A Dramatic Start: An Irish music and drama school offers unique academic programmes for students in India

By Jagmeeta Thind Joy

As a parent when it comes to theatre or music lessons for our children, it’s often short-term workshops or post-school classes that one has to choose from. It’s only in later years, depending upon your child’s inclination and aptitude that parents encourage formal education in such streams. “What we don’t realise is that formal education in theatre and music at a young age can go a long way in shaping the personality of students,” says Nisha Luthra. As Head of Operations (India) for Ireland’s prestigious Leinster School of Music and Drama (LSMD), Luthra, who is also a Chandigarh-based thespian, is on a mission to encourage professional training for school students in India in the field of theatre and music. “We need to look beyond theatre or music training as mere hobby lessons,” she asserts.

Team of Leinster School of Music & Drama
Deepak Luthra (left) along with Nisha Luthra and Kevin Geoghegan in Chandigarh

Earlier this week, Luthra along with Kevin Geoghegan, Director, International office, Griffith College and Deepak Luthra, Head of India & South Asia, Griffith College made a formal announcement of LSMD’s foray into Chandigarh offering certified gradation systems in music and drama for schools.
For the unaware, the Leinster School of Music & Drama (LSMD), established under the aegis of Griffith College, is a national examining body in Ireland and is a centre for excellence in music and drama education and training since 1904. “LSMD is Ireland’s largest independent music and drama examining body. Since its founding, the school has produced an array of accomplished performers and pedagogues,” informs Geoghegan while sharing his plans for the region and how learners of theatre and music can benefit from the international examining and pedagogy model presented by LSMD.

Leinster 2
Photo courtesy: Leinster School of Music & Drama

On offer are graded music and drama examinations, diplomas and teacher training courses for schools in the region. “We want to make formal training in music and drama accessible to students here in India at no cost. We are keen to introduce hour-long classes, twice a week in schools. Students will only have to pay a nominal examination fee for the graded exams which would be assessed by LSMD faculty,” explains Luthra.

Incidentally, LSMD has already kick-started its initiative in Chandigarh with Karen Casey, Head of Faculty, LSMD and Sheila Nolan, Drama Examiner, LSMD assessing recordings of rehearsals of students who enacted ‘Thy Work is done’, a stage play performed by students of Vivek High School recently. The play was directed by The Narrators, founded by Nisha Luthra. The participants were awarded a LSMD certificate.

LSMD not only provides graded examinations for learners, it also has a number of academic programmes in drama education. In particular, the Higher Diploma in Arts in Drama Education is Ireland’s only specialised certification in drama education qualification and is designed for the contemporary practitioner in drama education, whether they are interested in teaching in a school or running a practice or studio.

“The best part is that students and educators will have access to our formal curriculum here in India and successful completion of any of the LSMD grades will in the future help them in their admission to academic or practical programmes at the university level. Griffith College would be happy to welcome such learners to apply for its degree programmes in Music Production, Music Technology and Film and TV,” summed up Deepak Luthra.

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