The aim of the Glenalmond College Drama curriculum and Theatre programme is to provide both academic and artistic opportunities for all pupils while celebrating the key role of theatre in the social and cultural development of our learners.
The College prides itself on staging ambitious shows to an extremely high standard, with an impressive participation rate. Recent major productions include The Sound of Music, Anything Goes and Peer Gynt, which was the subject of a think piece in the Scotsman on stretching young people through the arts. The annual Senior Production alternates between a musical and a two-act play, while the annual Junior Production is a chance for our young performers and designers to stage more experimental work, often a classic with a twist (such as Pirate Hamlet), and featuring original music composed by students. Staff are also often part of these performances. The success of our shows is the result of an immense collaborative effort between the cast, technical crew, production team and all our supporters.
Students take full advantage of the creative opportunities on offer during these productions. Even for those not inclined towards being on stage, the school play is still a key event of their year, with opportunities in assistant directing, choreography, set design, costume design, hair and makeup, stage management and sound and lighting.
A weekly stagecraft club offers pupils experience in the technical aspects of theatre as well as the design elements which go into a production. The Drama staff work closely with colleagues and students in Art on all theatrical endeavours, engaging in a positive cross-curricular approach to the arts at College.
All students have the opportunity to study for one or more qualifications in performance and communication from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Students benefit from weekly one-to-one tuition from our highly qualified and experienced LAMDA tutor. Specialisms include Acting, Shakespeare, Speaking Verse and Prose, Reading for Performance, and Speaking in Public. All qualifications are offered from beginner level up to and including Grade 8 Gold Award. The LAMDA course runs through the Michaelmas and Lent terms, with examinations generally taking place just before the Easter holiday.
Our track record in LAMDA is excellent, with all candidates to date gaining Distinction or Merit, including those who have English as a second or additional language. All successful Grade 8 candidates gain UCAS points; many of our students say this helped them to gain the university place of their choice. At every level, all learners gain vitally useful confidence, articulacy and communication skills.
Students of academic Drama are exposed to as much live theatre as possible. The College’s location in central Scotland allows us to access a range of shows at a wide variety of theatres around Scotland. The London trip (run jointly with English, History and Politics) takes in shows in the West End and at other major venues, plus an in-depth tour of the Globe with workshops on Elizabethan costume and stage fighting. The equally popular Stratford trip gives students the opportunity to experience world-class performances and backstage tours with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Productions seen this year include:
The Crucible at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Frankenstein at Perth Theatre
An Inspector Calls at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre, London
Richard III at the Globe, London
The Rocky Horror Show at Edinburgh Playhouse
Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) at Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
The Woman in Black at King’s Theatre, Glasgow
The hotly-contested annual House Drama competition is a highlight of Lent term. Uniquely in the College's calendar of Drama events, this one calls on students' talents in acting for the camera. The seven Houses compete for glory by making a film, each of which must interpret a given theme and feature every single member of the House. Students use ingenuity, creativity and team spirit to fulfil the brief, with often hilarious results. In recent years, students have risen to the challenge of re-enacting scenes and trailers from the Harry Potter films, classic Hollywood movies and, perhaps most ambitiously, James Bond favourites. The Saturday evening showing is a lively whole-College event, with a panel of expert judges deciding the winner.