At KIS we believe that learning is organic and expansive; active rather than passive.
Our aim is to create an environment where learning is a natural, continuous process that goes far beyond the walls of a classroom. Drama is one of the most powerful programs at KIS that has proved to be highly beneficial to the students in multiple ways. We do not see it as a mere extracurricular activity and instead use it as an important tool to instill some of the most fundamental life-skills in our students. Drama provides a fun and enjoyable means of learning while breaking the monotony of purely academic classroom education.
As part of our interdisciplinary approach towards knowledge we see the theatre stage as an extremely powerful space for engagement and interaction. Effective communication and expression are some of the key skills that the students develop while they learn to find ways to tell a story confidently in front of people. The KIS drama instructors are outstanding theatre persons who blend both performance and learning through experience based lesson plans which stay with the students throughout their lives. The aim is to provide students with resources which they can use in whichever fields of work they later on chose to associate with.
The KIS drama space called The Box is that safe space for students where they can be who they want to be, take risks and learn from their mistakes. During their drama classes students cast aside their inhibitions and bond with their peers in a way that no other medium is capable of replicating. While preparing for the annual productions, which involve students from different grades, participants break their intergenerational barriers and work towards one goal of creating something spectacular together. The KIS annual drama productions are the most anticipated events of the year. Unlike other schools in India, most of the work associated with the stage production is undertaken internally by our students and staff.
The drama department also organizes field trips for IBDP students to different parts of the country providing them a first hand experience in observing and learning various performing arts from the masters. Our students visit the renowned Kathakali performers in Kerala every year. Students receive masterclass guidance and knowledge of performing techniques, insights into the world of culture, literature and drama.
Drama in Middle Years Program
At the MYP level, students from Grades 9-10 chose between the drama or the visual arts course as part of the larger Arts program. The main fields of focus are confidence building, expression and creativity. Students learn to convey feelings, experiences and ideas while creating and performing monologues and scenes. Students learn to write their own stories as scripts and go on to perform them developing basic skills of diction, projection, expression and movement. Most of the work is based on popular youth literature, including Willy Wonka, The Outsiders, Holes, The last Airbender, which the students are mostly familiar with. A typical class at this level starts with vocal warm up, an improvisation game and work on performance assignments. The IB MYP drama program is oriented towards stimulating young minds, challenging perceptions and developing creative and analytical skills.
IB Diploma Program (Theatre)
The Theatre course of the IB Diploma Program provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich field of drama, learning a plethora of avenues ranging from writing and design to direction and performance. This is an advanced level rigorous course which students who are already aware of basic performance skills enrol for. The course builds on students’ confidence, expression and creativity, but also involves hands-on research into Kathakali and Master Directors. Skills of research and theoretical learning blend into one as students enjoy experiential learning at its best. In the process, they also learn in a truly memorable way about their world, community and themselves. The course encourages students to engage in intense self-reflection which also creates a sense of empathy towards others.
Besides those students who want to make a career in performance and acting, some of the skills taught during the course are also very beneficial for those who chose to study law, politics, psychology, business and marketing. Each semester is focused on a different project and students are assessed on the basis of these projects. Our theater students emerge as truly internationally-minded young people with a clear understanding of their own cultural worldview and a spectrum of theatrical practices and movements.
Our students showcase their exceptional talent in the annual productions which leave spectators spellbound. KIS students have a tradition of producing high level theatrical performances. Unlike other boarding schools in India, we produce our performances in-house through our drama department. The musical element of the show is supported by the music department, who provide orchestra for the production. Students themselves take care of the light and sound operations. While there is emphasis on the quality of performance, this is also seen as an opportunity to give maximum students a chance to perform. Even the younger Primary Years’ Program students and staff members can audition for the annual musical.
There are a total of four, different kinds of performances in a regular year.
- Fall Musical - This is an all school full scale musical production where students from any grade and faculty members can audition for. There are 70 to 100 actors in one production. Some of the titles have included Shrek, Fiddler on the Roof, Wizard of Oz and The Music Man.
- Spring Comedy or Drama - Students from Grades 9 to 12 can participate in a youth appropriate comedy or drama. Titles have included Holes, Lord of the Flies, Almost Maine and Peter and the Starcatcher.
- IB Team Showcase - IBDP students (Grades 11 and 12) create short pieces in teams based upon a shared experience and perform for an intimate invited audience.
- IB Solo Showcase - IBDP students (Grades 11 and 12) create a solo piece based on individual research and perform for an invited audience.
The making of the High School Musical, Jr in pictures