despite being in December, the Drama and Dance departments were able to rehearse and produce inaugural performances of ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Arabian Nights’.
Whilst we are proud of all that we achieve here at New Hall School, we are always looking to develop and grow. The Performing Arts build confidence and stretch students to invent, collaborate and create in order to tell stories and change lives. We share the views of Oscar Wilde who regarded theatre as, “the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Here are photos from our productions over the last five years.
Arabian Nights 2020Arabian Nights 2020
The Sound of Music 2019The Sound of Music 2019
Much Ado About Nothing 2019Much Ado About Nothing 2019
A Midsummer Night's Dream 2019A Midsummer Night's Dream 2019
Treasure Island 2019Treasure Island 2019
A Christmas Carol 2018A Christmas Carol 2018
Guys and Dolls 2018Guys and Dolls 2018
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe 2017The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe 2017
The Wiz 2017The Wiz 2017
Les Miserables 2016Les Miserables 2016
Hairspray 2016Hairspray 2016