Everyone’s a star at Dame B’s, whether they draw, paint, sing, dance, act – or all of the above. That would be most of our children.
Art starts in the Kindergarten, where our youngest pupils prepare a group mural and produce self-portraits. They also exhibit in the annual Art Exhibition week, which features work from every pupil in the school. You’ll see everything from wildlife paintings to Aztec masks, cross-stitch samplers and Henry Moore-style sculptures. We hold an Open Day during the week, so prospective parents can see what sort of art their child could be producing in the years to come.
Music also ripples through the school, from group singing in the early years to full-blown concerts in the prep. Our instrumental groups, choir and orchestra perform at our Ensemble Concert in March, while soloists take the stage in our At Home Concert in May.
Every year, our chamber choir performs at the Spirit of Christmas concert in St Mary’s Church, which involves local primary schools and the Saffron Walden Choral Society. The Wind Band Day at King’s Ely School is another favourite among budding musicians. And Years 5 and 6 have performed at the Royal Albert Hall for Barnardo’s.
Drama is a big pleasure, with four annual plays in the limelight.
By Year 4, the Christmas play means lots of lines to learn, tongue-twisting songs and more solos. Think Oliver!, Jungle Book and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
For Year 6, the grand finale is the Summer play. It’s always ambitious – We’ll Meet Again, Robin Hood and Godspell are examples – and always fun. This is as much a social event as a production, with parents, staff and former pupils returning to applaud.
Choreography features strongly in Year 4 and Year 6 plays, which is not surprising, given the strength of dance lessons throughout the school. We introduce our children to the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and prepare them for exams and presentation classes.
Equally, children from Year 3 up can join the Speech and drama club and enter LAMDA exams.