This award recognises schools that demonstrate the breadth and heights of pupils’ achievements in the performing arts. The judges not only look at the school's performing arts programme, and whether it provides for the educational, emotional and societal needs of its children, but also new initiatives relevant to the subject of the award.
At Stroud, the Performing Arts is a vital part of daily life and at Stroud music and drama is fun, challenging and varied. In ‘normal times’, musicals, shows, concerts and assemblies regularly provide pupils with opportunities to perform and share their achievements.
Children also have many outlets for dramatic fulfilment at Stroud. Drama is offered within the curriculum and all children take part in musical productions throughout the year. A full Senior School production, traditionally a musical, takes place in the Summer Term (Years 6, 7 and 8), with Years 3-5 being given opportunities to perform in Christmas and Spring concerts. Previous shows have included Bugsy Malone, Joseph, Peter Pan and Dr Doolittle.
However, the changes imposed on society by Covid have been considerable and at Stroud School, we decided to meet the challenges head first. We set about modifying performance venues and methods so that pupils would continue to enjoy and showcase their talents. For the first time, Nativity performances by Early Years and KS1 were streamed live across the world to relatives and friends, so that singing, dancing and acting skills could be appreciated. The school’s annual Carol Service took place in Romsey Abbey, maintaining Stroud’s tradition of high quality choral singing but with differences; small choirs in year group bubbles, social distancing and careful filming enabled the event to be presented as a Covid-safe and yet atmospheric performance.
We then applied the skills we had evolved in this venture to stage and film a large summer concert which was available to watch via the school’s digital platforms. With the support of our peripatetic music staff, we also made films of pupils performing; these films were made available to the school community and provided pupils with performance targets, showcased their talents and inspired others.
Performing arts, by definition, should be shared by others and it has been to the credit of many at Stroud that pupils’ performances have continued to be seen and appreciated. We are proud of the adaptability of our staff who have worked together and met unusual challenges within teaching, staging and technology. We are also proud of our pupils’ determination and talents. The limitations created by Covid have forced us to evaluate our processes and modify our teaching, but these challenges have created positive change that has strengthened the performing arts at Stroud School.
Thank you to the Independent School Parent, for shortlisting us!