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"An Exceptional Performing Arts College"

-OFSTED, November 2007


The Arts are central to life at Tiffin. The School’s ‘Arts College’ status refers to its excellence in provision of both teaching and wider opportunities: innovative teaching and learning styles, together with imaginative cross-curricular projects, ensure that creativity, community and enjoyment lie at the heart of the Tiffin experience.

There are exceptional opportunities for involvement beyond lesson time in the Performing Arts; websites for individual ensembles including the Tiffin Boys Choir and Thames Youth Orchestra.

A vital aspect of our mission as a school is creating opportunities for all, regardless of whether they attend Tiffin, and our outreach programme supports external groups and ensembles. The Thames Youth Orchestra is one of the leading youth orchestras in South West London with membership from over eighteen local schools; TYO has featured in BBC programmes, performed regularly at London's Cadogan Hall and played to full houses in venues across Europe. The Tiffin Children’s Chorus is open to boys and girls from the age of eight, and members of the chorus have the opportunity to sing and act in productions at the Royal Opera House. Every Autumn our Oratorio Choir (of over 200 singers) is open to all and performs a choral work with a leading orchestra: recently Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater and later this term, Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

A key part of our work is developing the arts throughout the Royal Borough of Kingston, especially through the school’s involvement in the Kingston Music Hub. Tiffin staff and students visit local schools, performing and leading lessons, rehearsals and workshops. We regularly commission work from leading composers for school choirs to perform together, and have undertaken important collaborative projects in Dance, with the Royal Ballet School amongst others.

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Music

Tiffin has a national reputation for exceptional music-making. Central to its success is an imaginative, popular and inclusive programme of classroom music lessons, which supports a large range of wider opportunities. The majority of the school (including the staff) plays a musical instrument, and individual instrumental lessons, delivered by over 25 peripatetic teachers, are popular.

Singing

All the boys sing from their first day at the school, and it is quite usual for rugby players to be in the choir. The first public event for Year 7 boys and their parents is an Inter-Form Choir Competition in October; later in the year they perform, together with the Boys Choir, a specially written jazz cantata on stage.

Opportunities for singing include a 250-strong Oratorio Choir (similar to a Choral Society), close harmony group The Tiffinians, House Singing ensembles, and the Tiffin Boys’ ChoirTiffin Boys’ Choir; the Boys’ Choir performs regularly at the Royal Opera House and at the major London concert halls, as well as touring abroad – most recently to Tallinn, St Petersburg and Milan.


Instrumental

There are many opportunities for instrumental players, and it is expected that every boy learning a musical instrument belongs to a musical ensemble. The ensembles belong to a structure which allows all students to belong to a group appropriate to their current level of technical ability as well as giving opportunities to progress to different ensembles.

Additional opportunities for chamber music, pop and rock groups, are provided by our enthusiastic team of instrumental teachers and sixth-form musicians. There is a large amount of informal music-making, with practice rooms available for booking before and after school. There are annual instrumental competitions in all the musical families, and there is a wide variety and number of concerts throughout the year.

At the top of the structure of instrumental ensembles is the Thames Youth Orchestra. Rehearsing on Monday evenings and involving around 85 players from 18 local schools, many Tiffin boys play in the orchestra, which gives the opportunity to play symphonic repertoire in full-length programmes in London and on tour.



Oratorio Choir

The Tiffin Oratorio Choir meets on Tuesday evenings (7.00 - 9.00pm, School Hall) during the Autumn Term, to prepare a concert given at the end of November with professional orchestra and soloists, conducted by James Day, Director of Choral Music. The choir consists of over 200 sopranos, altos, tenors and basses, who are current students of the school, staff, parents, friends and members of the local community, and are joined in the final week by 70 of the younger boys, who have rehearsed during the school day. The choir is accompanied by professional players from the Brandenburg Sinfonia. Recent years have seen the Oratorio perform Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater. The 2016 Oratorio is Mendelssohn's Elijah, to be performed in the school’s Sports Hall on Sunday 20th November at 7.00pm. Rehearsals begin on Wednesday 14th September.

For Friends of Tiffin Music click information

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Dance


A rarity amongst boys' schools, the teaching of dance in recent years has helped many Tiffinians to find new means of expression and develop their considerable natural talents. Not least of these is Nitesh Nagrath, whose choreography for "Impulse" saw him earn a National Young Choreographer award and have the piece performed by five Tiffin boys at the Royal Opera House in 2012. That performance can be watched in the video player above.

Curriculum

Once-fortnightly dance lessons are compulsory for years 7, 8 and 9. The curriculum is designed especially for boys and students learn to explore different dance styles and develop their own creative and choreographic works. They also have the chance to take part in dance workshops led by professional dancers at least once per year. Gifted and talented students are invited to join the Tiffin Junior Dance Company and will represent the school at different performance events, high profile projects and festivals.

To follow this, boys then have the opportunity to take on the subject at GCSE level. The course is 80% practical and broad in scope, covering four key aspects: Critical Appreciation, Set Dance, Performance and Choreography.

Further Opportunities

After completing their GCSE Dance course students are encouraged to continue to develop their passion for dance performance and choreography by auditioning and taking part in various schemes including the Centre of Advanced Training at Laban (non-residential, professional training programmes for young people aged 10 to 18 years who demonstrate exceptional potential in dance) and the Young Creatives choreographic competition at the Royal Opera House.

Tiffin Dance Company

Tiffin Dance Company is a group of dedicated year 10 and year 11 GCSE Dance students. Dancers meet once per week after school in addition to their GCSE dance lessons and produce high quality, innovative choreographies which later are performed at some of London's top Dance venues and Youth dance events.

To name but a few, in the past Tiffin Dance Company has performed at:
  • The National Youth Dance Festival
  • Ballet Russes Project with Random Dance Company at the Peacock Theatre
  • Sadler’s Wells
  • The Royal Ballet School
  • Laban

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Drama

Drama is an integral part of the Curriculum and Co-Curriculum at Tiffin. As a subject it is compulsory in Years 7 and 8 and an option in year 9, with both GCSE and A Level Drama available to our most enthusiastic dramatists, of which there are many with the current GCSE cohort totalling 100 students. We take students to see a wide range of productions every year to engage them in the experience of live theatre; recent trips have included The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, Macbeth, Constellations, War Horse, Timon of Athens, The Woman in Black and Jerusalem. We also offer workshops for boys and have been fortunate enough to work closely with The Bear Trap Theatre Company and The Rose Theatre. Drama at Tiffin does not end in the classroom, with a range of opportunities for pupils of all ages.

Every year we run a main school production which is open to students from year 7 to year 13 and is a perfect opportunity for boys to mix with different year groupsas well as girls we invite to auditon from Tiffin Girls School. We rotate the productions every year between plays and musicals and the most recent productions include William Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’, Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ and Gogol’s ‘The Government Inspector’. Alongside this we run a lower school production to give more opportunities for boys in Years 7, 8 and 9 to take centre stage. This has been incredibly successful and afforded the boys an opportunity to approach the challenges of learning script and engaging with an audience. In 2011 we produced a highly successful version of ‘The Lord of the Flies’ and in 2013 a production of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’.

In 2012 we introduced a Sixth Form studio production to the school, with a highly acclaimed production of Laura Wade’s ‘Posh’ a play that had only recently ended a hugely successful run in the West End and was greatly received here by students and parents alike. This term's Sixth Form Production is 'The Last Days of Judas Iscariot' by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Students are also encouraged to put on their own productions and in the last year we have seen productions of a very high standard from ‘The History Boys’ to ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. There are a number of boys who enjoy the technical aspects of production such as, Sound and Lighting and we encourage those boys to come forward and volunteer themselves for roles within the productions.

We also run a lower school drama club to encourage budding young performers and boys who perhaps lack the confidence of their peers and would like the opportunity to work in a relaxed and fun environment with like-minded individuals.

Drama also plays a part within the House System with an annual House Drama competition where the boys write and direct their own original work to be judged by an outside adjudicator. This is a fantastic event and again encourages boys from all year groups to get involved.

Drama is an established part of Tiffin life and is continuously expanding and evolving and we encourage all students to get involved in either the performance or technical aspects of the drama that is on offer at the school.

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OFSTED 2011-12 NPQH Language College Arts College CREST International School Award Arkwright EES