Fostering Creativity

Welcome to the Performing Arts department at Straits International School, Penang.



Currently we have two full time members of staff who teach across the whole school, teaching both Music and Drama.


Ms. Ellie Saunders teaches Secondary music and drama. She also teaches clarinet, saxophone and flute lessons.

From Leicestershire, England

Plays the clarinet, saxophone, flute and piano

Plays Tenor Saxophone for Penang Philharmonic Big Band, plays clarinet for Penang Philharmonic Orchestra and the Actor's Studio Chorus Orchestra


Ms. Carrena Tung teaches Primary music and drama. She also teaches piano lessons.

BA (hons) Music Pedagogy and Performance

MA in Music Pedagogy and Performance

Plays the piano


The Curriculum

The curriculum is developed to provide pupils with ample opportunities to develop their theatrical and musical abilities from the moment they start school here. Currently this is divided up so that all classes are timetabled for both drama and music lessons as separate subjects.

EYFS: 90 minutes of music and 90 minutes of drama a week; divided up into 2 classes for each subject.

KS1: 90 minutes of Performing Arts a week, divided up as 60 minutes of music and 30 minutes of drama.

KS2: 90 minutes of Performing Arts a week, divided up as two equal 45 minute lessons.

KS3: 2 hours of Performing Arts a week; divided up as two equal lessons.

IGCSE: We also offer IGCSE music to key stage 4 pupils. Pupils receive 3 hours of contact time per week.


Instrumental lessons

We have a growing instrumental lesson programme with which we aim to introduce pupils to the fun of learning an instrument. We have over 50 pupils taking lessons in school. Lessons currently available are; piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet. We are also keen to add other brass lessons and singing to the available lessons.

In order to introduce pupils to a new instrument more easily, we have some instruments available for hire which are clarinet, trumpet and flute. Such is the popularity of this scheme, we regularly have waiting lists for these instruments.



As part of the co-curricular activities in school, many staff members provide performing arts based activities for all key stages to take part in. Some examples of activities are as follows:

  • Beginners Ballet for Lower Primary (run by My Dance Station)
  • Line dancing for Lower Primary (Mrs Dev)
  • DIY Music Instruments for Lower Primary (Mrs Dev)
  • Music & Movement for Lower Primary (Ms Beryl)
  • Recorder Club for Lower Primary (Ms Beryl)
  • Traditional Dance for Upper Primary (Ms Gowri)
  • Karaoke for Upper Primary (Ms Karen)
  • Choir for Upper Primary & Secondary (Ms Carrena)
  • Orchestra for Upper Primary & Secondary (Ms Ellie)
  • Vocal Club for Secondary (Ms Ellie)
  • Guitar Club for Secondary (Ms Dennis)
  • Drama Club for Secondary (Ms Hannah)


School Production

Each year the whole school works together to put on a production in celebration of the pupils achievements throughout the year. All the pupils are involved on stage or as crew, from EYFS through to upper secondary. We have a lot of fun putting the show on the stage. Previous performances have been Fantastic Mr Fox and Snow White and the seven Dwarfs, both by Roald Dahl, and Ocean Commotion by Debbie Cambell.

Concerts and events

Each half term, the Performing Arts department put on twilight concerts to allow the pupils to perform to family and friends in an informal setting. It is highly beneficial for students to perform in public and often at times it is through these performances that the student will improve. One of the students who performed in last year’s Twilight Concert said that they experienced new emotions during the performance and some said that they felt intimidated with everyone looking at them during the performance. While some might not take it so positively, we actually feel happy that they experienced these emotions as it shows that they care a lot about performing well and it is only by performing more that they will learn to better deal with these emotions.



October 2015: Trumpet students from the instrumental programme had a chance to attend a trumpet masterclass with notable Bach trumpet artist Adrian Kelly, organised by Bentley Music Malaysia. The event was attended by trumpet students from different schools on the island. Students who participated in the event learned various techniques and fundamentals of trumpet playing. In addition they also had a chance to see how other trumpet student were doing and enjoyed performances from other students. They now have a better perspective on how versatile the instrument is in performing classical and jazz music.

May 2016: The wind ensemble from Silpakorn University in Thailand (made up of students and lecturers) came to Straits International School and led an interactive workshop with our young instrumentalists. Our own students had the opportunity to play alongside these older musicians, learning from them some valuable skills for ensemble playing. Later on the whole school was treated to a performance by these fine musicians which included some popular favourites which had all of us singing along.



We have created a youtube channel to allow us to share some of the good work the pupils produce. It also creates another way that the pupils can easily access the videos that we use in lessons, when they are at home. Please find us on Youtube at PerformingArts@SIS.


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