With access to outstanding performing, visual arts and design facilities, our students are encouraged to nurture and hone their ability to create, develop critical thinking skills, collaborate with and respect others and develop their growth mindset.
Our beautiful cultural spaces for students to thrive creatively include:
- Our 500-seater theatre
- Two dedicated Drama studios
- Natural light Art and Design studios
- Music practice and technology rooms
- Concert hall
The Visual Arts Department at Herschel encourages and affirms innovation, individuality, inquisitive thinking, explorative processes, and perceptive awareness. This ethos is pertinent in both the theoretical and practical components of the subject.
Students are supported in creative responses, developing specific skills of production and laying the base for developing their own personal visual language. As our students approach Grade 12, they are given more and more license to produce perceptual, conceptual and emotive Art without restriction.
Visual Arts is made up of two integrated facets: Visual Cultural Studies (History of Art) and Practical Art. Visual Cultural Studies lays the foundation for visual literacy, a knowledge of the theory of art as well as critical skills of analysis, writing and research skills. This allows students to develop their own expression based on an understanding of the visual culture of the past and the present.
Future career options which Visual Arts can help unlock include management and marketing, architecture, photojournalism, fine arts, gallery curatorship, film industry creative directorship, craft, jewellery design, and a broad base for design fields.
Drama is a social art form which integrates visual, aural, physical, kinaesthetic and performance elements to communicate, explore, reflect on and enhance the human experience.
The Department offers a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved in performances and a major production (Drama, Musical or Cabaret) every year. Students have the opportunity to participate in the annual Shakespeare Schools Festival as they perform on a professional stage. Grade 11 Drama students write and procure the annual Inter-House Dramas, which provide further opportunities for Senior School students Grade 8-11.
In Dramatic Arts, students explore a range of texts which are connected to key artistic movements, theatre practitioners and world events, as well as practical and technical theatre-making skills including performance styles, staging, design, sound and lighting.
While not an academic subject offered at Herschel, Dance is integrated into our cultural calendar and extracurricular programme. Our newly formed Dance Team is run by a team of senior students, specialising in a range of dance styles including Modern, Irish, Ballet, Tap, Afro-beat and Hip Hop. Dancers are able to showcase their work in our annual Inter-House Eisteddfod as well as the Inter-House Dance evening. Our dancers are also integral members of our annual productions as they perform in our Musicals and Cabarets.
This brand-new department was set up to introduce our pupils to the innovative world of Design. We nurture the skills needed to plan, conceptualise, visualise, research, make, innovate and reflect in response to a design problem or brief.
Here, pupils are made aware of the purpose and aesthetics of design in society. They will be able to make a productive contribution towards shaping the world in which we live by understanding and exploring the links between design, human needs, social justice and environmental sustainability. The aim is for young designers to become visually literate, design literate and culturally literate.
Herschel has a thriving and dynamic Music Department which is housed in our beautiful new Inkwenkwezi Music Centre. Students have the choice of taking music either as a subject or as an extracurricular activity. We want to ensure that each student finds a niche within the Music Department, where they can express themselves creatively. This is evident in our wide range of instrumental tuition and ensembles on offer.
The Department has an excellent reputation for achieving high standards both academically and musically and for equipping students to excel in a wide variety of musical fields. House events include the very popular annual Interhouse Singing Competition.
Our diverse and experienced full-time and part-time staff ensure that lessons and repertoire are suited to the individual student and that all are made to feel welcome.
The Senior School Choir is where students can sing and have fun. Our choir performs at various events throughout the year. This is an uplifting space where students can express themselves creatively. The choir meets once a week.
The Chorale is our chamber choir which leads all Services and Eucharists with grace and elegance. No formal event at Herschel would be complete without The Chorale performing!
Fusion is our acapella group and delights audiences all year with eclectic arrangements and vibrant performances.
Dinaledi brings traditional African acapella songs to life and often brings the soul to special occasions.
We cater for every student with a wide range of Instrumental Ensembles, from Wind Band, String Ensemble, Orchestra, Afro Jazz Marimba Bands, Guitar Ensemble, Flute Ensemble and our very own rock band High Maintenance. Inkwenkwezi comes alive during the day when our ensembles rehearse and perform at various pop-up concerts and assemblies.
Individual instrumental tuition in a wide range of instruments is offered. We have a large and dynamic part-time staff who teach at Herschel and are also actively involved in music performance and education in and around Cape Town and South Africa. Students are entered into various Eisteddfodau and external ABRSM and Trinity Examinations throughout the year.