Students progress in their learning from Preschool through to Year 8. The school academic calendar is divided into four terms. Inquiries, lessons and units of learning are focused around students Responding to and Creating Drama and Dance work as outlined in the PYP. Throughout the year many aspects of Drama and dance are covered from imaginative play through mime and devising and on to performance-based work. Movement and Dance can stand alone or be integrated through physical theatre into Drama.
A major component of the Performing Arts at St Mark’s School is our bi-annual entry to the Trinity College London Group Drama Examinations which are the focus of a term and a half of learning every other year. Students perform examinations in Acting and speaking, Communication skills, Musical Theatre and/or Performance Arts, or Young Performers Certificates, determined by their year group. This performance work explores the Unit of Inquiry: ‘How We Express Ourselves’, as we explore characterization, and different modes of expression through acting, singing, dancing, movement, and performance. Student groups regularly receive Distinction passing grades in these group examinations, and more importantly, enjoy working in a fun and collaborative learning environment.
In 2018 the school held its inaugural Arts Festival Week was launched and alongside an artist in residence working with the students in the Art Class, there were performances from school Dance group, Rock and Jazz bands. We also hosted a variety of visiting performers and practitioners who entertained and ran workshops for the students. The week concluded with every class in the school (including pre-school) presenting an item (which had been rehearsed as a feature of the Drama class that term) in a wonderful concert. This will now become a biennial event and will feature again in 2020.
Also every second year, the senior school stages a major production involving all students in Years 7 and 8. Our 2018 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was a great success and in previous years the productions have included Shrek the Musical, Grease: Young Performers Edition and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Classroom teachers integrate the Arts into their classroom programmes that term to collaborate on these events.
Opportunities are integrated into the Drama and Dance programme to develop the IB Learner Profiles. Our students become Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced and Reflective.
Our performing arts programme is lead by Susan Hayworth, BTchg, Dip SD, RT.