Community Production with Schools in the Wimbledon ISSP

Partner: Ricards Lodge High School & RR6, Coombe Boys & Girls’ Schools & sixth form, Perseid & Cricket Green Schools & Bond primary school
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Drama

The school’s community production grew out of an annual event which, for some years, had provided a showcase for the art, music and drama projects that King’s pupils and their counterparts at local maintained schools engaged in together every Friday. The dream of combining these projects in a single production became reality when the school employed a director in residence in 2014. Following discussions with the Heads of Drama at the different schools in the summer term, each school is given a section of the storyline to develop in the course of the autumn and spring terms. Some sections are developed in joint projects involving pupils of the same age, as with the RR6, Coombe sixth form and King's sixth forms, and others with King's pupils mentoring younger ones, as at the special schools and primary school. Most of the production is rehearsed on Friday afternoons and is brought together in a single performance in our school theatre following a first run-through in January and final rehearsals at the end of the spring term. Music is provided by a three-school partnership choir, consisting of pupils at Coombe Girls' School, Coombe Boys' School and King's.

Aims of the project

To provide a focus and a showcase for the creative projects engaged in by King’s pupils and their counterparts in local schools.

To bring drama, music and art departments at Ricards, the Coombe Schools, St Mark's Academy, Perseid, Cricket Green, Bond primary and King’s together to share best practice. 

To share our staff's expertise and our facilities with the local community.

To give our pupils and their counterparts at maintained schools the opportunity to work with a professional theatre director.

The critical factors for success are: the support of all the schools and their staff, trust built up over time, the use of timetabled time every Friday, a gifted and sympathetic director, a storyline that lends itself to different schools contributing their own sections to it. Beneficiaries are the pupils and staff and their parents, who attend the production.

Background and goals

The project grew out of an existing annual showcase for joint creative projects with maintained schools. The catalyst for transforming this into a community production was provided by the employment of a director in residence in 2014.

Resources

The production needs the willingness of all the schools to provide timetabled time and staff and the availability of rehearsal spaces and a large enough venue. Both teaching and non-teaching staff (porters, the theatre manager) are involved. All teaching staff are involved every Friday afternoon for two terms and at the dress rehearsal and performance.The school provides a budget which is generously supplemented by our parent-teacher association, known as the Friends of King’s.

Impact

All schools have agreed to be involved again this year. Following the performance of 'The Merton Mysteries' in 2015, the Bishop of Southwark wrote: 'The dramatic energy of this magnificent community production was sustained through a colourful array of familiar stories all movingly interpreted to the delight of the audience and the evident enjoyment of scores of pupils participating from local partnership schools.' 

Pupil involvement

Over 120 pupils in Years 3 to 13 were involved annually, including around 45 in Years 10 to 13 at King's. 

Frequency and duration

Ongoing, every Friday + extra rehearsal times. This is an annual event in the school calendar.