The crowd fills the theatre auditorium and the lights start to dim. A glance around the hall reveals exuberant faces bursting with anticipation.
Up on stage, the energy levels are palpable. From prop details and set design to the young performers themselves, it’s not hard to conclude that drama productions are a big deal for international schools.
Photo: The British School of Kuala Lumpur
This year, 50 secondary students were involved in ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ production, a Broadway horror comedy musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. This was the first major collaboration between BSKL's Arts, Drama and Music departments, resulting in spectacular performances by students from Years 7 to 12.
At primary level, the Year 2 students staged ‘Seussical the Musical’, donning colourful costumes and choreographing dances to a collection of Dr Seuss-themed songs.
Performing arts finds its way into almost every level of learning at BSKL from addressing the audience in a foreign language at the Spanish Assembly and extra-curricular theatre productions through to IGCSE and A Levels subject choices.
Photo: Alice Smith School
The 2017 production of Alan Parker’s hit musical ‘Bugsy Malone’ at Alice Smith School was the collective effort of over 100 students and staff. The inherent decadence of the era set the stage for an impressive production with every participant giving their all in the name of musical theatre.
Fantastic individual and ensemble performances, live music and vibrant set design all contributed to this being a successful representation of the school’s performing arts endeavours.
The annual primary level productions here are held by students from Years 2, 4 and 6. From the lively ‘Pirates v Mermaids’ (Year 2) show to ‘Space Pirates’ (Year 4) and Disney’s ‘Frozen’ (Year 6), what happens on stage is as much the contribution of volunteering parents, drama teachers, young set artists and technical assistants as it is the talent and enthusiasm of those in the limelight.
Photo: The International School @Park City
Auditions began in July this year for The International School@Park City’s December 2017 secondary school production of ‘Grease’, the legendary musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Rehearsals were in full swing by the end of summer break, and even now, teachers and students are working extremely hard to perfect their dance moves and get every chorus right as the big show draws closer.
Secondary and primary productions are an annual affair at ISP, while smaller scale recitals and performances are held at assemblies and special events like the annual ‘ISP Has Talent’ competition. Music, drama and dance represent the components of ISP’s Performing Arts division.
Music students aged five to 18 learn to play instruments, sing, compose music, and utilise their talents in ISP’s primary and secondary orchestras and theatre productions at the school.
Photo: Marlborough College in Malaysia
The senior school years at Marlborough College in Malaysia are when performing arts specialties really come into play. Students with an interest in theatre needn’t look any further than MCM’s co-curricular drama programme, encompassing musical theatre performances, Greek tragedies and Shakespearean plays just to name a few.
MCM usually organises excursions to Singapore for students of the drama programme with the aim of exposing them to top international and local theatrical productions.
For school-leavers who intend to seek out formal drama training, these experiences offer them the chance to observe and get a better understanding of what really goes on in world-class productions.
Photo: Prince of Wales Island International School
The months leading up to Prince of Wales Island International School’s July production of ‘Bugsy Malone’ were of great excitement and not just for the performing arts students.
The school’s Baking Club sold Bugsy Malone cupcakes at the cafeteria to raise funds for the show. Meanwhile, POWIIS students visited St. Christopher’s International Primary School in Penang and Shih Chung Primary School to put on Bugsy Malone promotional teaser performances.
The production itself involved 100 students, 10 staff members and the generous support of parent volunteers. Theatre productions like these, as well as music competitions, vary with many musical styles represented. The types of drama productions selected each year are chosen to develop the school’s repertoire and ultimately, give the students a chance to showcase their abilities.