Performance Drama

A Habs Girls, we recognise not only the importance of the performing arts, but also the many benefits of learning to work together to create something which others can enjoy.

This means you will have lots of opportunities to take part in drama outside your timetable, without needing to take any qualifications.

We encourage you to get involved in drama at lunchtimes, after school and at weekends, whether you are experienced or it is for the first time. You will develop important lifelong skills which will serve you well at university, in the workplace and beyond. These include organisation, teamwork, creativity and confidence.

Build a new set of skills

While we aim for the highest possible standards in our public performances, we are very inclusive. Even if you are not into performing, there are lots of other roles, both front and back of house.

For example, you could take on a leading role as a stage manager, set designer, playwright, lighting and sound technician, costume designer, makeup artist, prop-maker or video designer.

In fact, we have hosted several professional makeup and theatre design workshops and organised workshops with renowned theatre companies and practitioners.

Our approach

We avoid the dated approach of ‘school plays’. For example, where actors can be overly demonstrative and over-confident while ‘pretending to be someone else’, remembering lines in a certain way or standing in a certain position.

Instead, we give you a fresh perspective on what theatre, drama and film can be, which is far more in line with methods taught in drama schools, the National Youth Theatre and professionally.

You will be encouraged to be authentic and in the moment, trusting your instincts, while using your own experiences and imaginations to inform your decisions and voice. We want you to be aware of how your work can be socially conscious too, reflecting, celebrating and challenging the world around us.

Students are trained as theatre-makers, offering them the space in which to collaborate, play and take risks. They are encouraged to take responsibility for creating new work and finding their own original voices within it.

Students of all ages use creative subjects to enhance their emotional experience…responding emotionally to both individual and collective high-quality musical and dramatic performances.

Independent Schools Inspectorate report, 2022

Our performance spaces

We offer a range of rehearsal, workshop and performance spaces, including:

  • A drama studio
  • A further drama studio which is a purpose-built black-box studio for teaching and examination shows
  • A designated performance space with tiered auditorium seating, plus high-quality lighting and sound equipment

Our in-house Drama Technician manages and operates our spaces, supporting all activities and productions.

Productions, workshops and performances

You can take part in a range of plays and musicals, from adaptations of books, graphic novels and classic texts to plays devised by us. Not to mention new work created alongside professional writers.

Recent collaborators include writers James Fritz, Simon Longman, Ella Frears and Andrew Muir, theatre-makers Matt Harrison and Joyce Henderson, movement directors Kane Husbands and Grace Gibson, video designer Dan Light, plus Tea films and 4Ransom films. We also work with partners, companies, schools, community groups and charities.

Each year, we mount at least two large-scale productions. Recent productions include Brief Encounter (jointly with Habs Boys), Brainstorm/All The Things I Never Said and Where We End Up. We also take part in the annual Shakespeare Coram Schools Festival, along with entering local festivals.

Meanwhile, our Lower Sixth students run our popular lunchtime drama clubs, planning small-scale workshop performances each term.

Film production

You will have the chance to develop as a film-maker, with training from professionals and opportunities to make your own ‘shorts’.

Each year we produce several film projects in collaboration with professional film-makers, while students also write and make their own films. For example, we recently developed a full-length experimental film alongside several music videos and projects.

National opportunities

Over the past five years, more than 20 students from Habs Girls and Habs Boys have been accepted into the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, demonstrating the quality of training in our schools.

Each year we participate in the National Theatre New Views playwriting programme, a nationwide in-school playwriting programme for students aged 14-19. Each school works with a professional playwright who mentors students throughout the academic year to write their own original 30-minute plays. Shortlisted entries then get a staged reading or fully produced production at the National Theatre.

In the past couple of years, several Habs students have had professional readings at the National Theatre, while Jamila Salim’s play Colour Outside the Lines was bought by Audible to be professionally produced.

The Arts Award

Taking part in drama productions is a good way to gather experience for the Arts Award, a national qualification we offer in our Senior School and Sixth Form.

The Arts Award evaluates the knowledge, understanding, creativity, communication, planning and review skills that young people develop through involvement in the arts. It recognises all art forms, including theatre, arts administration and technical roles.

There are four Arts Award levels: Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The highest level, Gold, is worth 16 UCAS points towards a university or college application.