Performing Arts

At Caldicott, we know that arts education doesn’t just teach skills to future practitioners of the arts. It teaches children the creativity, collaboration, appreciation and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. It helps us reflect upon our society, teaching us how to perfect projects, respond to constructive criticism, and to fine-tune our instruments of choice. It teaches us compassion, empathy and self-expression. It also provides opportunities to collaborate with our local community and support charitable causes.

An overwhelming success is our daring biennial collaborative project with Diva Opera, in which our boys are involved in a full operatic production staged at Caldicott. Boys learn the songs (Italian or German) in class and when the director and cast arrive to rehearse, they know the parts by memory and are ready to get stuck into rehearsals before the gala evening.  On the night, there is champagne on the lawn before the performance and families are able to bag their picnic spot for the interval. The project serves as a great way to encourage young people to listen and view different forms of music and theatre, which they may not have seen before, let alone take part in.

Muster (a contemporary dance co-production, with Candocco Dance and The Two Worlds of Charlie F) saw Caldicott boys together with wounded veterans and disabled dancers, use dance as a means of creative self-expression. Complementing and enhancing our curriculum and activities programme, this project has inspired innovation in our performing arts delivery over the last two years, with physical theatre, dance and creative movement being built into both the curriculum and a number of our productions: notably our 1980’s revamp of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona and our smash hit, My Fair Lady. Last year Year 7 presented Montagues and Capulets – an original percussion-based composition that was set to beat dance choreography. It explored the theme of conflict and was inspired by our visit to The Globe’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

Music is highly valued and an important part of whole school life for all in the Caldicott community. It is well resourced in the school with a contemporary performing space containing a full size Model D Steinway concert grand piano, a beautiful Chapel converted from the old stable building containing a Harrison and Harrison two-manual organ, and a teaching block of rooms containing pianos, drum kits, a range of tuned percussion instruments and a Music Technology Suite. The Chapel Choir sings at Wednesday evening services and at the Christmas Carol Service, which is held annually in a large prestigious church offsite, most recently St Marylebone in London, and at various concerts during the school year. The Junior Choir sings regularly, and informal and formal music evenings encourage both the gifted and the beginner to perform in public. The Caldicott Subscription Concerts scheme brings professional musicians to Caldicott to hold workshops and perform for the boys, parents, staff and the local community. Termly performances take place in front of the school audience and contain soloists, ensembles, choirs and creative work across the performing arts departments, and there are musical events to raise money for charity.

From starring in hit BBC TV shows and stage productions to receiving scholarships to top schools, many boys have had notable success over the last two years and although we are immensely proud of this, it is the passion and commitment of all boys to use the arts as a conduit to engage with the curriculum, their community and the world beyond that truly drives us.