At Swanbourne House all children in the 7s and above have a drama lesson as part of their weekly timetable. Each term has a theme and children will participate in a range of activities including: games, warm up exercises, paired, small group and whole class work, improvised and scripted work, dance, singing, mime and directing. Example themes are physical theatre, musical theatre, comedy and characterisation. In the 9s, 10s and 11s the children work towards class plays that are performed to parents, all children have speaking parks in these mini productions.
Every child in the Prep school has the opportunity to participate in at least one production a year. The 7s and 8s perform a full scale musical in the Autumn Term, with the 7s forming the chorus and the 8s taking the speaking parts. The 9s perform classic plays in smaller groups which take place in our outdoor amphitheatre and are followed up, weather permitting, by family picnics in the grounds. The 10s and 11s all take a speaking role in class plays that make up a workshop performance to parents and the Top Year work towards a leavers’ play as part of their post exam programme. Our main school show is a big budget, large scale musical production and is open via audition to all children from the 10s upwards. This production is performed in the Bridget Moore Hall with professional scenery, lighting and sound equipment. Past shows include ‘Fame’, ‘Grease’, ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Footloose’; this year we are performing ‘Oliver!’.
Children in the 7s and above are eligible to sign up for individual, paired or school group specialist Drama lessons with our peripatetic teacher, Ms Emma Peploe-Williams. They work with her towards examinations, following the LAMDA syllabus and also present a showcase to parents each year. Ms Peploe-Williams runs her own theatre school and is an ex West End performer.
As part of our wide ranging activities programme, we offer a Drama club that is open to children in the 9s and above and a mentoring programme for children who wish to attempt a Drama or Performing Arts scholarship to their chosen Senior School. The Prep School also runs a variety of Dance clubs; Jazz dance is taught as an optional paid for activity by our outside specialist and Tap and Street Dance are offered as free clubs during the school day. All styles of dance are open to all children and are divided into Junior and Senior groups.