Curriculum In the Lower School, all boys participate in timetabled Drama lessons, led by a specialist Drama teacher and involving games, improvisation, devising, rehearsing and performing.
This gives the boys the chance to develop self-confidence, social skills, intellectual curiosity and creativity. At the start of the academic year, a live performance from a visiting theatre inspires the boys to think creatively about staging their own plays and possibly develop an interest in lighting, set, and sound design, as well as directing and playwriting.
In the Middle School, boys can choose Drama as an option in Year 9 and a GCSE subject in Year 10 and, at this stage, they are exposed to periods in theatre history. Boys in Year 9 produce short performances every half term and are taught aspects of technical theatre. At GCSE level, they explore theatre theory and use their theoretical knowledge to devise their own live performances, study playtext and analyse live performance. At this stage, boys can choose to follow an acting, lighting or sound design pathway.
In the Senior School, we offer A Level Drama which also has lighting and sound design pathways. Over the two years, the students explore practitioners, become familiar with contemporary theatre companies, and analyse a range of texts. Students taking exams in Drama are taken regularly to performances across the country, as well local arts venues and fringe spaces.
Co-Curricular Every section in the school has a dramatic production attached to it and the students take huge pride in sharing their hard work with a Blue Coat audience. Plays and musicals are directed by Blue Coat staff and the Director of Drama.
The Middle School play takes place in our black box studio in the Autumn term, followed by our Senior School production in the Spring. Lower School boys perform in the Summer term. During their time at Blue Coat, students should have the opportunity to see or perform in a variety of theatrical styles and genres, which enable them to develop their cultural palette and encourage them to think critically about the art they encounter and create themselves. Past productions have included Private Peaceful, Our House, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Little Shop of Horrors, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Miss Saigon, Antigone, Les Misérables, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Grease, Canterbury Tales, Blood Brothers and Hamlet.
Stage crew for productions are made up of enthusiastic and hardworking students with an interest in the backstage and technical aspects of creating theatre. Boys are given opportunities to join the tech crew from as early as Year 7 on the Lower School Play. The Technical Theatre Manager works with the boys in developing skills in lighting and sound design. Responsibilities such as operating shows are given to those with experience further up the school. Student-led drama is an important part of the Arts programme at Blue Coat.