A school with Performing Arts at its heart

Performing Arts is a creative thread that runs through the whole of Castle Newnham School, Bedford from year 1 to year 11.

The importance of providing specialist performing arts works hand in hand at the school with the successful teaching of core academic subjects. They provide an additional platform for all pupils to engage in a creative environment that allows them to grow, thrive and learn on their journey through the school.

In the primary school pupils take part in weekly drama, dance and music lessons and secondary pupils continue to participate in all performing arts subjects, with the addition of studying film studies from year 9 to GCSE.

Performing arts facilities at the school include a studio theatre, music teaching spaces and a TV and film production studio and a spacious main hall. The Bedford Music Hub is also based on the school site and this strong partnership offers networking opportunities and the sharing of resources and expertise.

Over recent years the 4SIXTEEN Theatre Company, the school’s in-house theatre company under the direction of the school’s resident theatre director, has produced a number of award-winning shows including The Lion King, The Railway Children, We Will Rock you and The Addams Family. The company are currently rehearsing (within government guidelines due to Covid-19) for their next production Sister Act.

Ruth Wilkes, Federation Principal, said “We are incredibly proud of our pupils and their achievements within performing arts and the NODA awards won for the school productions are testament to the dedication, hard work and expertise of the staff and pupils involved in these magnificent and high quality theatre productions.”

Luke Skeel, Federation Head of Performing Arts said, “Watching our pupils from an early age engaging in the arts is so powerful. The arts are integral to the wellbeing and development of all children. Our staff come from all backgrounds of the arts sector and their experiences mean that we are able to shape our high-quality provision.

“I am proud to lead such a dedicated team whose mission is one thing – that all children should have the opportunity to learn the joy of singing, playing an instrument, dancing and acting. We engage in dance research projects through our partnership with the University of Bedfordshire and our pupils participated in Generations Dancing which was covered by national news.

“We are on a new journey building all-through performing arts education, we have plans to create an all-through choir, expand our dance company and continue to develop our suite of GCSE qualifications, to include a second music course which focuses on music technology.”

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