Moreton Hall is thrilled to have been shortlisted as Independent School of the Year in the Performing Arts category.

Launched in 2018, the awards highlight the excellence of the student experience in independent schools, and there is no doubt whatsoever that Moreton is demonstrating resilience and agility whilst delivering a first class educational experience to our pupils with transformative and innovative projects and programmes undertaken.

Commenting of the school’s nomination, Head of Drama Kate Howells enthused:

“To say we’re thrilled with this nomination would be an understatement. Drama and Performing Arts are at the heart of Moreton life and without it, Moreton wouldn’t be what it is today. I am proud of everything we achieve on a daily basis, especially in these unprecedented times. To be recognised for this, is just what the students need and deserve at the end of this term.”

The development of performing arts at Moreton has manifested in the creation of a £1.45 million Community Theatre, providing a cultural flagship extending arts, music and drama to surrounding areas. Whilst the theatre is physically closed as a result of COVID-19, Moreton’s spirit continues to shine and performing arts has transitioned into a new way of performing and sharing through Zoom and an initiative ‘Leave a Light On,’ has developed to support the wellbeing of students and community members, helping to relieve the impact of social distancing.

Innovation is a cornerstone of Moreton Hall as exemplified by last summer’s circus performance. Over a hectic ten days of preparation and rehearsals this homemade extravaganza, punctuating the story of a school runaway, featured all the traditions of the circus ring, complete with a striking big top!  It showed something special about Moreton: pupils of all years coming together under a single creative umbrella, acting, singing, dancing, costume-making and back-stage work. Jointly all these skills made up a unique and amazing show. Grainne and Matthew Dennison, who conceived, wrote and directed Moreton’s Circus, comment: “For us, the maverick traditions of circus performance – spirited, joyful misrule – fit so well with Moreton’s idiosyncratic heritage. In the Big Top, girls, teaching staff, groundsmen, family pets and local farm animals came together in a shared quirky vision.”

In addition, Moreton Hall is a destination of choice for vibrant and exciting Performing Arts across the community. The popularity of its Face2Face performance academy attracts over 70 budding actors and performers from the community aged nine to eighteen and offers performances in professional theatres, workshops with TV and theatre professionals and competitions. During lockdown workshops have been taken by leading West End professionals via Zoom.

The school is also a hub of musical excellence in the region offering instrumental ensembles for all ages and abilities and invites musicians to join county level ensembles: String and Woodwind, in addition to the School’s Orchestra. At a time of uncertainty regarding Music funding in education, they have a new creative arts programme ‘North Shropshire’s Big Sing’,  which has attracted over 300 external primary aged pupils to form a mass choir and work with specialist teachers learning vocal and breathing techniques, whilst enhancing key skills such as: literacy, numeracy and language.

Principal George Budd added: “This shortlisting recognises the incredible work done by our Music and Drama Departments, alongside other creatively minded staff, to produce and deliver performing arts opportunities of extraordinary range and quality, not only to Moreton pupils but also those from the local area. We are so proud to have been recognised in this way.”

The Independent Schools of the year judges will be meeting again at the end of summer to reach a decision on the winner of each category and results will be announced in October.