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Pleased to Meet You…Maria Kane

26 August 2014

This week we spoke to Maria Kane, our new Head of Performing Arts, who will oversee both Music and Drama across the whole school.

You’ve just started with us at BISS Puxi, where were you teaching before?  I was teaching in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, at an independent boarding school. I was Director of Drama and as I lived on site I was also heavily involved in the boarding houses. Previous to that I was Head of Music at a comprehensive state school in Oldham, which was actually the school I used to attend as a teenager.

What made you want to come to teach at BISS Puxi? Suffolk is a beautiful part of England, but it is also in the middle of nowhere, especially when you are surrounded by 480 acres of school grounds, filled by cows, sheep, deer and a few students. I was ready to move to a city and thought it was a perfect time to try something completely different. I don't think I could have gotten anything more different if I'd tried!

You’re putting on Midsummer Night’s Dream in March. Why have you chosen this play? This is my favourite Shakespeare play and, whilst still keeping the language traditional, it is a play which allows me to also include my passion for music and dance. If done well, it is a play that can make doubters of Shakespeare fall in love with his work and realise just how funny and clever he is.

What is your favourite play to study in class? 'Blood Brothers'. Although it's a musical the actual script is fantastic and it is a play that pupils can always engage with. It offers them the challenge of performing a comedy role when they are the characters as children, and a tragically serious role as adults. Plus - the Liverpudlian accent is the only one I think I can get away with convincingly!

What do students need to know if they haven’t studied drama before? This is a very, very practical subject but that doesn't mean that we don't take it seriously. Drama develops the whole child, giving them key life skills that are needed for all subjects, including confidence, team skills and creativity. Universities don't consider it an 'easy option' anymore as taking this subject shows you are dedicated and hard working. Day to day girls must remember to bring shorts or leggings with them to lessons to wear under their skirts. Pupils won't just learn about acting but will look at stage design, costume and lighting. They will be taught both in the studio theatre and the auditorium.

Oh yes...and you will never be asked to be a tree!

Where are you from and what do you think you will miss most from home? I'm from Oldham in Lancashire, right at the foot of the Pennines...so not seeing hills and greenery every day will be sad. I will miss my five siblings as we are all very close, and of course my parents and three nephews. I'm also missing Yorkshire Puddings and gravy, so if anyone knows where I can hunt them down I will be eternally grateful!

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The British International School Shanghai, Puxi

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Nord Anglia Education

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