What is Schools Club?
Schools Club provides FREE bespoke workshops, theatre tickets, backstage tours and diverse educational resources for staff and students. It supports the curriculum and works with schools and students from areas of London with poor arts provision. The Old Vic partners with 40 secondary schools, engaging with up to 30 students in each school for the full academic year.
Hear from Drama Education Practitioner Daniel Kemp about his experience of Schools Club at the Evelyn Grace Academy.
As a Drama Education Practitioner with many years of experience in the drama classroom I recognise the value of taking students out of school to see high quality, world-class theatre. Seeing professional adults in action is invaluable and the experience adds cultural capital to each student that attends. At GCSE and A Level these visits are invaluable and necessary but they are also costly and awkward to organise. I also know, as a family man who would love to take his own children to the theatre more, how prohibitive the cost of theatre tickets in London can be especially when the price for one top seat can exceed £100 for a West End production.
During the summer term of 2018 I received an email from the Education & Community team at The Old Vic. The Old Vic is a theatre just up the road from our school and stages world class plays, often with very well-known actors in them. In the email I was invited, as the leader of a drama department in a London school, to apply for partnership with them through their Schools Club. The promise was of free tickets for a group of children for four of their productions throughout the year. Even better was the fact that there would be an accompanying workshop with the production – and all of this for free! Naturally I jumped at the chance, completed an online application and received an email back saying that we’d been accepted onto the programme.
So what does this partnership with The Old Vic mean to our students? Primarily it means this…. They get to see world class theatre. For free. Four times a year. What does it mean for me as their drama teacher? It means I have a raft of top quality productions that I can refer to when I’m teaching (plus I get the luxury of going to the theatre too!). This year our students have seen Sylvia, A Christmas Carol, The American Clock and All My Sons. But what’s in it for The Old Vic? I guess it’s about a financial and cultural investment into the future. They recognise the need to be ensuring the young people of Brixton get to access their work and by doing so they are developing a generation of theatre goers and maybe even a generation of theatre industry professionals. This is a partnership where everyone wins.
Sadly our partnership finishes at the end of the academic year but I will be invited to reapply for the same privileges for a different set of students. It’s a no-brainer. If we’re successful in our application for a second year I will allocate the next Year 10 drama students to take part and it will be such an honour to take these young people to the theatre and watch their passion for the art develop.
Daniel Kemp, Drama Education Practitioner, Evelyn Grace Academy
Supported by The Sackler Trust