Is your child ready to swallow their nerves and participate in their school’s next theatre production or concert? Singapore’s international schools encourage students to participate in a wide range of performances, from ensembles to original plays, to full-blown musicals. Whether they’re budding singers, actors, makeup artists, lighting technicians or prop designers, they only have to raise their hand and say, “I’m in”!
Nexus International School (Singapore)
“Performing Arts has always been about collaboration, this is what stimulates our imagination and pushes us to create more boundary-breaking productions. The feature production at Nexus this year was The Little Shop of Horrors. Performing Arts involves the whole school: from the learners who acted, teachers and students who directed, the Art Department who made the costumes, the Music Department that provided the orchestra, to the learners who ran the tech and lighting crew.
Even the team in the STEM Makerspace transformed “Audrey II”, an extra-terrestrial plant, into a digital animation. Every feature, movement and expression of the plant was drawn by students and brought to life on screen. This offered students the unique challenge of acting with a digital cast member. The production showcased a depth of expertise and talent across the school by involving so many teachers and students.”– Jenny Burgess, Head of Drama
Canadian International School (CIS)
“CIS students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, have the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of performing arts activities. These are held in either the outdoor amphitheatre, 500-seat indoor theatre or drama classrooms. At times, performances are run in Chinese and French, for students to practice and develop their multilingual skills.
One of the most recent performances was Alice in Wonderland Junior, held in early June. All Grade 5 students were involved in the production and participated in activities including design, lighting, sound, costumes, makeup, dancing, singing, backstage management and acting. It took five months of intense preparation to put on the production. Songs and dance moves were learnt during regular music classes while other aspects such as learning lines took place during recess and co-curricular activity time. The experience provided students with lots of great opportunities to learn important skills including teamwork, time management, creativity and confidence building.”
– Mrs. Shanhong Hughes, CIS Lakeside Primary School Music teacher
Dover Court International School
“The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme at DCIS focuses on inspiring a deep love of the arts in every student. The curriculum combines high-quality teaching with the traditions and expertise of The Juilliard School to promote creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.
A range of performance opportunities by students and visiting Juilliard alumni aim to foster DCIS students’ love of the arts. Last year, students participated in A Christmas Carol, and our upcoming productions are A Christmas Dream and the much-loved Grease.
Other opportunities such as Celebration of the Arts, Promenade, and Juilliard-NAE Performing Arts Week enable students to work collaboratively while unlocking their own imagination in rock band, choir and orchestra performances, solo recitals and drama presentations. Each child’s participation in these co-curricular music events not only helps to improve their reflective and critical thinking skills, but also encourages risk-taking and innovation across other subjects.”
– Patrick Dwyer, Head of Music
Australian International School
“Room 101: This Too Shall Pass was an exciting and completely original, student-devised school production held this year. Our Year 9 to 12 students spent three months creating material based on things that began with the stimulus question, ‘What scares and what excites us?’ Live performance has an undeniable power to challenge and teach. Our aim was to create a piece of theatre that profoundly affected our audience and how they see the world. These are lofty ambitions! The final product was an exploration of fear, how it is created, manipulated and used as a tool for control. Our performance combined physical theatre with Brechtian elements, popular culture and politics, dance and audience immersion, as well as extracts from 1984, The Crucible and Antigone. Sounds eclectic? It was. Did we change the world? Perhaps not the world, but maybe a small pocket of it, and hopefully for the better.”
– Ash Huxtable, Secondary School Head of Drama
Singapore American School
“Every year, the 800-seat auditorium and drama theatre hosts 24 different dance, theatre, and musical productions. It’s home to the only Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system in Southeast Asia, and every single performance gives students and audience members a professional performance experience.
Recent performances have included a dance production of Neverland, which involved 400 students from Preschool through to Grade 12, and the C.S. Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which brought together over 200 students in Middle School to build props and sets, make costumes, write songs, and perform the show. In the Elementary School, students prepared for weeks to produce and perform Oliver Twist. At SAS, there are options all year round to be on stage as a performer, work backstage as a theatre technician, or flex your creativity as a costume, set, make-up or prop designer.”
– Jennifer Sparrow, Deputy Superintendent
Tanglin Trust School
“Tanglin’s thriving and energetic arts programme plays a vital part in school life. It is often through the arts that different year groups and departments come together and where students develop confidence through collaborating in a creative team. The recent Beatles Concert is one example. Over 350 performers entertained an audience of around 600 with a spectacle of music, colour and fun in the Berrick Performance Hall. Set against vibrant, immersive visuals, the Senior Ensembles performed the complete Magical Mystery Tour album in a range of musical styles, showing huge breadth and depth of talent. Proceeds were donated to the Arc Children’s Centre.” – Helen Owain, Head of Senior Music
“There was such a sense of enjoyment from everyone who took part; the Year 7 Choir sang – the whole year – and they were all smiling.” Tim Richardson-Waldin, Year 12
“Being new to the school the concert really helped me settle into a group. I felt very welcome.” – George Gourlay, Year 12
Stamford American International School
“We are proud of the Performing Arts programme at Stamford. Our student performances are vibrant, energised and visually breathtaking. Our student performers never fail to impress our audiences with their commitment to achieving exceptionally high standards whether it’s acting, singing, making music or dancing.
Every year, we believe in providing equal opportunities for all students from KG2 up to Grade 12 to audition for our shows so that they can show their talents. This year, we are putting on nine theatre productions. The lower elementary students performed in our studio theatre where they honed their skills in a small, intimate space, while the upper elementary and secondary students performed in our state-of-the-art Reagan Theater. The 60-square-metre LED screen creates spectacular scenery, such as the flowing chocolate river backdrop for Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
Stamford’s music department offers after school ensemble programmes and has over 25 string, woodwind, percussion and vocal music ensembles for students KG1 through Grade 12. Students can participate in five large scale music concerts and over twenty recitals and small ensemble musical performances throughout the year.”
– Jules Nicholson, Head of Drama and Performance
All students have an opportunity to develop and pursue interests and passions in a wide range of artistic disciplines including music, drama, dance and visual arts. At both UWCSEA’s campuses, in a typical year, all Primary School students have an opportunity to create and display visual art and perform in an Arts Festival, in addition to taking weekly music lessons. In Middle School, all students take drama, music and visual art lessons, while High School students can specialise in visual art, music, theatre and dance. The Activities programme then offers a choice of music ensembles and instrumental lessons, drama and dance productions and creative studio time for visual artists of all persuasions.
“The K-12 Music Programme on East Campus is an example of the integration of Activities with the Academic and Service elements of UWCSEA’s learning programme. All students in K1 to Grade 8 take music lessons as part of the academic curriculum, and can elect to specialise in the subject in the High School GCSE and IB. In addition to this, individual lessons leading to Associated Board exams are offered in 28 different instruments, and there are 29 different music ensembles and activities to choose from at lunchtime and after school. Some of these involve students in the College’s Service programme, for example working with performers from Epic Arts in Cambodia.”
-Mark Bradshaw, Head of Music, UWCSEA East
GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
“GEMS World Academy (Singapore) has a vibrant and varied performing arts programme for its students. Most recent success was the 95 strong student cast of The Wizard of Oz. Performed to a packed audience at the school on two consecutive days this was the biggest production the school has put on so far. Students from Grade 1 to Grade 11 featured in solo and chorus parts; this was truly a whole school experience. Our aim at is to encourage students to celebrate and engage with the arts and find what works for them. The school also hosted the Primary ISTA Drama Festival. Attracting over 90 students from five international schools in Singapore, this was an opportunity for students to explore, connect and have fun. What’s ahead at GEMS (Singapore)? A Primary Years school production of the Nutcracker where every Primary Years student in every class is involved, and the continuation of the highly successful ECA Drama Club, “GEMS Stars on Stage”.”
– Claire Rimmer, HOD Arts and Design, Visual Arts & Design Educator
Read on to learn more about schools in Singapore.