Denstone is proud of its creativity. Whether you are a budding actor, singer, artist or set designer, we have the means to inspire you and the staff and facilities to make it happen.
Over the years we have developed extensive opportunities for students of all ages to perform on the stage and increasingly shows have grown in popularity, not just for those who participate on stage, but for those who are busy behind the scenes. Our belief in offering drama to everyone means that the subject has evolved as an integral part of the curriculum as well as College life as a whole.
On average, the College produces eighteen performances throughout the school year, each playing host to audiences in excess of 150 in the School Room – our theatre. Productions range across the dramatic genres, many requiring students to deal with material and styles which challenge expectations. Our philosophy is to encourage experimentation, introduce concepts and techniques and of course provide a sense of fun.
The first to third forms enjoy drama as part of their weekly curriculum and each Lent Term, the Second Form perform to packed audiences in the Second Form House Drama Festival: The plays performed are written and directed entirely by the Lower Sixth Form.
All three Junior School years are invited and encouraged to participate in the ‘always spectacular’ Junior School Play that takes place in May.
The Fourth Form and above have the opportunity to star in the College's School Musical, at the end of the Michaelmas term. This important event provides a wealth of experience for students who are not only interested in treading the boards, but also gives those who are developing interests in technical areas vital experience.
We also offer LAMDA lessons for those who wish to develop confidence in the spoken word, clarity of speech and acting skills. There is also the opportunity to take exams, which are a great way to mark achievement and raise confidence.
Students are welcome to join the Festival of Speech and Drama Group. Here we prepare the students for the Newcastle Festival of Speech and Drama; an event that takes place in the Lent term, each year.
In addition, we invite students in Fifth Form and above to audition for our Edinburgh Fringe Festival Group, who take a show up to Edinburgh in August.
Students are also offered opportunities to experience live theatre throughout the year through our extensive programme of theatre visits closely linked to, but not exclusively for, GCSE and A level students. A small but consistent number of pupils go on to study drama or theatre–related courses in higher education.
Past Drama Productions Include
- 9 to 5
- Legally Blonde
- Sister Act
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Les Misérables
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- Treasure Island
- Wendy and Peter Pan
Music at Denstone is a very active, vibrant and flourishing part of the College. The department organises and runs an annual programme of concerts, competitions, trips and visits. All students are given the opportunity to perform throughout the year, in both formal and informal concerts, House competitions, in external events and on tour, and always with the aim of ensuring that our music making is of the highest standard and fun!
With 5 Choirs and Vocal Ensembles, an Orchestra, Swing Band, Concert Band, String Group, Sax Group, Percussion Ensemble, a Baroque Ensemble, a Rock Band and many other ad hoc ensembles organised by both staff and students, the Music School never rests! While a few ensembles are open by invitation, the vast majority are open to all students who enjoy performing. A programme of over 20 concerts provides students with opportunities to perform both formally and informally and range from small, intimate events to large scale, high profile occasions. In addition, the Carols by Candlelight and Words and Music for Easter are occasions that are also open to the public and these are particular musical highlights of the year.
There are over 250 instrumental and vocal lesson taught each week by both full time staff and a team of 18 highly qualified and experienced visiting music staff. Many students take practical and theory exams of the ABRSM and other examination boards (Trinity and Rock School) and results are consistently excellent. In recent years, several students have taken their performing beyond grade 8, achieving the ARSM Diploma in their final year at the College.
The Music Department works closely with the Drama Department in the production of Musicals and in providing music for other stage shows. In recent years, this collaboration has resulted in first class productions of Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar and Grease. Music Theatre has become an increasingly popular activity within the College and several students have gone on to continue performing on stage at university and in professional companies.
Trips and visits to concerts, opera and ballet are a vital adjunct to the weekly music programme and the Department has recently taken students to see the CBSO at Symphony Hall, a touring ballet company at the Regent Theatre and in 2020 our GCSE and A level students travelled to see Wicked in the West End. A recent performing tour to Cornwall was a great success, taking in local churches and the majestic Truro Cathedral.
Art and Design
Art and Design plays a vibrant part in the College provision with a benefit which stretches beyond subject boundaries. As well as being subjects in their own right, the study of art and design and technology sparks creativity across the curriculum, encouraging enquiring minds and imaginative approaches producing job ready, creative, and innovative problem solvers. Art and Design and Technology is a rich and varied field. It includes photography, print making, film, sculpture, ceramics, stitched, printed, woven and constructed textiles, product design, furniture design, fashion design and much more. Above all, it inspires personal expression and creative and practical responses. It promotes imaginative risk taking and provides solutions to the questions and issues which arise in daily life. It is also the starting point for a range of careers from spacecraft engineering to surgery.
A Denstone creative education inspires and challenges its young people, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to participate in, experiment with, invent and create their own works of art, and design.
Facilities are good and include kilns, sewing machines, printing press, heat transfer facilities, photographic equipment and dark room with exposure unit within Art and CNC routers and lasers, industry standard lathes and milling machines in Design and Technology. Pupils benefit from working with a range of tools, materials, equipment and digital technologies including CAD with others being added all the time. This access enables learning opportunities to model creative and design industry approaches. Dedicated staff and technicians support pupils in their endeavours and encourage them to exhibit work in local public spaces. Work is displayed in vibrant departmental spaces, on mannequins and display shelving, and is soon to be displayed around school. This year, the Art and Design and Technology Departments are running an exhibition of pupils’ work at both GCSE and A Level. The range and quality of pupils’ work is first-class, and the more opportunity that pupils have to see their work exhibited, the more confidence they gain in their design and art solutions.