Drama is a creative discipline which teaches pupils new skills while at the same time introducing them to some of the great works of the literary canon.
It is one of the fastest-growing school subjects nationally, and for good reason: no two lessons are ever the same, and Drama provides a welcome interlude during a busy timetable – a break from the demands of book and laboratory-based learning.
Drama also offers boys tremendous opportunities for personal development, nurturing self-confidence and perseverance, and helping them understand and express what they are feeling. Our actors become articulate communicators – an essential attribute for success in later life.
Through performing as different characters, pupils gain varied perspectives and learn to be comfortable with ambiguity; they come to appreciate that sometimes in a complex world there are no right or wrong answers.
Since Drama brings together boys from all years to work with a common goal, participants gain useful skills in teamwork. The weekly Drama Club is supported by Year 11 and 12 pupils.
The Drama year at QE revolves around three major events. In Shakespeare Schools Festivals in the Autumn Term, boys get to grips with one of Shakespeare’s plays in a professional theatre setting. QE actors and crew have performed with considerable distinction in the festival in recent years.
Also in the ascendant is the School Play, our major annual production, which is put on close to the Easter holidays. The plays staged have ranged from Robert Louis Stevenson’s rollicking Treasure Island to the grimly foreboding science fiction of H G Wells.
Our Inter-House Drama festival in the Summer Term invariably stirs up the competitive spirit among the boys as they battle for points in the final weeks of the School year – and have a great deal of fun in the process.
Boys can work towards gaining the Silver Arts Award, which covers skills such as leadership, planning and executing performances, marketing, costume design and technical skills. They may also choose to base their Extended Project Qualification in Year 12 on a Drama-based topic.
Some Drama is built into the English curriculum, while there are many extra-curricular activities, including visits to major performances at West End theatres and to workshops led by professional actors and technicians. All such activities provide a rich seam of skills and inspiration which boys then bring back to performances at the School.