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Creative Arts

We are very proud to be an Artsmark Platinum school. Platinum is the highest accolade awarded by Artsmark and is testimony to the incredible work our Creative Arts departments do every day.

Our annual school production is an opportunity for our Art, Music, Drama, Dance and Textiles departments to work together on an ambitious project, which sees student actors, dancers, musicians, sound and lighting engineers, costume and set designers working together to produce an awe inspiring show.

When coronavirus put pay to an auditorium school production in 2021, our Creative Arts team secretly planned ‘Art Happens’ to cheer the school up. At the end of the summer term, staff and students enjoyed a week of pop up art, photography and textiles installations and drama, dance and musical performances in the most unlikely of places.

Other annual opportunities for parents to enjoy watching our students perform include Service of Nine Lessons and Carols and Celebration of Achievement held at Truro Cathedral and an informal Christmas carol concert held in school.


There is a wealth of opportunity for artists and photographers who are looking for something extra through workshops facilitated by visiting artists, competitions, lunchtime and afterschool sessions or by taking part in a collaborations such as Truro City of Lights. Our Art and Photography department  regularly uploads student work to @richardlanderschoolart Instagram account.

Rock bands, musical ensembles, orchestras and choirs practise every lunch/tutor time and, as well as our more formal performance opportunities, students enjoy taking part in collaborative national events, competitions such as Battle of the Bands, and Landers Got Talent – our biennial talent competition.

A highlight of the year for our Dance students is Carrick Dance.

Artsmark Platinum

In 2020 we were absolutely delighted to be awarded Artsmark Platinum! Our Creative Arts team work so hard to inspire students and this is so well deserved. Thank you to Truro College for all of your help and support too.

The Platinum award is very prestigious and this is why Artsmark decided we deserved it ..

‘Staff at Richard Lander School are passionate, long-serving advocates for the Arts. The school works steadfastly with students, external professionals and arts organisations so that a range of cultural experiences are rooted in a whole school arts pedagogy. As a result of strong, ambitious leadership at all levels, with support from governors, the school has seen an increased uptake of arts subjects in the upper key stage. The school details an extensive, high quality arts curriculum for students, with dance, art, drama, music, photography and textiles offered at G.C.S.E.; a plethora of enrichment activities; and a strong programme of visits to arts and cultural providers, such as Tate St. Ives, The Hepworth Museum and Falmouth Art Gallery. They demonstrate in their Case Study how ongoing development of that offer has enabled them to lead advocacy in their local area, for example, supporting a special school to develop their arts practice. Investment in new arts resources, such as a photography darkroom, has further increased existing high standards of achievements in all arts subjects. Cross-curricular projects, such as the ‘Habitats of the World’ collaboration between the geography and art departments which was short-listed for exhibition at the Natural History Museum, have inspired and motivated students and staff alike. A positive relationship with the performing arts department at Truro College, facilitated by an ex-student, is providing students with opportunities to explore different backstage production roles…’

School Production - Billy Elliot

Richard Lander School has a long tradition of putting on an exciting and ambitious annual production. Our Creative Arts department are never predictable and over the past ten years, our school production has varied from West End musicals to a ‘Creative Arts Showcase,’ an evening of short theatrical, dance and musical performances, to ‘Smiley Face’ – a musical play written for and by our students, working with playwright John Welch.

In 2019, over 100 students put on an outstanding performance of one of the most challenging school productions we have ever attempted—Billy Elliot. The creative arts team gladly took on the fabulous and technically very difficult musical score and gritty plot and the show was choreographed into a visually stunning display of student talent and some truly beautiful solo numbers. The entire cast gave us a very moving and unforgettable performance.

Billy Elliot is a boy growing up in a north east town in England during the 1980s. Life at home is tense as Billy’s father and brother are coal miners faced with losing their livelihood in Thatcher’s Britain. Billy’s mother has recently died and Grandma is suffering from dementia.  Billy’s life changes when he secretly swaps boxing class for ballet lessons and meets the formidable Mrs Wilkinson who spots his natural talent for dancing. Billy’s friends Debbie and Michael help to keep him sane while providing humour for the audience!
The show featured a supporting cast of warm hearted, if rough around the edges, miners led by Big Davey, and looked after by Lesley, lines of stony-faced police and a chorus of ballet dancers who flitted between remarkable poise and elegance, and giggling; reminding the audience of the impact of conflict on children. All involved put in superb performances.
Of course, none of this could have happened without our behind the scenes heroes who provided stage lighting, sound, costumes, make up, backstage crew support and a remarkable set.

And last but by no means least, our gratitude goes to our remarkable Creative Arts teachers, who have spent the last 4 weekends in school rehearsing and have been living, breathing, dreaming Billy Elliot for the last 6 months. They are:
Vocal coach – Gemma Foxon
Choreographer – Leigh Burrows
Co-director – Lucy Charleston
Musical Director – Sian Jones
Director—Amy Nortje.


Art Happens

At the end of the 2021 Summer term, art, photography and textiles installations started popping up around school and our drama and dance students, along with our musicians, started performing in the most unlikely of places, all unannounced. It turned out that the Creative Arts department had been planning this ‘Art Happens’ event to cheer everyone up during the pandemic and in light of Richard Lander School not being able to put on a regular school production for 2 years.

On Monday, a Greek chorus appeared behind the raised beds in the school garden to retell the story of Prometheus in amongst the broad beans and cabbages! Wearing ‘Art Happens’ t-shirts, custom designed and printed in school, along with masks created in drama lessons this was an eye catching sight much enjoyed by our audience of heroic lunchtime supervisors. Later the lifts and corridors erupted with highly entertaining Victorian melodrama!

Tuesday saw a djembe drumming circle busking outside the Headteacher’s office, in a classroom doorway and elsewhere around school a samba band, whilst in the Art corridor there was a beautiful display of vibrant lighting using projectors and oil effects.

On Wednesday morning students were greeted by a seated empty clothes art installation as they came into school. This striking sight sparked lots of conversation and curiosity.

In the run up to Art Happens, year 9 actors performed scenes from Romeo and Juliet, which were filmed and put to music composed by classmate Seth. This film became part of the Regional Playmaking Festival which was premiered online by the Hall for Cornwall on Wednesday 14th July.

Thursday saw Jackson playing the piano in the courtyard for students in the sunshine. Jackson, from Year 7, is wonderfully talented pianist and composer and his performance wowed all who were lucky enough to be there.

Year 10 Dance students choreographed and performed their ‘Frantic Assembly’ chair inspired duet on the steps up to main reception for visitors whilst other GCSE Dance students performed routines on the grassy banks by the courtyard for students. these fabulous performances were shared on social media.

On Friday, a fishing inspired textile installation took over the top corridor, with students, at easels, painting flowers on the back of cotton smocks and weaving fishing rope onto a table top frame, whilst vintage black and white footage of fisherman from days gone by was projected on to the wall behind them.

‘Art Happens’ made the penultimate week of term really special, involving lots of students and entertaining us all. Thank you to our Creative Arts and Textiles staff for making it happen!

Smiley Face

Every now and again you see something so special and ground breaking that you want everyone you care about it to experience it too. With it’s humorous yet poignant script, it’s observation on growing up in current times and it’s fresh, relevant and brave message ‘Smiley Face’ delivered this to its audiences.

The play, written by Pipeline Theatre playwright, Jon Welch, in collaboration with our students is a dystopian story, set in 3 very different schools in the not too distant future. In a world where at age 11, a student’s adult life has already been decided. Selected boys attend ‘Goldman Sachs’ destined for a career as a stockbroker or banker; cream of the crop in girls attend ‘L’Oreal’ where they learn to blog beauty secrets, take lessons in how to laugh at men’s jokes and take medication to stay thin while they live and die by their social media status. Meanwhile, at the ‘Dream Academy’ the rejects never see the light of day; living in a virtual world doing the jobs no one else wants to do. No child has contact with their family, no one has a choice about their future, so what happens if a twin brother feels like there is something missing in his life that he simply must find and somebody works out how to hack the whole system?

Over 100 students were involved in the production as writers, actors, musicians, and technical support and they gave us an unforgettable school play which the Head was so impressed by that he requested an extra performance for all of Year 9 on the last day of term.


Here are some of the comments from our school Facebook page which we were so delighted to receive.
‘One of the best school plays I’ve ever seen-and I’ve seen a few! Felt quite emotional by the end. Fantastic!’
‘Brilliant play and excellent acting. Bang on topic too. Thank goodness Richard Lander make space for the more creative young people within the school.’
‘Excellent play – dark, sad, thought provoking ,clever and so much work. You should all be proud ‘
‘Really thought provoking!’
‘Amazing cast and truly creative and topical play! Well done!!!’
‘Great play , well done , very thought provoking involving so many current issues . Great acting so much talent . Everyone should see this ! Congratulations everyone involved.’

@richardlanderschoolart on Instagram

Richard Lander School has 1 Facebook account, a Twitter account and 2 Instagram accounts. Follow @richardlanderschooluk for all our news and follow @richardlanderschoolart for uplifting posts of the very best student artwork and photography, to brighten your day.

Extra Curricular Music

Extra curricular music lessons and lunchtime/tutor music clubs take place every day at Richard Lander School.

Extra instrumental or singing lessons are delivered by Cornwall Music Service Trust during the school day. Students can continues lessons from primary school or start something new. At Richard Lander School there is a huge choice of lessons: piano, keyboard, voice, drum kit, percussion, trumpet, cornet, tuba, trombone, euphonium, recorder, clarinet, flute, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, double bass, electric and acoustic guitar.  If your child is interested in extra instrumental or singing lessons, information letters are available at Student Reception or the any music classroom. Timings and pricings can be found at www.cornwallmusicservicetrust.org

Every lunchtime sees the creative arts corridor alive with the sound of music. Students choose between choirs and ensembles, orchestra or jazz band, music theory or rock band practice or many choose to do more than one club.

Becoming a music subject leader is a great way to introduce even more music into a Richard Lander School day. Students join in with at least one music lunch time club and help with primary school events and whole school events.

KS4 Art and Photography Exhibition 2022

Over 100 KS4 students exhibited at our 2022 Art and Photography exhibition. The standard of work was excellent. Many students, parents and carers and staff came to our private view in May. Here is a selection of the work exhibited.


In May 2022,  RLS Productions returned after 2 years of (Covid related) absence to bring delighted audiences C.H.I.P.S. and The Sad Club.

C.H.I.P.S. (City Hall Inclusive Preservation Society), by Simon Harvey, told the tales and rumours of Truro City Hall’s rich history through the eyes of ‘Nigel’ the foreman in charge of demolition of the hall and construction of the new Hall for Cornwall.

This is a quirky, fun and humorous play, which was performed so well by our Year 7 Drama Club, who had been directed by Year 9 Drama Leaders. The audience learned of an embarrassing visit by a member of the royal family which resulted in Truro City Council being sworn to secrecy and a certain door remaining locked for 30 years; that international rock stars—Queen—actually played their first gig at Truro City Hall and that the venue also played a vital part in the suffragist fight for votes for women.

It was fantastic to see our newest students take to the stage with such confidence and skill and wonderful to welcome their families back into school to experience this rich and vital part of the culture here at Richard Lander School.


The Sad Club

In May 2022,  RLS Productions returned after 2 years of (Covid related) absence to bring delighted audiences C.H.I.P.S. and The Sad Club.

The Sad Club is a musical by Luke Barnes, about what living in this world stops us being happy and how we might go about tackling those problems. It’s a collection of monologues, songs and duologues from all over time and space.. The music, by Adam Pleeth, is catchy, modern and fantastic. The play was performed in the National Theatre in 2019 and almost certainly would have toured the UK had Covid not intervened.

It was an honour to perform this incredible play and, boy oh boy, did our Key Stage 4 Drama students do it justice. A remarkably talented group of young actors gave both Tuesday and Wednesday night’s performances their all, with perfectly delivered lines with such poignancy and expression, fantastic choreography and powerful singing. Each character was developed and presented so well that you felt as if you knew them. The school band played an incredibly tight, note perfect, set.

After 2 years of lockdown this play resonated deeply with us all with it’s message that ‘you are not alone’ in your fight with mental demons and the whole experience became strangely uplifting, rather than depressing!

Well done to all the cast and crew; our directors—Mrs Charleston / Luc Sykes (The Sad Club), Emily, Freya, Orla and Bethany (C.H.I.P.S.), Miss Foxon & Mr Gibbons(music) Mrs Nortje and Miss McNally (staff production) and  everyone who was involved as actors, musicians, in costume, set, make up design, or as technical support!

Mrs Charleston’s last ever production…

Our wonderful Head of Creative Arts, Mrs Charleston, is leaving us this summer, after over 20 years at Richard Lander School! In that time, she has nurtured so many young actors and directed so many productions including …Midsummer Night’s Dream, Histos do Carnival, Oliver, Big Al, Blood Brothers, West Side Story, Journeys, The Juniper Tree, Bugsy Malone, Alice in Landerland, Little Shop of Horrors, Peter Pan, The Creative Arts Showcase, Annie, Smiley Face, Billy Elliott, Art Happens, and finally this year’s CHIPS and The Sad Club!!

So many of our students list being a part of a school production as in their favourite memories of their time at RLS.

After the final The Sad Club curtain call, some of our finest actors – Luke, Betty, Charlotte and Daisy – stole Mr Holloway’s thunder by jumping in first to express their gratitude to Mrs C, presenting her with a card from the cast, followed up with a huge bunch of flowers and a bottle of bubbly!

Mrs Charleston will obviously be sorely missed but we are so grateful for all she has done for the school and we’ve got her for another ten weeks 🙂 and, of course, we wish her all the very best on her future adventures!