Offering our students unique opportunities to take their learning beyond the classroom – that’s the Isleworth & Syon way. Our subject specialist teachers often have contacts to make these dreams a reality; this is especially true within our drama department. As a result, two lucky groups of students have had access to trained professionals from two of London’s theatres – the Old Vic Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse.
Old Vic Schools Club
This year, we were invited to the Old Vic Schools Club, an honour afforded to only a small number of schools in the London area. Drama students in Years 10 and 12 will experience four West End shows over the course of the year, completely free of charge! Being part of the club entitles them to four special two-hour workshops in school, as well. The first took place in September, focusing on the dramatic play ‘A Very Expensive Poison’, while the second centred on Dickens’ spooky ‘A Christmas Carol’.
The workshops introduced key themes and characters, plus gave students the opportunity to hone their skills with guidance from top West End practitioners! Students thoroughly enjoyed both productions at the beautiful Old Vic Theatre, with many commenting afterwards that they felt inspired. There are two more Old Vic trips and workshops this year – stay tuned to our Twitter for updates on those!
At the end of January, we welcomed representatives from the Donmar Warehouse, a not-for-profit theatre in London. We selected a small group of Year 9s as a reward for their outstanding contribution to lessons and the wider life of the department. This time, the production came first, as students saw ‘Teenage Dick’ on the afternoon of Thursday 30 January. It was a unique modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’, focused on a high school setting. There was almost unanimous agreement that the adaptation made Shakespeare easier to understand!
After the performance was over, students were eager to discuss what they had seen. A few days later, two practitioners from the theatre led a workshop to solidify the boys’ understanding of the play. It was great to see our boys throw themselves into it and demonstrate great enthusiasm. These workshops are invaluable for students as they broaden their dramatic horizons. Indeed, it will be no surprise to see many of these boys starting their drama GCSEs in September!