London boys/co-ed independent schools with good drama?

(28 Posts)
TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 10:53:49

DS loves drama/performing and seems to have a talent for it - he has performed in professional theatre productions, including in the West End. He is currently in Y5 and we are starting to think about senior schools. He wants a school with very strong drama provision, but is also quite academic and prefers an "ordinary" senior school rather than a stage school where the range of academic subjects on offer would be more limited.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a London boys or co-ed school with an excellent drama department? Ideally we'd like a school that, as well as offering performance opportunities through school, would also be supportive of DS working professionally if he wanted to continue with this. A school that offers drama scholarships would be a bonus but these seem thin on the ground. Location-wise we are looking for north or central London but would consider a longer journey for the right school.

Balletgirlmum Mon 19-Sep-16 10:59:46

Tring Park isn't a stage school like Sylvia Young/Italia Conti is but it is a performing arts school (classical dancers can get government funding).

It has a much wider range of traditional academic options/GCSE's including triple science options. The Theatre Arts course looks excellent but we are too far away & dd would have had to board which we couldn't afford.

TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 11:04:21

Thanks balletgirlmum. I know of Tring Park and agree it looks like a great balance between vocational training and a broad academic education, but unfortunately it's not even remotely within our budget and there's no government funding for the Theatre Arts course.

Balletgirlmum Mon 19-Sep-16 11:13:14

That was our dilemma too. Dd is at Hammond instead & they sometimes offer more generous bursaries to those not eligible for MDS (& we are close enough to commute)

TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 11:15:34

Sorry, to clarify - DS would have to board at Tring Park and boarding fees definitely out of our league.

Balletgirlmum Mon 19-Sep-16 11:18:39

Same here - especially there fees which are higher than elsewhere we looked.

Balletgirlmum Mon 19-Sep-16 11:19:38

Not knowing London that well I didn't know whether it was commutable for you

TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 11:19:47

I have also looked at the Hammond, which might just about be possible financially even with DS boarding. However I'm not convinced that it's really worth it for drama - classical dance is a different matter.

akkakk Mon 19-Sep-16 11:59:16

A number of the private schools have really good drama departments / put on amazing productions / have theatres or studios / etc. The biggest difference may be their attitude to your son being involved elsewhere - a good school will support it, a bad one will see no need...

so the best option is to probably phone the school and ask to talk to the head of drama and then explain what you need - see their response

TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 12:12:10

Thanks, akkakk, that's good advice - will add that to my list of questions to ask at open days.

sleepwhenidie Mon 19-Sep-16 12:14:33

King Alfred's?

OrlandaFuriosa Mon 19-Sep-16 12:16:33

I know it's not in your location, but consider Alleyn's

AnotherNewt Mon 19-Sep-16 13:20:51

The coach service to the Dulwich schools, including Alleyns does have routes that cover central London, so it might be worth finding out if it is reachable.

Also I was wondering if you are near the Overground or any other routes to Clapham Junction. Because Emanuel offers drama scholarships and has supported pupils who have taken part in both West End and film work in recent years.

TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 13:37:52

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, will follow them up. I had noticed when googling that drama scholarships seemed more common in the south London independents. It would be a long commute from zone 3 north London though - might have to think whether moving house would be an option.

spookycoincidences Mon 19-Sep-16 15:36:00

I was coming on here to suggest Emanuel School as they have a fantastic drama department. They really value drama, offer an unusually high number of drama scholarships (as well as music, art and sports but they seem to place particular emphasis on drama), put on a large number of productions every year (including one a the Edinburgh Fringe festival every two years) and encourage students to get involved in a number of ways, including tech, costume design etc. I was at a recent Open Day and the headmaster mentioned that an increasing number of pupils from all over London apply specifically because of the drama department. It's also doing increasingly well academically, so is worth a look for an all-rounded child. We're in a similar situation, also with a boy in Year 5.

Do note that they are actually closing their registrations for 11+ entry in 2018 this Wednesday! So you'd have to register him (and fork out £145) before even seeing the school. We did this as we had heard the list was almost full already before the open day. They interview every candidate, hence why they cap the numbers - and they also want the children who do register to have a decent chance of being offered a place.

LIZS Mon 19-Sep-16 15:41:05

Is Epsom College accessible to you?

TheatreTaxi Mon 19-Sep-16 15:47:11

spooky, that all sounds like just what we're looking for (albeit on the opposite side of the river!). We'd prefer 13+ entry so that takes the pressure off a bit time-wise. Will definitely add Emanuel to the list.

saffynool Mon 19-Sep-16 16:04:51

Whitgift offer drama scholarships, have fabulous facilities and are very supportive of boys who 'work' in school time. They have a thriving weekend academy for performing arts as well as the usual 'school day' based clubs and opportunities. I've been involved in various ways with many of their productions over many years, and they are pretty special.

They are on the same side of the river as Emanuel though so you might have to think seriously about that move! However boys do come from all over London and it's a straightforward journey from Victoria or London Bridge, especially if your ds will be a little older than the usual 11+ intake and used to travelling around London. Worth a look imo.

ancientandmodern Mon 19-Sep-16 16:23:06

Forest School, Snaresbrook (school bus from some bits of N London).

Has v good drama - here is interview with Paapa Essiedu who went to the school and was recent RSC Hamlet

www.forest.org.uk/interview-paapa-essiedu-part-two/

spookycoincidences Mon 19-Sep-16 16:47:22

We're mainly looking at 13+ too theatretaxi (great name BTW!) but Emanuel only take very few at that stage so that would be quite a gamble. Also, they don't pre-test, so you wouldn't know until Jan/Feb of Year 8 if he has a space (but on the plus side, an offer would be unconditional and they only use CE for setting). You'd have to think seriously about paying a deposit elsewhere before then to be on the safe side (and I think for a lot of schools you're also committed to the first term's fees once you've paid the deposit but I may be wrong).

I forgot to say that the theatre looked awesome. It has a really great technical area under the ceiling, with safety netting underneath so the tech students can work up there. It was opened by Ralph Fiennes (who had a nephew there I think) and Mike Leigh only a couple of years ago).

If your DS is very academic you could look at KCS Wimbledon too. Even further South though...

notagiraffe Mon 19-Sep-16 16:49:23

Hampton School? They have fabulous drama facilities there.

Zodlebud Mon 19-Sep-16 17:51:58

If you are considering a house move for the right school then have a look at William Borlase in Marlow (a very sensible commute to London). It's a grammar school with specialist performing arts status. They have amazing facilities and it's free!!!!

Although there's the small matter of being in the catchment area AND passing the 11+........

Threeschools Mon 19-Sep-16 22:04:42

City of London? Daniel Radcliff went there...

funfunapple Mon 19-Sep-16 22:08:42

Habs, Aldenham, City, highgate. All have good drama

TheatreTaxi Tue 20-Sep-16 00:25:31

Thanks to all for the additional suggestions. Hampton, KCS, Aldenham, and Habs are a bit too far away from us, sadly (would rather not move house unless absolutely necessary as we have another DC to consider). Highgate I'm not keen on for other reasons.

Forest and City are better in terms of travel so will look at both of those - thankyou.

Does anyone know anything about drama at either UCS or Bancrofts?

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