Bede’s beating heart is its creativity. We celebrate choice, encourage every pupil to try something new and embrace the unknown, creating a remarkable place to study.
Each year, Bede’s Drama Scholars are set a challenge to stage an intimate production in the Miles Studio Theatre with minimal input from the Drama Department; they are given a script and a director as a sounding board and the rest is up to them. The Scholars' Play is designed to be an actor-centric endeavour where pupils stretch their performance skills.
"Drama is another strength – ‘productions are fantastic – if you close your eyes… on a par with X Factor,’ said a parent. The theatre on site is small, but the school uses Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne for big productions, such as the recent Oliver!, described by a parent as ‘simply fabulous. Evidence of fantastic teaching and mentoring… Such teamwork and commitment demonstrated.’"
- The Good Schools Guide
The aim of our Drama Club is to engage pupils who have not opted for academic drama courses to enjoy improvisation, devising and scripted drama. The club is intended to be a fun, practical activity and can lead to a production. No previous drama experience is required and pupils of all ages explore drama through the analysis of language in text, characterisation and workshops.
In the latter part of the Summer Term, with the exam rush over, our Drama Department’s attention turns to our First Year and Lower Fifth pupils. This production is only open to the youngest members of the Bede’s dramatic community and provides the perfect showcase for new talent. As with all our productions, the design, lighting, costumes and sound are managed by Bede’s pupils as part of the Theatre Production Club. In recent years, productions have included Romeo and Juliet, Noughts and Crosses and Lord of the Flies.
Every year, aside from the dozen or so exam productions, the School stages one Senior Play or Musical involving pupils from all year groups. A showcase of Bede’s incredible acting talent, this projection usually involves the staging of a production off-side every other year, with an on-site performance in our Miles Theatre the following year. Recent productions performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne have included Into the Woods and Oliver, as well as Great Expectations and The Crucible.
The quality of sets, costumes, make up and lighting is as much commented upon as the quality of the acting; these performances really are beyond anything which would be expected of a school and attract critical acclaim as a result.
Key to the success of our Senior Production activity which focuses on the technical aspects of theatre. We surround ourselves with some of the best technical experts from and our pupils learn all aspects of technical theatre including painting, lighting, sound, costume design and building with the aim of achieving results which any professional theatre company would be proud.
The Bede’s Singers is open to all pupils and is an opportunity to sing in three and four part harmonies in a variety of popular and contemporary musical styles from gospel to musical theatre. The Singers perform in concerts throughout the year including singing workshops and the annual performing arts showcase, Cabaret.
The Chamber Music activity is provided for music scholars and those music pupils with a high aptitude for performance and musical perception who wish to extend their skills to the art of chamber music. The purpose of the activity is to prepare pupils for the School’s Chamber Music evening in the Summer Term and for other selected concerts in the School calendar. The group covers a wide range of repertoire including Frank Bridge, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert.
The Bede’s Jazz Band has the standard “Big Band” line up of trumpets, trombones, saxes and a rhythm section and they meet regularly for two hours every Tuesday afternoon. The Band rehearses for numerous public performances throughout the year including Cabaret and the annual Jazz Evening as well as the end of year Jazz on the Lawn.
Working alongside the Jazz Band, is our Jazz Choir and Barber Shop Choirs which perform jazz standards from Gershwin to Cole Porter, also in preparation for the big annual musical performances.
In the Music Technology department at Bede’s, there is a strong emphasis on learning through doing and in our well-resourced studio facility both analogue and digital technologies are integrated. Knowledge is extended via our busy calendar of live events by which pupils learn live sound reinforcement techniques working alongside industry experts. Pupils learn about sound engineering, audio recording working with software audio sequencers to develop a portfolio to demonstrate their acquired skills.
Through Bede’s Open Dance Programme, pupils have the opportunity to participate in a dance classes as part of the Co-Curricular Programme, including ballet, contemporary, jazz and musical theatre.
These classes are the perfect option for those who enjoy dance but are not interested in pursuing it professionally.
As we have sadly had to postpone our in-person concerts and recitals for this academic year, we are hosting a range of online events to allow our pupils to showcase their talents even during the remote learning period.
See a few of the highlights below.