Over half term, the Girls’ and Boys’ Schools jointly hosted the NISDA (National Independent Schools Drama Association) “The Language of Theatre” Conference 2023.

We welcomed teachers, from as far afield as Edinburgh, Somerset and Devon, who were also joined by staff from more local schools. The atmosphere was one of generosity, with teachers sharing a real desire to reach out and connect with old friends and make new connections over the three-day event. The focus of the weekend was an exploration of the visual and physical elements of theatre through practical workshops, discussion and performance.

The conference was made even more special by our beautiful grounds; gorgeous pre-dinner jazz, courtesy of Mr Herd and a trio of brilliant Y9 students; a band; musical theatre karaoke and fabulous food and refreshments, including an impressive formal dinner on Saturday evening.

Delegates enjoyed a packed programme of inspiring workshops from exciting, current practitioners such as Gecko, Complicite, Theatre Babel and Didi Hopkins. Fascinating sessions took place with leading set, lighting and make-up designers and facilitators in stage combat, including Mr Janes; musical theatre dance and singing and devising, with Mr Weinman. The weekend also included Mr Weinman delivering as one of the key-note speakers; a thrilling and very funny live performance of WOLF, by Lewis Doherty and the chance to connect with Drama teachers and technicians from both the independent and maintained sectors, from all over the country.
Students played a part in the excitement of the weekend by acting as guides and participating in some of the workshops, giving them some valuable inspiration for their own devised pieces.

Mrs Morris-Wolffe and Mrs Wallace from the Boys’ School and the Girls’ School (respectively) Drama departments added “It was a joy and a privilege to jointly host this prestigious event. We are proud that our schools value Drama and so willingly supported the project, enabling us to bring together those in education and those in the industry, and to reach out to maintained schools and our partnership schools and to young, emerging companies and practitioners in order to celebrate drama: its power to connect people, to explore authentic ways of creating and sharing stories and to truly transform the lives of young people and the lives of those they touch – as empathetic parents, citizens, and leaders and as, in the words of Scott Edwards, the NISDA chairperson, “the best versions of themselves”.