When it comes to Drama, most people may limit its potential to “speech and movement class”. But the benefits of Drama classes are far beyond building confidence in the students.

Drama has been shown to develop key skills such as creativity, expression, confidence, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, self-discipline and language ability.

Regular access to Drama class also develops capacities such as empathy and understanding, emotional and social regulation, critical thinking and higher order abstraction skills. All these skills are important and transferable to all areas of one’s life.

Drama is in our blood at Dulwich

Drama at Dulwich College is important as it celebrates the legacy of our founder, Mr Edward Alleyn. Mr Alleyn was an actor linked to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and an entrepreneur in the world of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre. His vision for establishing a school was to provide sound learning, strong artistic pursuits and good manners.

With this in mind, Drama class is a compulsory subject for all Year 10 and Year 11 students. The purpose for having this class is to expose the students to the performing arts and to give them an opportunity to express themselves creatively on stage.

The focus of Drama class is to learn skills that will make putting together a performance possible. In the process, students can build their confidence, and a variety of soft skills like communication, self-discipline and leadership.

Students will take on different roles - from a performer to a director to a designer of the various elements of Drama (set and props, costume and makeup, music and sound, and lighting). They are also encouraged to write their own scripts in the devised component of the curriculum.

Audrey Sim
Drama class is where all the crazy ideas are never too crazy. Every student is encouraged to try new ways of doing things. Every student is challenged to convey their messages in a meaningful way to their audience.
- Audrey Sim, Head of Drama

New facilities, new options for Drama

Moving to the new campus, Dulwich International High School Zhuhai has started to offer IGCSE Drama as a new exam subject this academic year, that students who are interested can choose to take up.

For this subject, students have to do a written examination and coursework projects developing and performing published plays and plays they have devised on their own through a given stimuli. This course challenges the students to be creative and be able to rationalize their creative choices.

Any student who is interested in learning more about Drama and have a keen interest in not just in becoming a performer, but also a director and designer can take up IGCSE Drama.

However, they must be determined to carry through any projects they decided on and not give up even if they meet with failures. Resilience is an important quality they need to have.

The new facilities and spaces at the new campus accommodate the needs of Drama students well.

The Edward Alleyn Theatre

With the capacity of 362 seats, the theatre offers a traditional performance space with all the lighting and audio equipment. This creates a great visual experience for the audience when we put up any performances.

The Blackbox

Why Black?

The name “black box” comes from the fact that the room is typically, but not always, painted black which gives the appearance of anyplace. This way it’s easier to make the audience feel like they’re actually in the location of the performance since these theatres have limited props.

The Blackbox is an amazing addition as a performance space for Drama class. It is a space that allows maximum creativity to happen. Having performances in the Blackbox definitely stretches the students’ potential both creatively and in the area of critical thinking and problem solving.

The new campus itself is a source of great locations for performances to take place. This challenges students to critically think about the possibilities of the different locations in school as possible performance spaces.

Exclusive collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company

One of the highlights of the Drama program in Dulwich is our collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company Learning (RSC) – the education arm of the world-renowned British theatre company specialising in Shakespeare.

The partnership between Dulwich schools and RSC Learning was first established in 2016, offering our students access to a wide array of programmes led by RSC directors and artists. Through the years, the number of participating students has grown year over year, bringing a deeper understanding and appreciation for Shakespeare’s works across our community. RSC runs professional development courses that benefit not only Drama teachers but also English teachers as well.

Before the pandemic started, practitioners from RSC will be in Dulwich schools in China for a week for workshops and lessons. The workshops still took place, albeit online, last year and students had to do a monologue from Shakespeare texts as part of the assessment.


Drama, always a Work in Progress

No two theatre shows are ever totally the same. If the show ever has a re-run, even with the same creative team, there will be changes. There’s never an end; it’s always an “and”. Maybe that’s why Drama Is closest to life - everyone of us is also a work in progress.

Everyday, we are aiming to be a better version of ourselves. This is the attitude we hope our students will have towards Drama and their own lives.