Professional Studio and technical facilities
As a Specialist subject Drama is taught in the school's specially designed studio which is fully equipped with industry standard lighting, projection and sound facilities that are operated from a separate control room. Clever design means that the space can be quickly transformed from a teaching room into a professional auditorium with bespoke tiered seating to accommodate an audience of up to 90 people. Students and community groups can now learn the technical disciplines of lighting, sound and special effects as well as performance skills in a professional environment.
Theatre Visits and Workshops
The Drama curriculum is enriched by frequent theatre trips to local and national theatres, workshops in school and participation in national initiatives such as the Shakespeare Festival. For example in 2006, GCSE students visited productions of “East is East” and Men Should Weep” at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley and the “Marriage of Figaro” at Glyndebourne Opera House. Students are given many other opportunities to learn from professional practitioners by participating in lighting and technical workshops, back stage theatre tours and workshops led by professional actors and script writers. As one of the Specialist subjects Drama has also developed links with community group Round Robin Theatre Company through which disabled adult performers took part in a unique skills exchange with year 10 students during Drama lessons in 2005.
The Drama department produces at least one significant public production each year which fully exploits the specialist media arts expertise available in the school. This is reflected in costume and set design, lighting and sound effects and the projection of still and moving images. Productions in recent years have included Greek tragedy “The Labyrinth”, Shakespeare's “The Tempest” and Oscar Wilde's domestic comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Each of these productions has deliberately set a very different creative and technical challenge for the producer and director as well as the stage crew and technical team. Willingdon is deservedly renowned for the high quality of its drama productions which always combine exquisite visual statements with consistently mature and often powerful performances by student actors.
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