Art and Design
The Art and Design Department is a lively, popular and creative hub within Monkton.
The study of art is a journey of exploration and our aim is to undertake projects that stretch the appreciation and understanding of the aesthetic, technical and conceptual aspects of art. Students undertake a programme that covers many diagnostic processes as they write and develop their own projects and interests in the subject.
The department is based around a studio system rather than classrooms, where each student can use any area of the building to suit their needs.
We regularly have talks by visiting artists, workshops for different year groups and have artists in residence who provide a great inspiration to the pupils and work with them on projects such as our collaborative community piece of work that looked at climate change.
Faculty of Expressive Arts (Dance, Drama & Music)
The recent reshaping of Dance, Drama and Music (along with some elements of Media) into the Faculty of Expressive Arts has seen a new-found energy at the heart of Monkton’s artistic and creative life. In the Faculty, we look to celebrate all of the amazing student work which happens on a daily basis, as well as widen opportunity and participation, nurture artistic talent, and stretch the most able and talented.
Monkton’s annual EMART Awards perhaps best encapsulate the heart of the Faculty. The black-tie Oscars-style evening to which musicians, actors, technicians and dancers are invited, contains the obligatory round-table meal, nominees for ‘best composer’/ 'best GCSE actor’ etc, gold envelopes, performances from leading Monkton lights, a guest of honour, drum rolls, and a fantastic opportunity for all students to share in the joy of being a creative and expressive artist!
For some students, Monkton is their Abbey Road, for others it is their National Theatre, for others, their Pineapple Studios. All of the staff in the faculty aim to make Monkton students feel that the air fizzes with creative and expressive opportunities - whether it’s writing a song, performing a monologue, being a stage manager in a large-scale production, playing jigs with the Ceilidh Band, or singing evensong at Salisbury Cathedral, there’s an artistic space for everyone in Monkton’s Faculty of Expressive Arts.
There are so many opportunities to get involved in Drama at Monkton, from small-scale, informal monologue performances at LAMDA Live! through to our lavish Senior Productions and Production 9:10 shows. Whether students want to perform on-stage or support shows through backstage design, props, lighting, sound etc., there is a place for all to utilise and develop their skills and passion to ‘tell a story’.
Monkton students have produced amazing performances over recent years, in an incredible range of styles and formats. Highlights have included large-scale shows such as Treasure Island, School of Rock and Chicago, and our ever-popular outdoor summer series of Shakespeare productions, Wild Shakespeare. Monkton has also witnessed events where the school has truly lived by its mantra of ‘thinking differently’. As well as the recent multi-venue theatrical experience of A Christmas Carol in which the audience promenaded around the school site watching scenes in whichever order they wanted, the 2023 Senior Production is a complete first - a ‘live’ bespoke radio play featuring actors and a large audio tech team, watched and listened to by an audience on 200 sets of bluetooth headphones! And the programme for the show is not printed on paper, but emailed to ticket-holders as an e-programme, packed with behind-the-scenes films edited by media students.
In addition to the large-scale productions, there are termly informal LAMDA Live! showcases where students perform anything and everything from self-penned monologues to Musical Theatre songs to business presentations!
We aim to provide a wealth of opportunity, a breadth of participation, and a target of excellence. Monkton Drama has around 20 Drama Scholars whose Excellence Programme has allowed them to work with actors such as Wilf Scolding (Star Wars, Game of Thrones), leading theatre companies such as Complicité, and visit Bath Spa TV and Film Studios and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Whether an aspiring Year 9 actor or one of our National Youth Theatre Year 13s actors, there’s a space for all in Monkton Drama.
Here are some video examples of our previous performances:
Take a look at some of our recent productions at the Senior School!
Monkton wouldn’t be Monkton without its musicians. There is a vast range of music-making which happens throughout the year, from the smallest events such as the informal lunchtime Studio 1@1 gigs through to the outdoor Longmead Music Festival performed on a Glastonbury-sized stage. Monkton’s Music Department has opportunity at the centre of its philosophy - our pianists perform at Open Morning lunches, our string players play for the Burns Night Ceilidh dance, our trumpeters are on-call for Remembrance Day, our composers record for theatre productions and the Longmead Festival, our singers wow us at both Band Night and Evensong services at St Paul’s Cathedral, London…the list goes on and on. As well as bespoke ensembles and performance events, our weekly rehearsals include Chapel Choir, a 50-piece orchestra, Jazz@Monkton (who recently performed at Disneyland Paris), a student-led Gospel Choir, a Wall of Sound band for new-rock players, and ‘event specials’ such as the Monkton Mallets, who performed on a set of tuned wine bottles last Christmas!
As well as breadth of opportunity for all and a constant drive to expand participation, Monkton Music Department always aims for excellence. The Music Department has, most innovatively, expanded its scholarship programme to include composers and music technologists - something which is very unusual at school level, but we know that passion and skill for music can be wider than ‘performance’ on exclusively analogue instruments! Monkton’s superb recording facilities (including Studio 1, a podcast studio, drum studio, a vocal booth, main control room, and the ability to record from the exquisite Bowerman Hall) allows all who have a passion to explore music technology to a high level - there are weekly sessions for studio tech and song-writing. Whether working with aspiring musicians in Year 9 or our departing Year 13s (many of whom have gone onto study at some of the UK’s leading institutions - Trinity College London, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Surrey University), Monkton’s Music Department is a place fizzing with opportunity and learning.
Videos from our Music Department - subscribe to their YouTube Channel
Monkton has many recordings on its Soundcloud account, which is regularly updated, why not pay it a visit!
Images from some recent music events at the Senior School
Monkton’s Dance Department has developed over recent years. Headed up by a Royal Academy of Dance specialist, Monkton has been attracting a growing number of Dance Scholars. There are weekly Dance Troupe rehearsals, and dance and movement is featuring in a growing number of events and performances, from a recent multi-national dance spectacle at Prize Giving to stunning solo dances at last year’s EMART Awards (Monkton’s equivalent of the Oscars Ceremony). It has also been a great pleasure to recently welcome professional dancers to Monkton to assist our dancers in workshops, including Sam Haughton (School of Rock World Tour) and Dylan Mason (Sound of Music West End).