In the midst of another period of online teaching and learning, the Drama and Dance Department was keen to extend their support to Prep Schools and local Primary Schools to help to keep our wider community active and engaged with Drama and Dance. On Wednesday mornings during the Lent term, our Head of Extra Curricular Dance, Miss Olivia Ward has been teaching a live online Dance lesson for Infant and Junior pupils. In the first week, over 110 boys and girls from seven local primary schools and fifteen prep schools across the UK joined the livestreamed lessons.
Miss Olivia Ward, Head of Extra Curricular Dance said,
I am absolutely delighted to be running such an exciting outreach opportunity for so many children who may not currently be able to access Extra-Curricular Dance lessons. Each workshop is designed to get everyone dancing along to fun, upbeat music from the comfort of their own homes. Parents, guardians and siblings are also encouraged to join in, so the workshops can also act as a fun family activity which everyone can participate in! I am very much looking forward to continue delivering these workshops in the coming weeks.
Isla, Year 5 – St Finian’s Catholic Primary School said,
Miss Ward made the choreography fun and energetic. I liked the way the routine was broken down to make it easy to follow. I had so much fun and can’t wait until the next session!
On the drama front, the Drama Scholars created a series of four pre-recorded Drama lessons, two for the Infant age group and two for Juniors. Not only does this endeavour help children in our wider community to play and explore through drama, but it has the added benefit of being a very worthwhile project for the Scholars, nurturing independence, creativity and collaboration. A huge thank you must go to Deputy Director of Drama, Miss Alice O’Sullivan for co-ordinating this project!
Alice, LVI Geraldine James Drama Scholar explains,
As a Sixth Form Drama Scholar, I was excited to be involved in the project as I feel giving back to the community in a meaningful way is tremendously important, and I also love working with my fellow Drama students. My lesson was targeted at Junior pupils in Years 4 to 6, and I used Roald Dahl’s Matilda to teach them how to use their physical performance skills. After a fun warm-up, I described characters from the book, including Matilda, Miss Trunchbull and Bruce Bogtrotter, and explained how the boys and girls could use their facial expressions, posture, gesture and other skills to create the character. The other Drama Scholars then recorded examples of each character to show the physical skills in action. As a final activity, I created a number of scenarios for the pupils to reimagine their characters in, including the floor being lava and having to eat a huge cake. Again, the Drama Scholars were immensely helpful and portrayed these scenarios with originality and flair, showing the students how they might approach the exercise. Teaching Drama to younger children was a new experience
for me, and I hugely enjoyed it.
Acting Director of Drama, Miss Kayleigh Anger said,
At a time when we are all stuck indoors, the joy that can be found through delving into our imaginations is even more integral to maintaining positive mental and physical wellbeing. As such, we are delighted to have developed a lockdown outreach programme to help keep our wider community active and engaged with drama and dance during this period. It is wonderful to be able to make just a small difference to a child’s day by bringing them a drama or dance lesson full of fun and energy!
The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.Discover