Celebrating performing arts at Norwich High School for Girls

Posted on 5th March 2024

Performing arts provision at Norwich High School for Girls.

International Women’s Week 2024

Recently, a parliamentary report was released which highlighted sexism in the music industry. The Women and Equalities Committee has called for educational establishments “to do more to address the gendering of instruments, roles and genres”.

At Norwich High School for Girls, our single-sex learning environment seeks to challenge traditional gender stereotypes and equalise educational opportunities.

Our performing arts provision is very diverse, providing learning and performance opportunities in a huge variety of genres and instruments and ensuring our students are not hindered by external expectations. In turn, we see high participation levels, including over 170 students involved in the recent Showstopper production from Year 5 to Year 13.

As we mark International Women’s Week 2024, we spoke to some of our students about what they felt about the performing arts provision at Norwich High School for Girls and what participation in performing arts means to them.



When asked directly about the gendering of instruments, roles and genres, students said:

‘I don’t care about the gender stereotypes, I play the instrument I want to’

‘I just do what I love’

‘I don’t want to conform to what others think I should do – I am determined to go pro and prove them all wrong’

‘At Norwich High I’ve only ever had encouragement to play what I want to play’

‘At age 7, I was told by boys and teachers that I shouldn’t play the drums because I’m a girl, but I do and I love it’

“The girls first environment here allows students to perform unrestrainedly. Playing, singing or acting in front of people can be challenging for young people, who often experience high levels of self-consciousness. Norwich High girls, however, are confident and unapologetic when they take to the stage. Their willingness to engage in a high risk creative subject is extremely refreshing.”

Director of Music at Norwich High School for Girls, Mr Mark Hall

Diversity of provision

We are incredibly proud of our musical and performing arts heritage, offering every student opportunities to express themselves creatively through performances. Invaluable transferable skills are developed through the process which allows students to perform as well as direct, produce, choreograph and run productions, including our annual whole school production, senior and intermediate plays and devised pieces.

Read some case studies below to see how some of our Senior School and Sixth Form students are embracing the performance opportunities on offer.

Zara, Year 13 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“My main area of interest is music; I play clarinet as my main instrument (Diploma level) as well as Saxophone (Grade 8), Piano (Grade 6) and Flute (roughly Grade 3-4). In 2023 I had the opportunity to be a member of both English Schools Orchestra and National Youth Concert Band (where I was Vice-Principal Clarinet). Both of these are auditioned national ensembles which gave me the opportunity to work alongside celebrated conductors and other young musicians, culminating in performances at Cadogan Hall and the Birmingham Conservatoire respectively. I’m co-Music Captain at school, and this has given me opportunities to direct/conduct, which I had a taste of at the school’s 2023 Carol Service but would love to take further, as well as the chance to perform as a soloist in the Choral Concert this March. I also take part in most available ensembles within school, including Orchestra, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Chamber and Contemporary Choir, and Flute Choir, as well as taking Music A Level. In terms of ambitions for the future, I have an offer to study Music at the University of Manchester, and intend to do a masters in either Clarinet or Multi-Woodwind Performance at a conservatoire after my undergrad. I’d be grateful for any opportunity to make performance my life, but the dream is to work in a pit band in the West End!”

Ivy, Year 11 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“I have always been extremely interested in the world of music, and I spend much of my free time attending music related extracurricular clubs and small groups. This year, I have had the opportunity to play at events both inside and outside of school; from being in the orchestra for our school musical, to rock band summer gigs, and playing in concerts, and I have really enjoyed them all. I have been involved with music since I was 5, and I have always dreamed of one day playing with a classical orchestra. In addition to music, I enjoy STEM subjects too, and I am a member of the Norwich High robotics team. We are very lucky to have attended multiple competitions around the country, and I am looking forward to attending more in the future.”

Natalie, Year 11 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“I have pursued my passion for music in a variety of ways, and I am particularly proud of my involvement in both school and out-of-school performances such as termly concerts or local festivals with my band. In the future, I hope to continue performing, broadening my musical knowledge and skill set and continuing to do what I love.”

Evie, Year 11 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“I have a passion for acting and writing, and it has driven me to seek out many opportunities within school life. I cherish the time I spend on stage, and participating in the numerous musicals and drama projects such as Macbeth during my time here has strengthened my love for the theatre, which I intend to enhance after leaving school. Writing has been fuelled by my continual reading, and my recent participation in a speech competition allowed me to broaden my range from creative writing to more factual, opinion-based prose.”

Eleanor, Year 9 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“I’ve been told I’m quite eclectic and I understand that. My Nanna taught me to paint, play the piano and read me all sorts of books as a child, so I’d attribute many of my interests to that. I’m interested in anything that I can learn from, but my interests have always centred around music and drama. I started acting in local amateur theatre groups aged 7 and have been in at least 13 shows outside of school, as well as working backstage and doing Shakespeare in school. I really admire the work of directors like Sally Cookson and enjoy watching any Shakespeare or National Theatre productions. I would really like to write or direct plays that reflect what is produced in the National Theatre in the future. I also started playing trombone last year, and I’m really enjoying playing in a few different bands. But I’d say my biggest passion is Church Bell Ringing. It is a really interesting combination of music and maths, as it is very rhythm and pattern based. I ring with a junior band (under 20) and we are travelling to a competition in London this Summer at which we aspire to ring a fairly complicated course of Plain Bob Doubles, which could win us the competition.”

Bea, Year 9 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“Hi, I’m Bea and I really love Drama and Music. I always get involved with all the choirs, orchestras and plays that are happening after or during school. I have been cast as Mowgli in the Jungle Book and Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and I am very proud to be involved in the school’s vocal ensemble. I absolutely love all of the opportunities and chances we get at Norwich High, and I hope to be included in many more.”

Riko, Year 8 student at Norwich High School for Girls

“One of my favourite things that Norwich High has introduced me to is Drama. When acting on stage or giving a speech or being part of any production, I feel really confident. I now learn drama at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and am currently in a production of The Play that Goes Wrong. Some of my past productions have included: The Addams Family, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Hercules (in Latin), Hairspray, In Bascillia (in Latin), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Lion King. I’m not sure what will happen in the future with drama but I always have thought being a director for films or theatre would be an amazing job to have.”

Want to find out more about what a Norwich High education could do for your daughter? Email admissions@nor.gdst.net to find out more or book a school tour.