Throughout the world this year, the Arts have supported so many people through long lockdowns as we have turned to art, drama and music for entertainment and its profound mental health benefits. Here at BISP, we have worked with many restrictions which have impacted the delivery of practical subjects and yet have seen some amazing results from students across the whole school, which we hope have brought a smile to parents and students alike.
In Visual Arts this year the children have produced some wonderful artwork. Students as young as five have been immersed in our art programme, learning how to make art in a variety of media and exploring the methods of different artists. We have completed projects using screen print, linocut, painting, collage, drawing, 3D printer, digital painting, sculpture, etching and ceramics. In a year that has been fraught with challenges, we have been so impressed with the quality of artwork that has been produced both online and in the classroom.
As a whole school we came together for Dot Week, creating a beautiful display in the Primary library, and also in our Anthony Gormley project, where many students created their own sculpture from clay and contributed to a whole school installation.
In IGCSE, students continue to strive for excellence and every year we are amazed by their talent and skill. We started the year by exhibiting the work of our 2020 cohort in an awards assembly. In IB, we were lucky enough to hold a physical exhibition this year for Year 13. This was a fantastic end to the two-year course. The work was so varied and unique to each student and we were very excited to welcome Kanjana Khumcruth to open the exhibition – a Phuket-based and well-known artist in Thailand.
Our community outreach projects have this year seen our older CAS students working with the Asia Center Foundation to run a weekly art class for underprivileged children in the local area. Our younger students worked with Soi Dogs to raise much-needed funds by marketing and selling their art prints made in class. At the start of the year, the PTA auctioned a number of student artworks to raise money to help Phuket through the pandemic.
Students have enjoyed after school activities, including Pottery and Art Academy, where they engaged in a travelling art project that had reached five different schools and finally made its way to us in Phuket. This gave the students the opportunity to add to someone else’s ideas and make them their own.
In Performing Arts we have enjoyed two wonderful musicals – Elf the Musical in Term 1 and Peter Pan in Term 2. As on several previous occasions, we used a dual main roles cast in Secondary productions and with interesting results A wild and bouncy Elf from KS3 compared to a more reflective Year 12 Elf wowed the audience, while both students who played Jovie displayed amazing poise and vocal expertise. The supporting cast gave the audience (both in-person and at home) a wonderfully vibrant performance that really brought the Christmas spirit to BISP. Our KS2 cast for Peter Pan was a particularly dedicated group of students who really worked hard from Day One and took the production very seriously with just a hint of mischief. There are definitely some strong characters to look out for as they move into Secondary School. Once again it was fantastic to have a live band for both productions, with thanks to Mr Wilkinson for bringing the Peter Pan score alive.
As the world moved online so did all music examination platforms and our students successfully negotiated the video recording process for both Rock School and ABRSM exams with several students obtaining the highest marks. All these students should be congratulated not just for their Merits and Distinctions but for their dedication to learning an instrument that requires excellent time management skills.
Classroom Music across Primary and Secondary has been impacted by many Covid-19 restrictions with mask protocols at times making singing and the playing of wind instruments impossible, but we have found alternatives and jumped into action as soon as a vocal performance opportunity was identified. Each Primary year group choir recorded their Christmas songs and again at Songkran, we celebrated their stunning singing in performances recorded around the Primary School. Year 6 graduated to Secondary school with a bang this year as they performed a chair drumming piece recorded in socially distanced conditions – well done Year 6, that was not easy! Our KS3 musicians all filmed some wonderful outdoor performances of Christmas music and videos which showcased not only their wonderful music-making but the fabulous grounds and facilities of the BISP campus.
Once again, we submitted recordings for the IB Virtual Conference and again both submissions were accepted. Ryan Foedisch gave a moodily-shot jazz performance, while the Secondary Orchestra and Singers were joined by Years 5 and 6 to perform Ms Baker’s skilled arrangement of the viral Tik Tok sea shanty – The Wellerman. The Primary students really gave their all to their singing and it brought the performance to life and made the Secondary students try even harder. Many positive comments were posted on the IB conference page.
In Drama, KS1 students have grown in confidence this year through a variety of challenging drama games and character-based activities using short stories and poems. Year 1 students have learnt basic drama techniques such as freeze frame, bringing characters to life, mime, mirroring and physical theatre. Year 2 students have continued to develop their drama skills in lessons in a variety of activities. At the end of Term 1, they went on to participate in the school’s in-house’ LAMDA-style speaking examinations in which they worked incredibly hard whilst having a lot of fun of course. I am very proud of each and every one of them for conquering their fear of entering an exam room and performing to a stranger. They all passed with distinction which is an incredible achievement.
Both year groups ended Term 3 by creating stick puppets in our new Maker Space in the library in order to perform Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. This was filmed in front of a green screen on an iPad and together they edited it. It has been a thoroughly creative and rewarding year and the enthusiasm of the students has been phenomenal.
KS3 have had a fantastic year developing their Drama skills for performance, including Year 7 performing The Gruffalo, Year 8 presenting silent movies and Year 9 delving into the scheme of work, Madness. They have all taken a LAMDA examination in public speaking which in the given circumstances, has been an amazing achievement for all students. We even had a Year 7 student receive 100% for his exam which is quite an achievement, well done Mammoth!
In KS4/5 students have been developing skills in improvisation, directing and creating pieces of work to a stimulus and using many different production element techniques. Year 10 have worked on monologue and group scripted performances and Year 12 have started working on their solo performance coursework based on theatre practitioners. The work created in KS4/5 has been creative, original and diverse. They have also achieved their LAMDA Acting exam and the results were brilliant. A huge well done to students, especially after performing online rather than to a person in the exam room.
The Drama department hosted its first Shakespeare Festival, which included performances from Year 7 to Year 13. It was performed outside in the amphitheatre and was a relaxed and fun evening enjoyed by many. This was an event that had been planned for some time, so it was great to finally see it come to fruition. We are keeping our fingers crossed for in house performances and workshops next year as hopefully the world slowly returns to normal.
So as this challenging academic year draws to a close, we can see that the creative arts at BISP have not only kept going but have adapted to the situation and given opportunities to our students in so many ways. Thank you all for your support of our programme.