The school has a music programme that ensures that all middle school students become musically literate and learn to play a woodwind, brass or stringed instrument, so a whole secondary school full of competent musicians is always going to produce something extraordinary. This year’s production was certainly no exception to which anyone from the sold-out audiences will attest.
Why are productions like this so important for schools? Firstly, they bring together students from a range of year groups to work together and to work with parents and teachers – this may be a student’s first experience of having to do this, and in itself this alters perspectives. A show demands discipline over many weeks – school lessons do not stop because of the additional responsibilities.
Cooperation and teamwork are vital to any production, and in turn this develops compassion and empathy as well as experience of relating to others in high-stress situations. Of course, learning all those words, stage movements, songs and choreographed dance steps places demands upon mind and body that are unique to each performance. Students grow with confidence as a result, and this spills over into all aspects of their lives. Talents emerge and are nurtured, and I am always amazed at the wealth of talent of the students at BISP, arguably the result of mandatory mainstream curriculum subjects like drama and music supported by external examinations from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
And so to performance – the ability to remember everything that has been taught, to rely absolutely upon others doing their job, to respond to audiences scrutinising every move.
It was truly a great privilege to witness such wonderful performances, not least because of the genuine joy that was shared between the audience and performers. And there we have it – joy! More than anything else this will ensure that all the lessons learned will remain with the casts – and the memories will last a lifetime. This is education writ large. This is what makes my profession so privileged.
The production was live-streamed (courtesy of the student’s Bistek Academy) so it was truly a global event, but each student, no matter how big the part or how humble the supporting role, was united in a night to remember, each as important as the other in ensuring that the show was a great success. Kudos to the BISP teachers who worked tirelessly as well. They were with the students every step of the journey and to them we owe our heartfelt thanks, not only for a wonderful night of entertainment, but for their dedication to the future lives of our young people. A simple thank you just does not do justice to their commitment, but it is all I have to offer everyone, a simple thank you on behalf of us all.
– Neil Richards
Neil Richards is the Headmaster at British International School, Phuket. For more information, visit them at www.bisphuket.ac.th or call +66 (0) 76 335 555.