The Prep Schools’ Day of Musical Theatre is always a greatly anticipated day and provides a fantastic opportunity for younger children to enjoy the experience of taking part in musical theatre at Downe House. Our incredible team of Drama and Dance Faculty professionals worked with the pupils throughout the day, honing the children’s skills as actors, singers and dancers, and encouraging them to collaborate with classmates and other schools to create something really special.
This year we explored The Songbook of Alan Menken, a composer and songwriter for very well-known animation, film and theatre productions, and one of the few people in history to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. Everyone involved was excited to see and hear so many classic hits from musicals and Disney films all in one showcase. Alan Menken has been creating musical masterpieces for 50 years and the children and staff took up the challenge to show off the best of the best in under an hour during their performance in the afternoon!
Each school took on the challenge of learning the song and choreography to a different one of Alan Menken’s best-known songs. As well as joining together as one large ensemble to sing ‘Carrying the Banner’ from Newsies. It was a day jam-packed with music, singing, dance and drama – as the school groups worked on their songs before everyone gathered together to create a fantastic performance of Alan Menken songs, complete with introductions from our Downe House Drama Seniors, for the invited audience.
The children took the audience of their teachers, family and friends on a journey that went from ‘Downtown’ on Skid Row (Little Shop of Horrors) to becoming the ‘King of New York’ (Newsies), they invited them to ‘Be Our Guest’ (Beauty and the Beast) before taking ‘One Jump Ahead’ (Aladdin) to marvel at the ‘Colours of the Wind’ (Pocahontas) and concluded with ‘I’ve Got a Dream’ (Tangled). Our dream for the day was for everyone to come away feeling excited and inspired by the power of musical theatre!
The Dragon absolutely LOVED the Day of Musical Theatre at Downe House. The kids were singing the songs all the way home (even in a bit of traffic along the A34!).
Charlie Ponder, Director of Drama, Teacher of English – Dragon School
I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful day you provided. Our girls were really put through their paces, with high expectations and pace throughout the day which they loved, and they learnt a huge amount. The quality of the Drama and Dance teaching was superb, but also very considerate – Miss Ward had choreographed their dance prior to the session, but was so kind and generous in her responses to the girls’ ideas. The parents who were able to come along were very impressed and appreciated the opportunity for a tour. From the moment we were greeted at the gate to the bag of cookies for the journey home, you gave us a truly special day. Thank you!
Stephanie Underwood-Webb, Head of Drama – The Elms
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