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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 an extensive co-curricular programme, ensure that creativity, community and enjoyment lie at the heart of the Tiffin experience.

There are exceptional opportunities for involvement beyond the classroom in the Performing Arts. Visit the websites of the Tiffin Music Department, Tiffin Boys Choir and Thames Youth Orchestra to find out more.


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 wide range of co-curricular opportunities. Each year, Tiffin musicians typically present more than fifty performances, ranging from concerts of major choral and orchestral works (recently including Bach St. John Passion and Mendelssohn Elijah), to chamber music recitals, jazz evenings and music theatre. Visit the introductory, news, performance, and media pages of the Tiffin Music Tiffin Music site for the latest news and media.


All Tiffin Year 7 boys sing from their first day at school: it is quite usual for members of the rugby team also to be in the choir. In their first year, each boy will compete in the Year 7 Inter-Form Singing and House Singing Competitions, perform the Year 7 Jazz Cantata - the finale to the School Concert, and many will sing their first major choral work as members of the Tiffin Oratorio and Tiffin Boys’ Choirs.

The Tiffin Boys’ Choir

Since its foundation in 1957, the Tiffin Boys’ Choir is one of the few state school choirs to have been continually at the forefront of the choral music scene in Britain. The choir has performed with all of the London orchestras (recently the LSO, Philharmonia and BBCSO), in Royal Opera House productions (recently La Bohème and Tosca), on national radio and on television (BBC, ITV and Classic FM) and on film soundtracks (including Philomena and The Hobbit). The choir gives regular concerts in London and tours annually (destinations have included Australia, China, Russia, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain). It has an extensive, Grammy-nominated discography (including Mahler 8/Tennstedt, Puccini Il Trittico/Pappano, Britten Billy Budd/Hickox and Britten War Requiem/Masur).

The Tiffin Chamber Choir

Tiffin's most senior singers are members of the Tiffin Chamber Choir, which welcomes Y12-13 sopranos and altos, alongside Y11-13 countertenors, tenors and basses. Formed in 2019, when girls were first welcomed to Tiffin School sixth form, in its first year the choir performed at the Royal Festival Hall with the Steve Reich Ensemble, on CD from Merton College Oxford, and on stage with Emma Thompson at the launch of her blockbuster film Last Christmas.

The Tiffin Oratorio Choir

Tiffin Oratorio Choir is formed of over 200 pupils, parents, staff, alumni and other members of the local community. Open to all, the choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings (7-9pm, School Hall) during the Autumn Term, to prepare a concert given in November with professional orchestra and soloists. Each year, more than a quarter of Year 7 pupils join this choir, rehearsing at lunchtimes and joining the main choir a few weeks before the performance. The choir welcomes new members: please contact the Director of Choral Music, James Day for more details.

The Tiffin Children’s Chorus

Tiffin Children’s Chorus is formed of over 80 girls and boys aged 8-16 from schools across Kingston. Open to all, the choir rehearses on Mondays from 4pm at Tiffin School. Tiffin Children’s Chorus regularly performs not only with the Tiffin Boys’ Choir and Oratorio Choir, but also at other events across the borough, recently including The Rose Theatre Christmas Concert, Kingston Arts’ Festival of the Voice and the Royal Opera House production of La Boheme. The choir welcomes new members: please contact the Director of the Children’s Chorus,Sian Cadogan for more details.


At Tiffin, over 400 pupils learn to play a musical instrument. Taught by a team of 25 visiting music staff, individual music lessons are available on all woodwind, brass, string and keyboard instruments.

Instrumental Ensembles

Every week, a wide range of instrumental ensembles rehearse in the music department. For each instrumentalist, whatever their interest or ability, there is an ensemble for them. Tiffin instrumentalists are given the opportunity to join an Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Band, Concert Band, Swing Band, String Orchestra, Jazz Combo, Guitar Ensemble, Rock Bands and other wind, brass and string chamber groups. Tiffin instrumental ensembles perform a wide variety of challenging works, recently including symphonies by Dvorak, Beethoven and Haydn, concertos by Bach, Vivaldi and Corelli, jazz standards by Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Louis Prima, as well as film, musical theatre and pop arrangements. To join an ensemble, pupils should simply attend the next rehearsal. More details of the times, locations and standard required can be found on the music rehearsals timetable.

Thames Youth Orchestra and Thames Youth Jazz Orchestra

TYO and TYJO, founded at Tiffin School and Tiffin Girls’ School in 2005, now have a membership of over 80 players from 18 local schools. Many Tiffin instrumentalists audition to join these ensembles which perform at venues around London and on tour across Europe. Evening rehearsals take place on Mondays (TYO, Tiffin Girls’ School) and Fridays (TYJO, Tiffin School).

Music Alumni

Following their involvement in music at Tiffin, an exceptional number of pupils have won music scholarships to study a wide range of subjects at Cambridge, Oxford and other Russell Group universities. In recent years, Tiffinians have been awarded organ and choral scholarships to sing with the choirs of Clare, Emmanuel, Jesus, King’s, St. John’s, Trinity and Queen’s colleges in Cambridge, and Exeter, LMH, Magdalen, Oriel and Queen’s colleges in Oxford.

Friends of Tiffin Music

You are encouraged to join the Friends of Tiffin Music (FoTM) to support the work of the music department. For more information on how to join, please click here: information.

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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. We take students to see a wide range of productions every year to engage them in the experience of live theatre; past 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 pupils to mix with different year groups. Productions typically alternate between plays and musicals with past productions including ‘Oliver!’, ‘Richard III’, ‘Les Miserables’, ‘The Madness of King George’, ‘Sweeney Todd’, ‘The Government Inspector’ and ‘West Side Story’. 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 pupils an opportunity to approach the challenges of learning scripts and engaging with an audience. Past productions include ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Lord of the Flies’ and ‘Animal Farm’. Additionally, a Sixth Form studio production was introduced 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.

Students are encouraged to stage their own productions which, in recent years, have included ‘Office Hours’, ‘The History Boys’ and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Alongside the many pupils who enjoy acting, many more become involved in drama at Tiffin as technicians: planning, preparing and operating the sets, sound and lighting in productions each year. A lower school drama club encourages budding young performers, including those 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 plays an important part within the House System, with an annual House Drama competition in which pupils write and direct their own original work to be judged by an external adjudicator. This is a fantastic event and again encourages pupils from all year groups to get involved.

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OFSTED 2011-12 Language College Arts College International School Award Arkwright