Performing Arts at Ballard

‘A Journey to Oz’

Supplementary Evidence for Ballard School’s entry for the Independent School of the Year for the Performing Arts

“It was great and fabulous and really magic.”

Year 1 Pupil from Local Infant School

“My father-in-law lives in London and is a theatre addict (‘Wizard’ was his third show of the week) and he said it was worthy of standing alongside many he has seen in the West End.”



Inclusivity is an integral part of life@Ballard and the Arts play an incredibly important role, not only for the skills it instills but also for the positive impact on pupils wellbeing and academic achievements. We have had an incredible year with many opportunities to perform and also to work alongside arts professionals, which you may view here.

We are especially proud of our whole-school production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, which involved 234 pupils! Please find below some facts, figures, videos, including production footage, which highlight the excellence and innovation of Ballard Arts and, in particular, with our production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.


The Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of the classic motion picture, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is not your average school production. Innovation with logistics, creativity and production ran through this production and solutions were predominantly team led with pupils and staff working together.

The sheer scale, alongside the fact that it was held at a professional theatre, twenty minutes drive away, which lacked space backstage and for the orchestra led to many logistical challenges. Our staff and pupils all had to go the extra mile, quite literally for our munchkins, whose backstage area was at a Christchurch school a good fifteen minute walk away.

Our amazing production team created scenery at school that could be transported and recreated in the theatre using a number of clever solutions, including split scenery – e.g. the clouds opening up for Glinda; dual purpose the gates of Oz becoming the Wizard’s shield; and our backstage crew creating the tornado with sheets and movement.

Pupils learnt new skills so that our wicked witches floated on stage on hoverboards and flying monkeys came on roller skates and roller blades!

Creatively we added a pop art theme to represent the colourful land of Oz, in contrast to the black and white Kansas. This led to more innovation with the scenery and costumes, as well as some creative marketing opportunities.

The fact that it was at a professional theatre was also innovative adding to our pupils experience in a professional setting, allowing them to work alongside professional technicians, musicians and front of house staff, amongst others. You may hear about the impact of this in our video in the Impact section below.

Our school dog, Arthur, was cast as Toto and appeared in all the Kansas scenes, tempted with treats and helped off stage by our dog handler for the shows!

Our programme, which you may read below, provides information on how our pupils have been involved in every stage in the introduction and the production process pages. It also highlights our themed open morning and Oz based Open Morning (more details in our beyond the stage section below. It includes interviews with the main cast as well as previous performing arts alumni who have inspired some of our current performers.


“We all needed reminding at times that this was a school production, such was its quality and scale.”

Mr Andrew McCleave, Headmaster, Ballard School

The best way to highlight the excellence of this project is to watch the video below which contains snippets from our six shows and also to visit our gallery of images here.


Our incredible journey started in September with auditions held across all areas of school, every child that auditioned was cast, alongside all our Year 3 to 6 pupils. With over 230 pupils involved from Year 2 to Year 11 in a variety of roles, plus over half our staff involved at some point it really was a whole school production, even Arthur, our school dog, had a starring role. Involvement in the key age groups, Years 3 to 10, stands at an incredible 73%. Unusually, for a co-educational school musical there were more boys cast in main roles than girls, not only recognising the talent within the school but also inspiring boys in our younger year groups that the arts is for them.

“What a wonderful production!!! You have all done an incredible job and I really enjoyed a fabulous performance.  There were some real standouts but for me personally it was a real joy to see so many boys on the stage clearly having a great time.”

Professional Singing Teacher

Pupils were involved in all areas of the production: from marketing, through creating sets and costumes to appearing on stage, in the orchestra, back stage, in the tech box, front of house and helping with hair and make-up.

Please watch our video below which shows one pupil, Ollie, Year 8, interviewing other pupils in the Production Team.

Beyond the Stage

“Ever since he got home, he couldn’t stop talking about it. He was so desperate to see it again, I had no clue he was that keen on the theatre, he hasn’t stopped talking about it.”

Member of the Public

Oz fever was contagious and our whole school Open Morning took it’s theme from the Wizard of Oz with themed areas for Kansas and Oz, Dorothy’s Cafe, magicians, dancing, musical performances and fancy dress it was a fabulous family day attended by all our pupils and many of our new families.

We also had some fabulous highlights from the show during our annual Speech Day.

With our two Dorothy’s, Bella (Year 9) and Jessie (Year 8) performing a special duet from the show ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow.’


“It is hard to find the words to describe the emotions I felt seeing him on stage last week. I am so proud of how far he has come since joining Ballard. Happily, he quickly forged great friendships with the “Ballard Music Block Kids” and his exuberant personality returned. He received a great boost to his self-esteem thanks to you, Mr P and Mrs Foan. I never would have believed he could be considering a career within the performing arts!”


With exceptional staging, a professional theatre and incredible costumes our pupils talent shone. You may read some of our testimonials from parents and visitors here – Wizard Of Oz Feedback

Our video, below, features pupils from Year 2 to Year 11 sharing some of their thoughts on our production.

We hope that you will consider all of the above alongside our entry for this prestigious award