The dramatic arts

With both junior and senior school productions, inter-house plays, outstanding academic results, and talent to spare, Kingswood’s Drama department entertains and inspires the entire Kingswood community.

Curriculum

All pupils take part in drama as part of their curriculum up to Grade 9 level after which pupils can choose the Dramatic Arts as one of their core subjects. By choosing Drama, they are making themselves part of the unique, slightly quirky, Kingswood College Drama family. In the words of Harvey Cocks, “an actor must never be afraid to make a fool of himself”. In the Drama department, pupils and staff play and grow as a family and laughter is always heard emanating from the studio.

Enrichment & Productions

Participating in the Dramatic Arts at Kingswood is not lost, for pupils not choosing Drama as a subject from Grade 10. For those pupils wanting to stay involved, they have the opportunity to participate on an enrichment level both on stage and behind the scenes.

There is a history of high standards that has been set over the years, in both the quality of House plays (senior school) and school productions (both junior and senior) which alternate year on year. Both of these provide pupils with a platform to be involved in performing, directing and  contributing to the unseen side of performances – backstage management, makeup, lighting and sound.

Recent school productions include:

  • The Kitchen – Arnold Wesker (2014)
  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle – Bertolt Brecht (2016)

Upcoming events

  • Junior House plays (18 February)
  • School Play: Broken Fences – Simon Simoncic (19 – 23 March)
  • Senior House plays (18 June)

Dramatic Arts Pupil Productions

Aside from the formal productions at Kingswood, there are a number of performances that take place involving Drama pupils throughout each year. From the postmodern performances of the Grade 12s, site-specific explorations in Grade 11, Greek Theatres scenes in Grade 10 (just to name a few), there are multiple opportunities for the performers of Kingswood to express themselves and their performing abilities.

House plays

The junior house play is performed by Grade 8 and 9 pupils, and written and directed by a group of Grade 11 and 12 Dramatic Arts pupils, who are given a different theme each year. Through the Junior House play, Grade 8 and 9 pupils are given a chance to test their learning and skills onstage, and senior Dramatic Arts pupils can stretch their wings as directors and playwrights. The directors are responsible for rehearsals, sound and lighting design, costumes and everything in between that comes with producing a play.

Inter-house plays are held in the second term and this competition gives the senior Dramatic Arts pupils a time to showcase their learning and talents whilst managing and directing their individual houses to success.

Each house (Chubb, Gane, Jagger and Wood) selects an excerpt or a short play and is required to produce it. This is a pupil-driven initiative and pupils take ownership and responsibility for their entire productions with only a little technical help and guidance from staff.

Home to the liberal arts

Being situated in Makhanda (Grahamstown) we are fortunate enough to be on the doorstep of both the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and Rhodes University Drama Department.

The Festival provides a unique opportunity for pupils to attend a number of shows during its 11 days each year. This allows pupils exposure to a range of different theatre genres, as well as a time to experience the excitement of the Festival as it takes over Grahamstown. From street theatre to art exhibitions to the main program the festival allows pupils to immerse themselves in the Arts and experience the wealth of creativity and talent that South Africa has to offer.

Beginnings

The Kingswood College Drama department took its first shaky steps in 2013, when it was offered as a Grade 12 subject for the first time. A brave group of ten students took up the challenge of laying the foundations for the Drama department and spent the next three years splashing multiple colours into the blank canvas that was Dramatic Arts. Since 2013 the Drama department has grown from strength to strength, embedding itself into the heart of the school.