The creative arts encompass everything that is vibrant, dynamic and full of life. Intrinsically bound up with emotion, performance and communication, studying the creative arts enables deeper understanding of the world we live in and our response to it. Skills are developed in practical exposition and critical appreciation and are valuable both for personal satisfaction and in an enormous range of careers.

English, Drama, Art, Music and Food and Textiles Technologies are all offered as curriculum subjects through to Sixth Form. In addition, these departments offer extra-curricular clubs which allow many girls opportunities for developing their practical and performance skills.

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working" Pablo Picasso 

The Abbey Art Department places strong emphasis on giving the girls the skills to fulfil their ideas and creativity in visual form. Diversity and creativity are embraced and this ensures the pupils develop decision making and problem solving skills alongside practical art & design skills across a range of materials.  

Conceptual thinking and communicating ideas through art works is also emphasised and the pupils are encouraged to look extensively at the work of artists, designers and craftspeople to inform their own work and their cultural and contextual understanding.

The department offers a range of materials and processes including painting and drawing, mixed media, ceramics, printmaking and digital work, with excellent facilities and resources for these.

Students go on to study the visual arts on a variety of university courses including architecture, fine art, fashion and textiles, art foundation courses, interior design.

Senior School Art Flickr Gallery

Scholar's Story - Art

"The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life” – Stella Adler, actress and acting teacher

The Drama department is a dynamic environment in which girls develop an enduring passion for the subject. Drama is offered from Upper III – Upper VI (including at GCSE, A level and IB), taught by experienced and inspiring subject specialists with backgrounds in performance, direction and the study of theatre as an academic discipline, and girls are exposed to wide range of theatrical styles, genres, periods and practitioners. As well as exploring the subject as an art form in its own right, Drama students develop their creativity, self-discipline, independence, teamwork, presentation skills and confidence. The department aims to develop not only a student’s practical skills but also their appreciation of the social, cultural, historical and political context of theatre.

Examination results have been consistently strong and many students have gone on to study Theatre Studies and Acting at some of the country’s leading universities and drama schools. Drama is a respected and challenging subject and is viewed favourably by Russell Group universities.

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"In English at The Abbey, we get amazing opportunities to develop deeper personal responses and enrich our learning. Everyone's opinions on the texts are heard and built upon, allowing us to develop each other's interpretations." - Year 11 pupil

English at The Abbey involves studying literature from a wide range of cultures and times, as well as having ample opportunities for creative writing and seeing your words in print. The lessons are inspirational, challenging and creative, and our aim is for all our pupils to become sensitive readers, expressive writers and articulate speakers who will develop a lifelong love of language and literature.

All girls take English Language and Literature at iGCSE, and both English Language and English Literature continue to be popular subject choices in the Sixth Form, both for A Level and as part of the IB diploma. Plenty of pupils go on to study English at degree level and many pursue careers in related areas, including media, marketing, journalism, law and education.

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Outside the classroom

The department has strong links to the Drama department and the Library to enhance girls’ learning experiences through regular theatre trips, book events and author visits. There is also a large variety of extra-curricular activities available such as book clubs, creative writing groups and competitions, public speaking and debating. Our fantastic teachers help to build confidence, leading to many successes in local and national competitions!

Learn every aspect of food preparation, production, nutrition and marketing, from haute cuisine to mass production and the science behind it. Develop practical skills and design your own masterpieces, following in the footsteps of past students who have followed their A Level course with degrees in food science and nutrition.

Outside the classroom

Hone your skills with the professionals on the Leith’s cookery course, get creative in cooking club or take part in our regular competitions – could you create a showstopper worthy of the Bakeoff?

"Although we set our sights high, we believe passionately that music must be fun. Whatever the style, there is nothing more rewarding than sharing musical experiences with others, whether as performer or audience member." Mr Willis, Director of Music

The Abbey School is renowned for its outstanding musical tradition. We aim to offer something for everyone in the hope of instilling a life-long love of music and the performing arts. The musical life of the school combines academic study with an exciting extra-curricular programme of ensembles, concerts, productions, visits, and overseas concert tours. The department is always busy, with our Music ICT Suite very popular with our composers.

Our wide-ranging programme of individual music lessons is provided by over 20 leading instrumental and vocal teachers. Some of the world’s finest musicians visit us each year to give recitals and to work with our performers. As an academic subject music connects uniquely with so many other disciplines and this is reflected in its popularity as a GCSE option and in the Sixth Form, with our musicians going on to study at prestigious universities and conservatoires each year.

“Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.” Coco Chanel

Studying Textiles is a wonderful way to combine creative flair, technical precision and an understanding of the history, cultural and social impact of design and fashion. Bringing a concept from the drawing board to fruition is highly satisfying and girls use the well-equipped textiles studio to bring their ideas to life. CAD software helps to refine and develop designs and there is a full range of equipment, fabrics, dyes and threads always on hand. Inspired by the work of designers and craft specialists the girls use a wide vocabulary of techniques and surface decoration to embellish their imaginative designs.

Textiles have such a wide range of applications that they affect every aspect of our daily lives and at A level the students discover how in the ever changing world of the 21st century, new technology is developing a wealth of smart and modern fabrics with exciting functions. They begin to consider the ethics of design and manufacture, the challenges of large scale production and how to solve some of the design issues they encounter. 

Textiles can combine with almost any A Level subject to provide a broad base for many University courses. Many students who study Textiles also choose to continue their enthusiasm for the subject at University following courses such as Management and Marketing of Textiles; Textiles Science and Technology; Textiles Innovation and Design etc. It particularly complements Art for those with a focus on a design based career in Fashion, Textiles or Interior design.

See some of the creations from the Textiles department on Flickr