Drama is fully alive in Wellington College with lots of opportunities for students to get involved, both on and behind the stage. Whether you are a budding actor, a keen director, creative set designer or future stage manager, we have a place for everyone. In Wellington the drama community prides itself in including students from all year groups, with our senior pupils afforded opportunities to lead and mentor those in the junior school. Working as a team our students develop core skills in creativity, communication and collaboration but mostly they have fun and make friends.
Drama Club is open to all students in the college and meets weekly after school for fun games and activities. Run by our sixth form students, under the close supervision of Ms McAllister and Mrs Lowry, you can be sure of frenetic warm up games and ice breakers and a fast paced programme designed to develop core skills within a safe environment. We also enjoy theatre trips and recently have made the most of College’s membership to Digital Theatre Plus, allowing us to watch a huge variety of live theatre online from the comfort of our classrooms and homes. The academic year always culminates in an internal drama competition for all members, who compete in monologues, musical theatre and devised pieces.
Wellington is privileged to have links to a number of professional theatre organisations who run workshops in and outside of school, as well as coming into the College to give talks to students who want to know more about the industry. We are a Lyric Theatre affiliated school and have enjoyed physical theatre and stage combat workshops and theatre visits as part of this excellent scheme. We also have worked with Replay Theatre and Belvoir Players amongst others and value the opportunities that they provide to our students.
Every year the college holds an annual theatre production for parents, friends and primary school students to come and be entertained by us. Sadly this was unable to take place this year due to COVID restrictions but Ms McAllister is already planning our next big show to follow in the success of the student written musical Found in 2019 and The Wizard of Oz in 2018. These events are designed to involve as many young people as possible from all year groups. Students perform on stage, play in the band, design and paint the set, create costumes, co-direct, manage sound and lights and form a complete backstage crew. The opportunities are endless and the sense of pride and accomplishment that the students get from being part of such a huge event makes all the hard work worth it!
National Theatre Connections
In 2020 Wellington took part in the National Theatre Connections Programme. With training and advice from National Theatre playwrights and directors, the task is to choose a play from a shortlist, to perform both in school and onstage in the Lyric Theatre Belfast. Pupils must shape the play to suit their own resources and are required to also design the staging, promotional materials and act as production teams.
Early in 2020 Wellington put on a production of The IT, a powerful play exploring the pressures on young people today. Those lucky enough to see it were blown away by the high standard of not only the acting but also the maturity and professionalism of the entire student team, led by Ms McAllister and supported by Mr Galloway and Mrs Gaston. The National Theatre director, who flew from London to attend the performance, was entirely complimentary and praised every aspect of what had been done. We were all set to step onto the Lyric stage in April, in front of paying guests, and compete for a chance to go to London… when lockdown happened. Never mind – our appetite has merely been whetted and we cannot wait to have another go very soon!