The Performing Arts play a vital part in the life and the culture of The Academy, and we were designated a Specialist Arts College in 2002. Students have lessons in Dance, Drama and Music at Key Stage 3 and are given a range of performing arts options for study at Key Stage 4. Both numbers of students opting for Performing Arts, and the results they are achieving, have seen a huge improvement in recnt years. There are an increasing number of extra curricular activities available to all students including Three Drama Clubs, Steel Bands (one for each year group), Breakdance Club, Cheeleading Club and Squad, a Soul Band, Concert Band, String Group, Choir, Chamber Choir and Brass Group. The department puts on a huge number of performances each year, including Christmas Concert, New Starter’s Concert (for Year 7) Leavers Concert (for Year 11) Drama Plays and a series of summer performances as part of the schools Cultural Heritage Week. Students are also provided with many opportunities to get involved in trips to shows, plays and concerts, as well as workshops with visiting artists which have recently included British Breakdance Champions “Bad Taste Crew“, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, as well musicians from The Sage, Gateshead and members of Durham University Musical Theatre Society.
Performances and Activities
A range of other performances take place including Talent Shows and Battle of the Band competitions and each year the school puts on a musical, recent productions have included Footloose, Bugsy Malone, Grease, Fame, High School Musical, We Will Rock You and most recently we were one of the first school’s in the country to perform the new production of Hairspray. Each Drama group performs a range of different pieces over the course of the year, including comedy evenings, ‘murder mystery’, plays such as Our Day Out and Shakespeare productions including Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Students perform at all school events, including assemblies, Awards Evening, Presentation Evenings and Open Night. Students have also performed at many events in and around the region, at Church Services in Peterlee, Durham Regatta, the Pride of Easington Festival, Middlesborough Steel Band Festival, and the Northern Proms at Durham County Cricket Ground. The department runs trips to London for Key Stage 4 students to see two west end shows. In October 2008 the Choir and Wind Band went to the Costa Brava in Spain which included a performance in Barcelona, and more recently, in 2010 our second tour took us to Italy which included visits to Verona and Venice, and a performance by the Chamber Choir in St Mark’s Basilica. In July 2009 the Y10 Steel Band performed at the Music for Youth National Finals in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, and our dancers regularly perfom at events at the Gala Theatre, Durham and Dance City, Break Dance, and Rock Bands as well a various other workshops taking place over the course of the year. In 2008 our Choir travelled to Warwick to take part in the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year competition.
The community aspect of the schools performing arts is also vital, and students in feeder primary schools are given opportunities in Brass lessons, Singing lessons and Drama (which culminates in a joint performance each year at East Durham College). Adult classes in Drama and Tap Dancing take place each week, as well as the Shotton Hall School Community Choir and Steel Band. The Dance Studio and facilities are well used by a number of visiting dance groups after school hours. On a Saturday Shotton Hall Theatre School gives students the chance to further develop their performance skills in singing, dance and acting. Students have taken part in a number of successful performances including “The Wizard of Oz”, and the play “Burying Your Brother under the pavement”, at the Theatre Royal Newcastle. In November 2008 students travelled to London to perform on the West End at the Shaftsbury Theatre as part of a schools festival, and last year performed BILLY ELLIOT as part of the Billy Youth Theatre, at the Easington Welfare Club. Following this performance, one of the students sucessfully auditioned and continues to play the role of “Micheal” in the West End show.
The department has for the last five years organised and hosted the regional round of the National Festival of Music for Youth, and students in Drama have performed at the Theatre Royal Newcastle as part of the National Theatre Connections. Three students in school are members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and four are members of the National Youth Theatre
Our brand new department is on the lower ground floor with specialist Music Room, Drama Hall and purpose built Dance Studio. There are also three small rooms which are used as practise rooms, and and also a central office/staff room area. Above the teaching rooms is our brand new 240 seat theatre. Students receive 3 performing arts lessons a fortnight at Key Stage 3, which incorporate the three discreet subjects of Music, Dance and Drama. At Key Stage 4 students can select to study BTEC courses in Performing Arts, Dance and Music as well as GCSE Music or Drama, and have 5 or 10 lessons a fortnight. There are currently over 100 students studying a Performing Arts subject at Key Stage 4.
Subjects and the Curriculum
At Key Stage 3 students learn about a wide variety of styles of music, dance and drama. They have the chance to use all of the department equipment including the music recording studio, props and costumes in Drama and ICT facilities. At Key Stage 4 students develop their skills further and have more opportunity to specialise in their chosen area. In GCSE music students compose their own music in a chosen style and perform on their instruments. They also learn about different styles in more detail, including Film Music and Dance Music. In GCSE Drama students learn in more detail about different styles of Drama, and take on more demanding roles in a variety of plays, as well as visiting, watching and evaluating professional theatre. The BTEC course approaches the subjects in a more vocational way, students organise performing arts events in school, meet people who work in the industry and are assessed on their contribution to different projects as well as their skills.
For more information about any of the department’s activities, or to arrange a visit, please contact us
Andy King- Head of Performing Arts & Music
Judith Cook- Head of Drama
Zoe Peel – Head of Dance
Julie Summers- Music Teacher
Teresa Menton- English and Dance Teacher
Anna Cleckner- English and Drama Teacher
Community and Support Staff
Kathryn Ackley – Community Arts Co-ordinator
Graham Spence- Performing Arts Technician
Kelly Ogden- Actor in Residence
Richard Judson- Singing Teacher (Secondary) and Choir Conductor
Jonathan Ackley- Media Support and Film-maker in residence
County Music Service Teachers
Victoria Bates- Woodwind Teacher and Conductor of Concert Band
Charlotte Sellers- String Teacher and Conductor of String Group
Tina Mortimer- Brass Teacher and Conductor of Brass Group
Shaun Henderson- Guitar Teacher and Leader of Rock School
Dean Stephenson- Drum Teacher
Greg Pullen- Cello Teacher