Blackfriars, an ancient Dominican refectory, is the home of the Art Department. This historic building is the powerhouse behind a host of artistic disciplines: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and textile design. There are two multi-purpose studios and a textile studio, the ‘Cleary Gallery’ for hosting exhibitions, and a departmental library/tutorial room.
Notable former pupils include the sculptor Henry Weekes (KS 1816-22), and the ceramicist Edmund de Waal (KS 1977-81) who in 2012 opened the state-of-the-art photography and pottery studios on nearby King Street. This consists of a ceramics studio, with plaster and sculpture area and kiln room, and a photography studio with digital suite, full film processing and dark room facilities.
Art and Design is taken by all Shell pupils. It is an optional subject at GCSE, where there is a choice between Art & Design or Photography courses. At A Level pupils can also choose between Art & Design or Photography.
The proximity of Canterbury to both London and Paris permits regular visits to art galleries and museums.
In recent years the Department has operated an Artist-in-Residence scheme, which gives an insight into the working methods of professional practitioners.
Director of Art: Mrs Isobel Dutton
The Drama department finds its home in The Malthouse, a converted Victorian building which holds a 334-seat theatre, drama and dance studios and state-of-the-art dressing rooms. Newly opened by Joanna Lumley OBE, FRGS in 2019, the facility is described as better than those in professional environments by the Absolutely Fabulous actress, and allows King’s pupils to grow their confidence and fully explore the Performing Arts.
Shells follow a half year compulsory programme of Drama lessons which leads to the IGCSE option of Drama in the Remove and Fifth Form years. In the Sixth Form Theatre Studies is offered as an AS and A level option.
The development of presentation skills, co-operation and team work lies at the heart of the IGCSE curriculum. Pupils learn through preparation of devised pieces and through performance of scripted extracts. Their analysis of theatre is assessed through an end of course written examination. Study in the Sixth Form builds on the skills previously acquired. Although an IGCSE in Drama is not a pre-requisite for A Level study, a passion for theatre is necessary as the course looks in detail at the practice of theatre from the viewpoint of an actor, a director and a designer. Performance is central to the 6b year, while a director’s eye is developed through devised work in the 6a year. The course culminates in a written paper which focuses on the study of a prescribed text and conditions of period drama production.
Director of Drama:
Mrs Rebekah Beattie
Academic Music is taught in the Edred Wright Music School.
Many former pupils have pursued a successful music career: Stephen Barlow (KS 1968-72), Harry Christophers (KS 1967-72) and Christopher Seaman (KS 1955-60) conductors, Michael Law (KS 1973-78) founder of The Picadilly Dance Orchestra, and Stephen Varcoe (KS 1963-67) classical bass-baritone singer and Sacha Skarbek (KS 1985-90) double Ivor Novello award winning songwriter and record producer.
Pupils in the Shell year follow a music appreciation course. Music is then offered as both a GCSE and A Level subject, with Music Technology also being taught at A Level.
Music plays a prominent part in the co-curricular life of the school through a variety of orchestras and choirs.
Overseas tours feature regularly: The Crypt Choir and Chamber Orchestra travelled to Rome in October 2017.
In addition to the information on the school website, the Music Department maintains its own website at The King’s Music School.
Director of Music:
Mr Will Bersey