Pupils achieve very high standards in art, music and drama whether in productions, concerts or exhibitions, and a significant number of pupils achieve the highest grades in external drama and music examinations.
The Creative Arts play a vital part in school life at Walthamstow Hall both within the curriculum and as a part of the co-curricular programme. In Years 7, 8 and 9 all pupils study Art, Drama and Music and also have lessons in Creative Textiles and 3D Design, with many going on to study these subjects to GCSE and A Level. Pupils are also heavily involved in the Creative Arts as part of the Co-Curricular Programme.
Art, Textiles and Photography
Walthamstow Hall enjoys impressive Art and Textiles resources. The Emmeline Blackburn Arts Centre includes a spacious Art Studio dedicated to younger pupils from Years 7 – 9, as well as a Photographic Studio. The School’s Artist in Residence also has a studio as part of this suite. Three further Art and Textiles Studios lie at the heart of the School campus and are used by pupils from Years 10 – 13. Teaching staff are supported by a team of Art Technicians and the Artist in Residence. Art is of the highest standard and pupils take up Art Foundation and degree courses at prestigious destinations each year. The School’s pride in the quality of the Art, Textiles and Photography is clearly demonstrated by the whole school acting as an Art Gallery with new ‘exhibitions’ hung during the School year.
Three Dimensional Design
The School also has fully equipped studios for Three Dimensional Design where pupils from Years 7 – 13 can undertake carpentry, metal work, laser cutting and ceramic work, amongst others. Pupils’ design work is proudly displayed in The Hub and as part of an annual exhibition in the Three Dimensional Design Studio.
Drama is part of the lifeblood of Walthamstow Hall and our performances are widely known for their highly professional standards. There are a plethora of opportunities for pupils to work backstage or perform in school productions which are always greatly supported by fellow pupils, parents, staff, governors and the local community.
The Ship Theatre is at the heart of Walthamstow Hall Drama. This flexible theatre space, ‘in the round’, has capacity for an audience of 200 and is the stage for all School plays, from examined monologues to the larger School productions. The Ship is supported by two large rehearsal spaces, The Elwes Drama Studio and a spacious, recently converted studio in the Emmeline Blackburn Arts Centre. The Drama department has six specialist, highly skilled and dedicated teachers and is supported by a theatre technician.
There are many Drama productions each year beginning with the main Senior production (Years 10 – 13) in the Autumn term. This is followed by the Lower School production (Years 8 – 9) in the Spring term and the Year 7’s first production in the Summer term. These large-scale co-curricular productions are interspersed with smaller plays performed and examined as key components of the GCSE and A level Drama courses.
Recent Walthamstow Hall productions have included; The Sound of Music (2021), A Christmas Carol (2020), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2019), My Fair Lady (2018), and Daisy Pulls It Off (2018).
Trinity Drama Examinations
Nearly half of all pupils take additional Trinity Drama lessons within School either acting within a pair or solo. Pupils attend thirty half hour Trinity lessons a year as a paid for ‘extra’ and work towards an annual grading exam. Pupils worked from Grade 2 to 8 and can pass with a ‘Pass’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Distinction’ grade. Grades 6 – 8 carry a UCAS point tariff value. An evening of Trinity performances is staged each year where parents can watch the pieces which their children have been working on.
The final strand in the co-curricular Drama offering are the very popular Lower School Drama Clubs for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9.
Performing isn’t for everyone though and pupils are also encouraged to be a part of the backstage production teams, be that working in lighting, sound, scenery, wardrobe, props or backstage logistics. A weekly lunchtime technical theatre club is run for budding lighting and sound operators. The backstage of every Walthamstow Hall production is run by pupils who are trained in the same way as a professional stage management team.
Like Drama, Music is an integral part of everyday life at Walthamstow Hall, both in and outside the classroom. With dedicated facilities, an expert and enthusiastic teaching team, specialist visiting music teachers, a wide array of co-curricular ensembles, an exciting academic curriculum, there is music-making on offer to pupils of all ages, abilities and experience.
The Downton Music classroom, informal rehearsal space and percussion room was extended and enhanced in 2018 to become a full Music suite including 6 new sound-proofed music practice rooms, an additional classroom and a recording space. The new Downton Music Suite is conveniently located just behind the Main Hall, the perfect venue for large concerts.
There are many opportunities for pupils to perform a wide variety of music throughout the year. These range from large, more formal, termly concerts for the orchestra and classical ensembles to the more relaxed, pop based annual Wally Pop and show tune tribute Wally Stage and Screen. Other musical highlights include the Carol Service held at Tonbridge School Chapel, and the annual House Music competition where every single pupil in the School sings on the stage in her House. The weeks in between these huge events are smaller Informal Concerts. The Music department has also established a very successful series of concerts from professional musicians. These aspirational ‘Pro Music‘ concerts designed to inspire our pupils.
Individual Music Lessons
Walthamstow Hall has an expert team of visiting music teachers who offer one-to-one tuition as a paid for ‘extra’. Lessons are normally 30 minutes duration (although some pupils opt for a 45 minute lesson when they reach the higher grades). These lessons take place during the School Day and pupils often work towards ABRSM or Trinity exams.
Tuition is available for the following instruments;
- Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon
- Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone
- Orchestral Percussion, Drum Kit
- Piano, Harpsichord, Organ
- Guitar Classical/Electric
- Violin, Viola, ‘Cello, Double Bass
The School also offers weekly classes in Music Theory. Pupils can receive extra help with aural training for those taking practical exams beyond Grade 5.