No 'drama' at Watson's

Let’s start with a little anecdote. 

It involves one of our Drama department colleagues. Their mum had travelled through from Glasgow to see our performance of Phantom of the Opera. 

A rousing musical, perhaps one of the world’s most loved shows. 

“It’s like being at the Glasgow King’s,” she said. 

We’re very confident that our pupils produce some of the most extraordinary performances, on and off stage, here at George Watson’s College. 

You may have heard the words, ‘school play’ before and shuddered gently. Tinny audio systems, limp lighting, and hot, sweaty halls. They don’t always have the best reputation. 

To start, we don’t use the term ‘school play’. It’s not. It’s not just a school play, it’s our school play, our school production. 

There is no point in us doing it if we are not doing it the Watson’s way. We want to promote excellence, and nurture it. 

Drama in maroon means one very big concept: co-production. 

Our pupils don’t just perform on stage, they design sets, plan and deliver lighting and sound, create costumes, manage prop inventories, write music scores, stage manage and even direct. 

S6 Production - Chicago
S6 Production - Chicago

At Watson’s, being on stage is only a fraction of the story. We have upwards of 100 pupils who take part in our different ‘crews’ which drive every element of our productions. Our pupils co-produce the whole lot and the staff become the facilitators. 

Like many of the creative subjects we believe that they can have a huge impact on a young person’s wider development. 

For us, the so-called soft skills of creative arts are hard skills in disguise. They are the things that produce the confidence that enable pupils to achieve all around the curriculum, and beyond the walls of Watson’s. 

For example, being able to talk to people in a professional way, to apply problem skills in a pragmatic and real sense, rather than just theoretical. 

Being part of that theatre company that we are, allows them to apply these skills that they have learned throughout the years - whether in the crew or on stage.

Of course, when you put power into the hands of the pupils you risk failure, but as you have probably gathered by now, we don’t fear that when you’re at our school. Perhaps the old adage applies here: the harder you practise, the better you get. 

Our end of year senior shows involve pupils in Senior 5 and 6, and represent a rousing, thunderous finale to the school year. 

There’s often more than 200 people involved across these projects (after some right good planning) the show is delivered in just two weeks, a highly intensive, immersive experience. 

With some fantastic performance spaces in our Drama department, including five ‘black box’ drama studios. That’s on top of some terrific tech that our crews make great use of to bring productions to life. 

There are other opportunities to perform, too. Pupils in P7, S2, and S3 all have the opportunity to perform under the brightest of lights. Of course, it actually starts in P1 with nativities and other festival-led celebrations. 

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    S3 Production - The Witches
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Although much of the dramatic focus is on the extra-curricular part of our programme, here at Watson’s we believe that we present the largest number of pupils for National 5s, National Progression Awards, Highers and Advanced Highers in the country. 

And with specialist teaching from P3 onwards every fortnight, weekly from S1, everyone has an opportunity to develop to find their voice. 

But what happens when they do? You’ll need to see for yourself, but it’s spectacular. Truly spectacular. 

Find out more about a Life in Maroon, by joining us for our Open Morning on Saturday 2 October 2021. Book a slot is essential - click here to register