At Harrow Shanghai, we offer curriculum drama as well as a range of student productions. Curriculum drama is taught from Year 3–13. Drama in the classroom focuses on theatre as a process in which students develop skills in speaking and listening. They learn to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others confidently and effectively.
Performance drama has a slightly different focus. Children learn to create a character and develop an understanding of the role and its function in the play. They learn about the process of moving from page to stage and they learn about stagecraft so that they can identify when something is not working and come up with a solution.
This term at Harrow saw the first round of LAMDA exams in Acting and the Speaking of Verse and Prose. LAMDA stands for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Andrew L, who took the Grade One Acting exam, had the following to say:
“To prepare for the exam, I had to find two dramatic solo speeches. I had to perform these with expression and movement. Ms Howard instructed me to understand the pieces deeply, thinking about where the scenes were taking place and how the character feels and looks. With this exam, I learned to project my voice so that the audience can hear me and how to use the stage space so that the audience can see me. LAMDA was an excellent opportunity for me to make progress in my acting skills.”
This term at Harrow, children staged two performances. With no audience being allowed on campus, the plays were filmed. The first of these, Porridge by Craig Hawes, was the Year 5 & 6 play. Hanna X, who played the role of Goldie Lox in the play had the following to say:
“Although I had to memorise a lot of lines and sing a solo part I really enjoyed playing my character, Goldie Lox. I had to wear a big blonde wig. Through this performance, I learned how to overcome nerves confidently on stage and I enjoyed the spirit of teamwork. Ms Howard and the cast didn’t give up rehearsing even during the coronavirus.”
The Year 3 & 4s also staged a performance – Dragon Days by Sue and Paul Langwade. Read-throughs and auditions were held online as well as initial rehearsals. Caspian H, who played the role of Tommy in the play, had the following to say:
“I played the part of Tommy. It was a much bigger part than I wanted, but it was pretty funny when I got used to it. I had to look at the script a zillion times to learn my lines. I learned that you shouldn’t just be saying the lines, but you should also imagine that you are really in the scene.”
We look forward to another year of fantastic performances at Harrow in 2020-21.