Holmewood finds many different ways of engaging children in theatre. Children have the opportunity to take part in Drama as part of their curriculum as well as being involved with activities and productions. Drama is taught as a curriculum subject in years 5, 6 and 7. Year 5 have one lesson a week and years 6 and 7 rotate with PSHE, doing half-term intervals of each.
Drama lessons usually begin with an introduction to its meaning and brief historical context. Much work is done on physical control, flexibility, spatial awareness and timing. Mime is the vehicle by which many aspects of Drama are first encountered. Facial expression, body language, gesture are all considered as ways of expressing emotion. The Year 5 children are exposed to many different genres of Drama and then in Year 6 and 7, the children build upon techniques and expand on these using role-play, improvisation and script.
Role-play is used extensively in lessons. Children learn to use body language and movement to create, interpret and sustain character in various situations. Emphasis is placed on the importance of voice projection, pitch, pace and tone of voice and also the use of pause for effect.
Gradually, the use of props is introduced and various topics, titles and stimuli are given each lesson to experiment with, develop and consolidate skills learnt. The use of scripts is introduced, starting with extracts from plays, monologues and duologues.
Improvisation is another aspect of Drama that is greatly encouraged in students at the top end of the school and Holmewood children seem to have a remarkable aptitude for achieving quite a high standard. It would appear that pupils develop an enormous sense of self-confidence and they are surprisingly free of inhibitions.
In the autumn term the middle school production takes place. This involves all pupils in Year 5 and Year 6 and they have the opportunity to act and sing in a Christmas themed production.
In the spring term the pupils in the junior school perform their junior production. This includes all children in Year 3 and Year 4 and involves acting, singing and dancing/movement.
In the summer term the pupils in Year 8 perform their Leavers’ play. This brings the year group together for their final production at Holmewood.
After school Drama activities include musical theatre, LAMDA and fun creative Drama for the junior, middle and senior pupils. Holmewood House has been registered as a centre for LAMDA examinations. Each year pupils have the opportunity to take examinations in acting and we are hoping to introduce public speaking examinations.
The main purpose of Drama at Holmewood has always been to have fun whilst developing important life-skills such as those of self-confidence, trust, commitment and supporting others, whilst believing that every individual has much to contribute.