Performing Arts ACE Pupil Programme

The Arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievement.
Paul G. Allen, co-Founder, Microsoft

“The cultural industries are widely recognised for both their economic and social impact in the UK.
 Ian Kellgren, Chief Executive of Drama UK


Of all the Arts disciplines, Drama is perhaps the one requiring the highest level of adaptability and inventiveness. This is not only a practical subject; a drama student is expected to be able to express themselves on paper with a high level of detail, accuracy, insight and imagination.

A Drama class is a safe environment in which to explore issues, in order to make sense of the world in which we live. Studying Drama contributes to the development of an understanding of the physical, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, social, moral and spiritual dimensions of human experience. Young people must be able to work as part of a team, to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. The ability to learn new skills, to be creative and innovative, and to strive for excellence, all of these skills make up the essential elements of what we do in Drama.

Employers seek out the transferable skills that you learn through studying Drama, things like teamwork, attention to deadlines, the confidence to present a point of view, the ability to look at the bigger picture and the motivation to achieve your objectives.

What should an Aspirational Drama Student do?


Go to the Theatre whenever you can!
Once you have been, (as close to the visit as possible) write down your impressions. Think of this as collecting ideas for your own work. Cultivate a constructively critical approach. – What do you feel about the choices that were made? Can you think of ways that they could have improved certain aspects of the production?

There are theatres to visit in London such as The Barbican, The National Theatre, The Old Vic, The Young Vic and all of the West End Theatres – where you are likely to see big musical productions.

You might also want to see plays at Shakespeare’s Globe or The Lyric, Hammersmith, but don’t forget local theatres, for example The Victoria Theatre, Woking and The Wilde Theatre in Southill Park.

You can often get student discount rates for tickets. It’s also good to book on nights when a ‘talk-back’ session is being offered, so that you can get to hear what the actors and director say about the production and perhaps even ask questions yourself.

Write a review of a play that you have seen.
When you study Drama and Theatre at both GCSE and A Level, we will go on a number of Theatre Trips and you will take notes in order to write about what you have seen, in preparation for your exam. But you can also do the same whenever you go to the theatre. In the Drama department we can make a display of different reviews that will be informative and thought-provoking.

Any Aspirational Drama Students will want to look at some wider reading. The following texts are all available either from the drama department or the school library:
1. ‘The Theatre and its Double’ – Antonin Artaud
2. An Actor Prepares – Constantin Stanislavski
3. Brecht on Theatre – Edited and translated by John Willett
4. ‘The Empty Space’ – Peter Brook
5. ‘Games for actors and non-actors’ – Augusto Boal
6. ‘Theatre Games’ – Clive Barker
7. ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’ – Martin Esslin
8. ‘I am Hamlet’ – Steven Berkoff

Why not write your own play?
Send us a draft of your play and we will help you polish it. Then, if you can get a group of people together, we can make rehearsal space available so that you can get your work up to performance standard. We will arrange an opportunity for you to perform your piece in front of an invited audience, then you can write about the experience and we will display your work, with photographs of the performance. Remember that you have to think about every aspect of your production including: The Setting, LX and SFX cues and somebody to operate them, appointing a director, casting your actors, and thinking carefully about staging. You may also need a stage-manager and someone to make and display posters for your show.

In Year 9, everyone will be involved in the Musical Theatre Project, in which the whole year-group is responsible for every aspect of the show, from performing, directing and choreographing, to designing and making setting and props, and getting involved in stage-management, Front of House and publicity. The work on this project then forms part of each student’s individual entry for the Trinity College Bronze Arts Award.  It is up to you to make your Award entry as spectacular as you like by creating a portfolio of work in whatever format you wish – video, photographs, Power-Point presentations, artwork, written articles and evidence collected from all the activities you take part in.

The three other parts of the Award involve:

• being part of an audience and recording your response
• researching an inspirational artist of your choice
• sharing an arts skill with someone else

Each part of the Award is then uploaded to a digital platform called ‘Artsbox’, for assessment.

Successful entries receive a Bronze Arts Award certificate.

Go on the Arts Award website: to see some fabulous work by other students, which will spark your own ideas.

Having achieved your Bronze Award – why not go on the Silver and Gold levels? These are all about you setting yourself your own Arts challenge, and you can get help from the Drama, Art, Music and Textiles departments to guide you through with support and advice. Go on the Website and talk to staff in the Drama or Music departments for further information.


Outside School

1. Go to a Music concert
Write a review and publish it.

2. Watch a recorded concert or a live-streamed event,
Create programme notes.

3. Ask the Music staff for details of local choirs or instrumental groups you might like to join.

4. Get together with friends and write a song. Perform it in a school concert.

At School

1. Learn to play a new instrument.

2. Work with younger students and create an a cappella group.

3. Set up a band with your friends and organise a concert.

Do you want to broaden your musical skills?

Try a free online course at

• How to Write Your First Song – get a practical introduction to the mechanics of songwriting and meet established songwriters
• From Ink to Sound: Decoding Musical Manuscripts – travel through the history of musical notation, learning how to decode medieval music manuscripts
• Music Moves: Why Does Music Make You Move? – learn about the psychology of music and movement, and how researchers study music-related movements
• From Notation to Performance: Understanding Musical Scores – explore what’s involved when musicians create a performance from musical notation
• Critical Listening for Studio Production – a technical ear training programme designed to improve critical listening in a music studio context.