Giggleswick School is recognised as a centre of excellence for Drama and Theatre Arts, producing work of the very highest standard. We aim to foster in all Giggleswickians a lively interest in Drama as a living part of our cultural heritage.
The School has a very long and colourful history as far as Drama is concerned. Russell Harty was one of the first teachers to really breathe life into Drama setting the foundations for the creation of the Department as it is today. Support from ex-Giggleswickians, including the late Richard Whiteley, has ensured sustained growth and development. The playwright Alan Bennett was, until recently, the Honorary President of the Drama Society; he was replaced by the onetime head of BBC Drama, Mr Alan Shallcross. Many Giggleswickians have chosen to make the theatre their chosen profession and have gone on to great success in the world of theatre and film.
One of the main goals of the Drama department is to provide all our students with the opportunity to improve their self-confidence and communication skills. We deliver a programme that is both challenging and enriching, with considerable emphasis placed on the collaborative nature of the performing arts. All pupils study Drama up to Year 9 when it becomes a GCSE option. In Sixth Form they have the option of studying for The Gold Arts Award. All pupils can take advantage of the exciting range of opportunities available for students to become involved in all aspects of theatre art as part of our co-curriculum programme.
The technical element of The Richard Whiteley Theatre is run by Michael Offland, a graduate of The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama specialising in stage management, sound, and lighting. Prior to working at Giggleswick, Michael worked freelance in professional theatre companies. He is ably supported by our lighting designer and technician Julian McCready. Julian worked at the National Theatre in London for over 25 years and brings a wealth of experience to the theatre.
When bringing shows to life we work alongside professional set and wardrobe designers who help realise the vision for our performances. As theatre makers our objective is to produce work which has production values which rival the West End.
The work undertaken is fully supported by our pupils and we provide amazing opportunities for them to engage in technical theatre. Mr Offland & Mr McCready run a Theatre Tech Club every week which allows them to share their expertise with pupils, but crucially gives pupils hands on experience, and the chance to add their own creative flair. Our Theatre Tech Club are heavily involved in rigging and operating lights for the main school production each year.