“Performing arts are big news here with dance classes in urban, tap, ballet and musical theatre, LAMDA training and lots of on-stage happenings: from termly showcases of dance, music and drama to impressive annual whole school productions where everyone including the band and the backstage crew are pupils. Recent spectacles include A Christmas Carol, Grease and Twelfth Night with students currently rehearsing for Chicago, all performed in the school’s own theatre. Junior plays offer performances such as Fantastic Mr Fox or Lady in The Van in the school amphitheatre. Performing arts scholars take it one step further with unique showcase performances accompanying a black-tie sit down meal and audience interaction, shy parents be warned.”
- The Good Schools Guide 2021
Drama at King's
King's has a thriving drama and performing arts scene. Every year the department stages a large-scale blcokbuster performance, alternating between a musical and a play.
Pupils of all ages can get involved, from acting, dancing, singing and playing in the band, to back stage costume and make-up artist work, and set building and lighting.
“Thank you so much for everything you've done for me – recognising my ability and potential, setting up all the dates and timings for my drama audition and Taster Day, and welcoming me to this exciting school. I'm already loving King's College after the first day!”
- New pupil writing to our Registrar
Pupils have gone on to study the subject at drama school and university, and work in the profession in a number of careers both on stage and behind the scenes.
Ours is a working theatre, at the heart of our community, and pupils are actively encouraged to involve themselves in its day-to-day running, thereby learning new skills. We try to offer a wide variety of performances in which to participate. For example:
- Large-scale musical Grease
- The Scholars’ Murder Mystery,
- Classic drama in the form of The Great Gatsby
Past productions have included:
Charlotte's Webb; Twelfth Night; Alice in Wonderland; The Wizard of Oz; Guys and Dolls; Much Ado About Nothing; An Inspector Calls; The Ice Palace; The Sound of Music; Metamorphosis; The Importance of Being Earnest; Fantastic Mr Fox; The Lady in the Van; The Great Gatsby; Grease; and A Christmas Carol.
Speech and Drama
Speech and drama is an empowering way for young people to learn effective, clear communication that will serve them throughout their life. Through an exploration of poetry, reading aloud, drama games, performance and improvisation, children spark their imagination, think creatively and learn to perform with charisma. Classes involve a range of speaking and performing exercises that focus on developing clear speech and confident communication.
As well as being great fun, these sessions provide a framework of skills accredited by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) that will assist with performances and help pupils prepare for interviews and meetings, as well as social and professional occasions throughout their lives.
The school is very fortunate in having a 250-seat dedicated theatre fully equipped with computer lighting desk, a large inventory of lanterns, up-to-date sound systems and flexible staging plus a full-time theatre manager to which the drama department has full access.
The department itself also has a black box drama studio with dance floor, staging and computer lighting desk and sound system. In addition it has a dedicated teaching space and extensive costume and prop stores, which enable pupils to access equipment easily in daily drama classes and this is encouraged.
Our wonderful amphitheatre, is an exciting facility that gives us an excellent opportunity perform outside and in the round.
Rehearsals for Lent 2021 School MusicalExciting developments in performing arts, with rehearsals already underway and the cast list out!
The Sound of Music – Mannequin Challenge
The Great Gatsby Trailer
Grease Cast Trailer
Our pupils are afforded every opportunity to challenge themselves creatively during their time at King’s. Many take their acting and performing incredibly seriously, and a handful of pupils take the decision to pursue this as their chosen career.
In recent years, Janet K gained a place at the National Youth Theatre, and more recently, Sixth Form pupils Cerian C and Daniela M have gained places at a prestigious drama school for acting.
Pupils often expand their knowledge and skills by entering events and competitions. We’re fortunate enough to have a number of festivals in our home town of Taunton (music, drama, and dance), but a little further afield, the Exeter Northcott Theatre continues to develop events and opportunities for young people to get create. Ralph H has entered the theatre’s short film competition and has attended two interviews so far, with the winner announcement pending …
Commenting, our Head of Drama and Performing Arts, Ms Agg-Manning, says: “We are very lucky to have such talented students at King’s who are extremely driven, when they put their mind to it, and more often than not they succeed. The Performing Arts Department sees many successes and we are so fortunate to have the resources to help support them in their journey, be it acting or technical. I am thrilled with having two students this year accepted to drama schools, and I cannot wait to see Ralph’s film in all its glory."
Harriet achieved a First Class Honours in Drama and Performance at the University of Northumbria. She has a sound knowledge in theatrical make-up and is a great advocate of ‘physical theatre.'
Mr Anthony Irvine is our Speech and Drama teacher. Having studied English at Oriel, College, Oxford, he later studied acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He has a wealth of teaching knowledge and vast acting and performing experience from his days in Europe as part of a touring circus in Italy and a comedy act in Germany. He even had character parts in long forgotten TV series and films (Dempsey and Makepeace, and Funny Bones)!Mr Irvine is very pleased to be teaching LAMDA at King’s, using his expertise to enliven every lesson.
Christopher works on a wide variety of site specific events and tours, and has a keen interest in fabrication and technical installation in difficult or non-purpose built performance spaces.
Karen is qualified to teach GCSE dance and has a wealth of dance experience, having started ballet, tap and modern at a young age. She studied music at university, but never strayed far from the dance world. She has performed in a variety of shows and musicals, made TV appearances, and performed alongside TV and sports stars in panto at the Bristol Hippodrome and New Theatre Cardiff.
Natasha Ballardie is an ISTD and RAD dance teacher with a background in ballet, tap and modern. She has worked with elite dancers in Istanbul, as well as with local dance schools across the region. Natasha recently became one of only three dance teachers in Somerset to qualify to teach PBT (progressing ballet technique), an approach that focuses on body-conditioning and strengthening. One of the important elements used in the PBT method is muscle memory which helps to improve the understanding of core stability, weight placement and alignment. Natasha will be teaching PBT, beginners' ballet and tap.
Kelly Druce is an ISTD teacher who has also performed as a commercial dancer on tv and in various music videos. Though traditionally trained, Kelly specialises in urban dance, jazz, modern and Latin American. Kelly will be teaching musical theatre and street dance.