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Orchard School Bristol

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts Faculty's ambition is that all students find their passion as a composer, dramatist, singer, performer, director or producer. Students explore different genres and important work of the past and present in drama and music.  Learning is creative and collaborative.   Knowledge and skills grown in performance, technical and digital elements enable individual and group performances and ambitious large scale productions.  

Staff Profiles

  • Mr Giles Butcher, BA (Hons), PGCE, NPQML - Head of Faculty 

After graduating from university, I worked in the arts for fifteen years on a large number of collaborative projects, working with sculptors, dancers, musicians and other visual artists. During that time, I also worked as a musician and producer on a number of published music projects.  I am passionate about the arts and teaching has allowed me to share this passion with  students.  I achieved my National Professional Leadership Qualification for Middle Leaders in 2019. 

  • Mrs Zuwena Lewis, BA (Hons), PGCE - Second in Performing Arts

I graduated from Bath Spa University with a combined honors degree in Drama and Education Studies. I went on to train as a teacher at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have a particular interest in health and wellness and inclusive teaching for all young people. I am an Academy counsellor for Summerhill Academy and as a counsellor I enjoy supporting a primary school setting to widen my own knowledge of early years, but also to use my current skill set to help to support and strengthen academy life. 

  • Miss Kirsty Hobkirk, BMus (Hons), PGCE

I graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of  Scotland with a degree in Music, specialising in Vocal Performance. I went on to train as a teacher with the University of Buckingham. I have a particular interest in choral singing and inclusive teaching for all young people. I am a member of the Music Teachers Association and have recently undertaken further study in Children's Mental Health.


Drama - Curriculum features

 Drama reflects the world as we know it. As students delve into our curriculum, we want them to recognise how performance is a vehicle to expose issues and incite change. Whilst performing is enjoyable and entertaining, it can also be used to reflect social and political issues, teach audiences empathy, reveal truths and even function as a form of protest. We aim to educate students about drama so they can recognise how powerful performance can be.  

We want our students to be versatile in their thinking when creating a piece of drama from scratch. This means giving them access to a large toolkit of practitioners and performance styles to experiment with and incorporate into their pieces. Devising in drama allows students to develop social skills, collaborate and cooperate in groups. Drama students at Orchard School are encouraged to use drama lessons as a forum for debate and discussion so they feel confident with tackling difficult subject matter on stage and empowered by the way they can use performance to express themselves.  

From the start of Key Stage 3 we explore various physical and vocal skills. Fundamentally, this means drama students at Orchard recognise how influential tone, pitch, body language and gestures can be when communicating with others.  

At Key Stage 4 we explore playwrights from the canon across history. These high quality texts engage students and encourage them to voice their personal opinion when they encounter them. Carefully unpicking the language in a script allows students to discover and examine the possible inner thoughts and feelings of their character. 

Music & Music Technology - Curriculum features

Music is fundamental to all of us, it is one of the first things we respond to as a baby and it continues to evoke, inspire and provide meaning for us throughout our lives. Music has the power to excite, calm and heal us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We can all think of a piece of music, or a musical performance, that has had a magical effect on us in some way. 

Our curriculum provides a wealth of opportunities for the composition, performance and appraisal of Music. We also use our voices as instruments, developing opportunities to sing and be involved in choirs. This enables students to become confident, creative and collaborative in their approach to exploring the subject knowledge and associated practical skills. 

Understanding Music is powerful knowledge and as such should be accessible to everyone regardless of background. Everyone’s voice is welcome in Music lessons where students feel safe to express themselves and are equipped to critique their own work and the work of others in the classroom and beyond. Students are inspired and excited by the musical works of the past and present, using musical language to explore how these works are created and how the meanings and emotions they instil, on a cultural and personal level, are derived. We expose students to outstanding live performance, to listen and connect with musicians who inspire and motivate them to set aspirational goals to really challenge themselves. 

Through the exploration of Music we uncover how music-making is a huge part of cultural production and this helps us become accepting of others regardless of background or belief. Students have opportunities to share experiences of their own musical heritage, which provides a broader understanding of our community and its rich culture.  

This discourse around music and cultural values ensures a healthy mind that celebrates diversity, whether discussing the merits of a piece or supporting each other to better ourselves in an informed way.