Getting your child into the performing arts at school has many benefits – greater confidence, better self-expression and increased discipline are just a few. Many top schools here incorporate the artistic disciplines of music, drama and dance into their performing arts curriculum. We hear from students about their experiences with theatre performance and musicals at some of these international schools in Singapore.
St. Joseph Institution International – Performing Arts
The performing arts curriculum at SJI International aims to be vibrant, engaging and relevant to students. It develops and challenges students both inside and outside the classroom. This leads to some outstanding achievements across the school and in the broader community. SJI International believes that learning in the arts is a process of discovery where students develop their individuality and express themselves to build better, deeper and more connected lives. In their specialist classrooms and through various productions, shows, workshops, trips, festivals and MADDD (Music, Art, Dance, Drama, Design) Week in the High School, students are never short of opportunities to express and develop their creative talents in art, music, drama and dance.
A student’s thoughts
“The arts have always been a part of my life and an integral part of who I am. I took drama during my IGCSEs, I now take IBDP theatre and I’m the president of the Music Performance Committee. SJI International has shown unwavering support towards my growth as an artist and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunities and encouragement my teachers have given me. I played the titular character of Agatha Rex in this year’s musical production and I’ve taken part in various performances ranging from dance to music and drama throughout my three and a half years in this school. COVID-19 has not dampened the spirit of the arts amongst the school’s community; it’s vital now more than ever to bring joy to our student body through events such as the annual Vibes concert as well as MADDD Week, uniting students through the arts.” – Regina, Grade 11
Tanglin Trust School – Music and Dramatic Art
Tanglin’s inaugural cohort of 19 London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) students have passed with distinction. Currently only available to Senior School students, the LAMDA programme is a co-curricular activity that runs from Monday to Thursday within the school’s Drama Block. The popularity of the programme is quickly gaining traction, expanding from two co-curriculum groups last year to four this year. Tanglin’s LAMDA students learn to be confident communicators, and are more creative and better at problem solving. Students also get to earn UCAS points for the highest grades.
A student’s thoughts
“With 2021 proving to be another challenging year due to on-going COVID restrictions, I’ve been lucky to be able to lose myself in the magic of theatre. Tanglin’s LAMDA acting classes have enabled me to significantly develop and refine my technical acting skills while also deepening my understanding of characterisation and context. My communication and presentation skills have improved and I’ve developed greater self-confidence. It has been amazing to work with inspiring and dedicated teachers and I’ve had a lot of fun with my friends. LAMDA exams are internationally recognised and I was delighted to pass my Grade 4 exam with distinction. The Tanglin LAMDA showcase this year will allow others to take a break, relax and enjoy our performances!” – Jasmine, Year 9
Dulwich College (Singapore) – Performing Arts
The pursuit of the arts is a staple of school life at Dulwich; every student is encouraged to take part in art, film, music, drama and dance. The impressive Performing Arts Centre gives students an environment that mirrors the experience of performing on Broadway or London’s West End. This taste of “what could be” instils in students the belief that they are whom they aspire to be – performers, creators, directors, designers and choreographers. From Early Years specialist lessons through to offering Theatre, Music, Film and Dance at IB level, there are unique and exciting performing arts opportunities available to every age group. Furthermore, in 2022 Dulwich is set to launch a Performance and Production Arts course as part of the new IB Career-related Pathway Programme. This course will develop students’ skills and knowledge needed to progress to higher education or employment in the performing arts industry.
A student’s thoughts
“At Dulwich, I’ve been exposed to a myriad of performing arts experiences that have enriched me as a performer. They include engaging in workshops led by industry professionals, performing in productions and being a member of the Ignite! programme. Ignite! has been integral in expanding my skill set in the performing arts. It provided me with the support to achieve my goal – this year, another performer and myself co-directed a musical! The adaptability within the Performing Arts at Dulwich has allowed us to perform, despite COVID restrictions. I thoroughly enjoyed performing Pool (No Water) alongside my IB Theatre class to a live audience.” – Janaya Thorpe, Year 13
Dover Court International School – Music, Drama and Art
The performing arts curriculum at Dover Court has been designed to ensure students of all ages and abilities have access to music, drama and dance through a range of both practical and theoretical activities. It’s been designed with input from the Nord Anglia Juilliard Creative Classroom, which gives children a unique opportunity to access these specially designed resources. During the IGCSE Music and Drama and the IB Music and Theatre courses, students can deepen their learning and develop the skills needed for any future performing arts studies. The ECA Music Programme stretching across both the Primary and Secondary school offers many collaborative music-making opportunities to enrich students’ learning. There are also opportunities for them to take individual music lessons. Each term, the school runs a range of Music ECAs for students such as Rock Bands, Choirs, ‘Big Little Band’, Ukulele Clubs, Orchestra, Musical Theatre and more. Primary students can participate in the ECA Dance programme. Secondary students have the opportunity to perform in both the annual productions and smaller performances throughout the year.
A student’s thoughts
“I’m an avid music fan and enjoy a vast range of musical styles. When the opportunity arose to enrol in the IB course for music at Dover Court, I jumped at the chance. I absolutely love every aspect of the course, from the philosophical music discussions in class with my teacher Miss Jones to the catch-as-catch-can Logic Pro creating sessions with Mr Ellison. It’s a pleasure learning the in-depth aspects of an art that I enjoy and with the mentors I have.” – Finley, Year 12
Stamford American International School – Performing Arts
SAIS combines a passion for drama with world-class facilities with the aim of nurturing and achieving the best from any aspiring actor or director. Weekly drama classes begin at age five and continue through to Grade 10. Students have the opportunity for personal expression as well as to develop invaluable presentation skills. In addition, the school offers an IB Diploma in Theatre and BTEC Performing Arts Diploma; these provide rigorous preparation for a career as a music, drama and dance performer, designer, producer or director and also instils the confidence, expression and creativity needed to excel in any career.
A students’ thoughts
“The Stamford theatre experience has been by far one of the most memorable takeaways from my 10 years at SAIS. Working with a variety of directors on shows like 42nd Street, Little Shop of Horrors and Grease has exposed me to a variety of skills that I may not have learned at other schools. Being an IB Theatre student has also taught me the power of experience and communication through a variety of means both within the classroom and out of it. Stamford theatre truly is something else, which all students should experience.” – Chloe, Grade 12
Singapore American School – Theatre Programme
The arts are an essential part of the curriculum at the Singapore American School (SAS). For one thing, the PTA and SAS Foundation-funded academic visitors-in-residence programme brings professional musicians, illustrators, thespians and choreographers to work with students. Students and teachers also participate in international music and theatre festivals; one example is the International Thespian Festival. Many of the school’s graduates have been admitted to specialist arts institutions and selective arts programmes in universities and alumni and are thriving in various performing arts industries.
A student’s thoughts
“I’ve been a part of the SAS theatre programme for six years; I’m currently a student in the Advanced Topic Performing Arts course. Ever since my first show in seventh grade, acting has been my passion. The guidance provided by the performing arts teachers at SAS has allowed me to explore who I am as an artist. I’ve met new people through productions and my position in our Thespian Honor Society chapter. I’ve also pursued professional opportunities such as my recent TV debut in Weiyu Film’s This Land Is Mine. One of my most memorable experiences within the theatre performing arts programme has been our recent production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It was amazing to perform live again and work collaboratively with our student musicians, tech crew and performing arts faculty.” – Elly Gaskell, Grade 12
Read up more on international schools in Singapore.
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