The Performing Arts Faculty is a vibrant, engaging and passionate faculty dedicated to ensuring that students get the chance to showcase their talents in Music and Drama. Our outstanding teaching staff deliver exciting and engaging lessons and offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities for all students.
Every Christmas the faculty produces the highlight of the school calendar, the Christmas production. Recent performances have included Grease the Musical (2012) We Will Rock You (2013) The Wizard of Oz (2014) The Return to the forbidden planet (2015), Little Shop of Horrors (2016), School of Rock (2017) and A Musical Spin (2018). The opportunity to perform and produce a show for a large audience and in highly professional circumstances enables a huge number of interested students to gain valuable experience and confidence whether acting, singing, dancing, playing instruments, helping backstage or operating the lighting and sound.
At key points within the school year performances and shows are staged for the whole community to engage with and enjoy. Some of these projects have included: The Caludon Castle School Choir performing at various events including singing at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire for patients at Christmas, at Birmingham Airport for Children in Need, at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and at the Royal Albert Hall with one of our students performing a solo; Coventry City centre for the public in the summertime; A number of key stage 4 and 5 Drama students have benefitted from working with professional actors in professional local venues including Warwick Arts Centre and the Belgrade Theatre.
With the faculty exam classes in A Level, GCSE and BTEC there is an assessment requirement that students perform to a live audience. These showcases, whether in school or at other local venues are becoming more professional and are being attended by more parents – this is something we aim to continue and develop even further.
Alongside, and sometimes supporting, the excellent class work, there is a range of on-going extra-curricular opportunities throughout the year. In 2018 the keystage 3 Drama club worked with guidance from staff, but under the direction of student leaders to create their own group performances for the Performing Arts Showcase in July. We offer a technical theatre club, and thriving dance club to broaden opportunities even further. A guiding principle for our success with extra curricula work is that we have always provided opportunities for students to lead new directions, and for the staff to guide and mentor them through this process. In this way, we rarely repeat projects and we always innovate.
The end of each academic year sees the ‘Performing Arts Showcase’. This is the time of year to celebrate the fantastic activities that have taken place during the year both in lessons and outside of lessons. The evening consists of students from every year group performing and displaying their artistic skills. Each year sells out quickly and is a must have ticket for all involved at Caludon Castle.
Music is something that everyone can enjoy, and the Caludon Castle Music Department wants to build on that sense of enjoyment to provide skills and exciting experiences for all students, and is committed to practical Music making. We believe in encouraging students to appreciate and participate in a wide range of different types of music. At Key Stage 3, music is taught preparing students for KS4 music through constantly advancing musical skills and theory.
Our schemes for learning help students gain confidence in performing and in composing original pieces. Good listening and critical skills are developed alongside these activities. Music is an option subject at GCSE and BTEC, and we follow the course set out by the OCR Examining Board for GCSE and Edexcel for Btec. Through these courses students develop a very good awareness of specific styles that span a wide range of cultures and periods in history, including pop music. The coursework tasks demand further sensitive performances and composition of materials of the student’s choice within wide parameters.
All students have the option to learn a musical instrument. Lessons are provided by professional musicians at a superb educational rate. We currently have students learning the following instruments: guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboard/piano, violin and singing.
Drama at Caludon is taught to all students in years 7 and 8 and is offered as an option for year 9 students and again, as students opt for their GCSE course in year 10. Drama and Theatre Studies at A level is offered and the course is very popular, with students achieving exceptionally well. We also offer many opportunities throughout the year for our Drama students to visit the theatre.
The Drama curriculum, across all key stages, has three distinct and equally valuable purposes.
Firstly, students gain subject specific skills in Drama and performance. Although Drama does not exist as a national curriculum subject in its own right, these skills are part of the English curriculum being covered through speaking and listening. Being able to present themselves confidently, with clarity, purpose and a sense of control, particularly in front of an audience, is a requirement of all nationally recognised Drama qualifications and these skills are highly transferable across all further education and employment opportunities.
Secondly, the teaching of Drama at Caludon aims to develop students’ skills as creative individuals, independent learners, and also effective group workers. The Drama curriculum builds distinct opportunities for students to create together and to manage their own time, disagreements, and creative decision making in order to create increasingly subtle, thoughtful and developed practical work. All of these skills are again highly transferable across other subjects and into employment.
Finally, Drama at Caludon has an exploratory focus. The themes of the work explored, whether scripted plays or more general creative stimuli, are carefully selected to develop the students understanding of the world they inhabit and their own place within it. There are many links to other subject areas including English (through novels, poetry and plays), History and PHSE. In key stage 3 topics currently explored include pantomime, war, Greek and Elizabethan theatre and the local history of Coventry.
All of these strands combine seamlessly in A Level Drama and Theatre Studies, where a large emphasis is placed on performance and the creation of Theatre. Although we have had many success stories of students entering the acting profession, A Level Drama is also an exceptional subject to develop general understanding of the world, complex texts, symbolism and imagery, creativity, team working, resilience and perseverance.
The GCSE in Drama follows the Edexcel curriculum and, under the brand new specification being taught to the current year 10 and 11, consists of three components. Component 1: Devising, is a coursework unit in which students devise and create their own performance, in a small group, and write or record a written or audio visual account of their contribution and understanding of the process. Component 2: performance from text, is a practical examination performance in which students act, or design, in a production watched and assessed by a visiting examiner. Finally, and new to the specification, is a written examination for Component 3: Theatre makers in Practice. This asks questions about a live theatre performance in professional contexts, but also positions students as directors of a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
In A Level Drama and Theatre Studies, again following Edexcel’s specification, the development of skills and the progression of skills is closely linked to the GCSE. Components 1, 2 and 3 carry the same titles as for the GCSE. In Devising Theatre, the challenges and expectations are greatly increased and the standards of work need professional levels of depth and maturity. The practical Performance from Text element now consists of a small group performance and an individual monologue. Finally, the ‘Theatre makers in Practice’ component greatly builds on the challenges of student as director in that they must understand and plan a detailed production of George Buchner’s Woyzeck. The process as well the actual production are now interrogated with the additional challenge of contrasting an early theatrical production of a Shakespeare play, with a contemporary one.
Dance at Key Stage 3 is a fanstastic opportunity for students to use their creativity in a practical way, exploring different dance styles and techniques whilst developing their skills in teamwork as well as performance skills and fitness. In year 7, students learn about ‘dance around the world‘, giving them the opportunity to trial different dance practices and learn about other culutures. They also learn about choreography, using devices such as dynamics, action and space to create their own group performance based on the song from ‘Mission Impossible‘.
In year 9, students who have opted to take dance get a taster of what dance would be like as a GCSE. Mirroring the GCSE specification, students develop their skills in performance, working on technique and fitness to be able to perfom both solos and group pieces to an audience. They also develop skills in choreography and are assessed on creating dances for themselves but also leading another group. The final part of the curriculum is dance appreciation, where students study professional works, both practically and theoretically. The year 9 dance course has been developed over the past 2 years and we are looking forward to seeing what the furure will hold for dance at Caludon!
- Mr H Stokes – Assistant Headteacher, Director of Creativity and Culture
- Ms A Gallagher – Leader of Performing Arts and Subject Leader of Drama.
- Ms K DeGroot – Assistant Principal Leader of Learning and Drama Teacher
- Mrs S Vincent – Subject Leader of Music
- Mr M Myers – Music Teacher
- Miss H Lester – Drama and Dance Teacher
- Mr T Bowes – Ensemble Band Teacher
- Mr S Cliffe – Guitar Teacher
- Mr C Beasley – Guitar Teacher
- Mrs K West – Piano Teacher
- Mr M Hart – Drum Teacher
- Mr P Roe – Strings Teacher