Why Choose The Performance School, Impington?
"I would like to ask whether in December I could come and help in any way for the Christmas Show? I am sure everyone of us old lot would love to come back to help...We miss it all very much...I know this because we all often reflect, and think of how amazing those two years were, so thank you!" - from an email written by a former student now training as a singer inCanterbury, October 2011
"Last night's exit show was a truly inspired piece of work. The programme was very brave and so clever. It really highlighted the enormous range of performance work...Many congratulations for getting such young people to achieve so much. I know [my son] will never forget his 6th form drama!"
- from a parent's email on the Exit Show 2011
" The discipline and commitment demonstrated by the company enabled your production to make the leap from good to outstanding, from amateur to professional standard. This commitment was evident in every performer.... it was an utterly captivating production... I thought that the cast were lovely. They were professional and had such passion for the play and for performance. Moreover, everyone was incredibly supportive of the other schools...You showed us what great art is all about. " - from an email written by the Festival Co-ordinator for the UK wide Shakespeare Schools Festival (the email is addressed to the student director of Impington Performance School's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', November 2010)
Ten Top Reasons
1. Examination results are repeatedly 'outstanding'
This year 100% of students taking A Levels in Drama and Performing Arts scored A* - C.. An average of 60% of the grades across the subjects were A*-A, and in Drama no student scored lower than a B, which has been the case for two years running. For IB the majority of students scored between a 7 and 5, equivalent of A* -C. Students also scored on average two grades higher than their ALIS predictions, the national test taken at the start of Year 12 to forecast students' results.
2. The quality of teaching is excellent
Our permanent staff complement one another with their skills, qualifications and experience. Some of our teachers have trained and worked professionally all over the world as acclaimed musicians, actors and dancers. Many have taught locally at prestigious private institutions as freelancers. Sixth form lessons within the Performance Faculty have been formally judged as 'outstanding'. Practitioners from local schools and international partner schools have come to observe teachers in the Performance Faculty, and repeatedly comment on their 'inspirational' qualities.
3. Opportunities to perform are prolific and varied
In the past two years, a peer directed sixth form drama company have performed Shakespeare at the Junction, Cambridge, and Menagerie Theatre Company has used our student actors for professional new play readings at this venue. Impington Youth Theatre has also just been solely selected from hundreds of other entries to represent arts across the country in a dance-drama performance at a major conference at the Birmingham ICC. Impington's resident Dance Artist – also the Dance Development Coordinator for Cambridgeshire - has taken students to perform at the Southbank Centre, and connects us directly with DanceEast and Dance Offensive, with whom she works. The ultimate sixth form experience is the annual Exit Show, when awards such as the Gillespie Trophy are given, and every student celebrates their achievements on stage.
4. There are strong links with the Performing Arts industry
We have regular visits from professionals working within the industry. In the past few weeks alone these have included Christopher Lane (Butoh Theatre specialist and theatre director); Lizzie Franklin (internationally acclaimed musical theatre performer currently in national tour of 'Dirty Dancing') and Julie Bristow (former assistant director of 'Les Miserables' in the West-End). Former students who have recently visited the College to give workshops and talks include Nikki Trow ('X Factor' choreographer); Leanne Jones (star of the original cast of 'Hairspray' in the West End); Cathy Marston (director of Bern Ballet and first associate artist of the Royal Opera House); Adam Galbraith (dancer in Matthew Bourne's Education Company); Martin Richardson (title role in the new feature film ‘Superman: Requiem’); Kimball Wong (dancer in Australian Dance Theatre and for Michael Clark); and Christopher Hawes (founder of commedia dell' arte company Slingshot Theatre). Other visiting artists include Sir Ian McKellan (who described our work as 'outstanding'); Richard Alston (world renowned choreographer); Lorena Randi and Tom Dale (nationally acclaimed freelance choreographers); Gerard Murphy (leading actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company); Craig Mather (currently playing Marius in the West End's 'Les Miserables'); Daniel Wright (dancer currently touring Bourne’s ‘The Nutcracker’) and Neil Jones (star of BBC TV's 'Take a Girl Like You'). We have also recently hosted the London Mozart Players and Wayne McGregor's Random Dance Company, with whom the students performed.
5. Working relationships with staff are supportive and personalised, extending learning beyond the timetable.
Our smaller size - as well as our compassionate outlook on what it means to be an artist - allows us to see each student within the Performance School as an individual with unique talents and areas for development. Students and their parents often show appreciation for the way teachers are happy to give one-on-one tuition or guidance for specific projects and artistic aims our young people might have. Those with particular needs are offered tailored support and care. Staff are constantly working with students during holidays and at weekends. We take theatre trips throughout the year, exposing our students to a rich tapestry of performance work from Frantic Assembly's 'Lovesong' to 'Hamlet' at the Royal National Theatre, when students got to meet the star himself, a friend of the Faculty Leader. Other recent trips include 'Top Girls' and 'Grease' in London's West End; 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' and 'Romeo and Juliet' at Shakespeare's Globe; Phoenix Dance Theatre at the Junction; 'Woyzeck' at the Oxford Playhouse; and the controversial 'Blackbird' at Norwich Playhouse.
6. Peer relations show a great sense of camaraderie and fun
Just speak to one of our students, and they will tell you how close they are to one another, regardless of differences in background, artistic interests, gender, class, religion or ability. Our students respect each other and celebrate the fact that each one of them is different: they allow one another to find and be themselves. It is wonderful to behold how strong their friendships are within the arts. Indeed, students tend to always leave Year 13 in tears, because they know how much they will miss that unforgettable sense of 'belonging' and 'togetherness' that their arts experiences have fostered!
7. We provide a pathway to further top-flight training in the arts
Former students of the Performance School are currently training at The Place (London Contemporary); Northern Contemporary; Laban; Arts Educational; Millenium; LIPA; Drama Centre, London; National Youth Theatre; plus Drama or Musical Theatre degrees at universities in Dublin, Oxford, Manchester, Middlesex, Hull, London and York. Former students have also recently graduated from Guildford School of Acting; Mountview Theatre School; Rose Bruford, East 15 and London Studio Centre.
8. There are a range of inventive spaces for performance
Our sixth formers have in the past year performed everywhere from Histon Infants School to the woods at the back of the College field! For a more intimate experience students move between the sprung floor of the Dance Studio; to the Brackenbury Recital Room; to 'Black Comedy', our black-box drama studio. Every year, three major productions are staged in the Gropius Hall (a listed building) with first-class sound and lighting equipment that allows the space to work in traverse as well as with its proscenium arch stage; these productions attract audiences of 280 per night, and combine the commercial with the abstract, and the classic with the contemporary. We love transforming the College facilities into immersive theatre spaces and often use film projection as part of this, with the help of our professional technician.
9. Experiences offered to develop teaching skills are rewarding
We are also very proud of our arts students within the main school, with an average of 80% of our Expressive Arts, Music and Drama GCSE students attaining A*-A grades last year. Many of our sixth form students choose to include younger students within their choreographic work. Some sixth formers hugely value opportunities to run workshops or drama clubs with keen students from Years 7 - 11; their achievements here can then become invaluable points on their CVs in later life!
10. It is the place to be if you are passionate about the arts
Every single person connected with the Performance School at Impington - student, teacher, artist or technician - has one thing in common: we all care deeply about what we do, and the place we have chosen to do it. We love it. It's a calling. We feel compelled to be here. Which is why we find it hard to understand...why would you want to be anywhere else?
Let Impington Choose You...