A look at some of the educational workshops available to pupils in the West End, relating to subjects such as Drama, Art, Music, PE and English.
School Travel Organiser suggests some of the best workshops in the West End for a trip outside the classroom. Teachers can pair a workshop with a viewing of the related show, or book educational sessions independently.
Show: The Railway Children
Subject Links: Drama, English, Art
Key Stages: 2 - 5
The Railway Children, currently booking at King’s Cross Theatre, provides a number of workshops to accompany the watching of a performance. Each workshop will last 90 minutes, is led by a professional theatre practitioner, and can be tailored to suit learners of all ages.
Exploring Urban and Rural Settings is a Drama workshop that takes inspiration from the contrasting settings of the city and the country within the story of The Railway Children.
Using extracts from the novel and the stage production, pupils will compare the two environments though role play and devised work. The class will also reimagine the experience of characters Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis as they move to a country village from their life in London.
Meanwhile, A Family Portrait workshop uses Drama techniques and character studies to explore the significance of family in the story and also for the participants themselves. Taking Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis’ sibling relationships as a starting point, the workshop leader will ask the group to create their own short performances as a response to scenes from the production.
Other workshops available are titled Doing the Right Thing; Designing a Steam Train; and From the Page to the Stage. Discounted tickets to The Railway Children itself are available to school groups of eight or more.
Show: The Woman in Black
Subject links: Drama, English
Key Stages: 2 - 5
Pictured: A scene from The Woman In Black. (Photo credit: Pascal Moliere).
Ideally taken before watching the play itself, The Woman in Black Workshop will see students familiarise themselves with the stage set, and some of the script.
The class will be taken onto the Fortune Theatre stage, complete with The Woman in Black set, to explore and experience how this ghostly tale plays with the audience’s imagination.
Students will have the opportunity to explore and interpret a significant part of the text and then experience how tension can be created to dramatic effect. The workshops are led by fully experienced West End professionals and last between 60 and 90 minutes.
Teachers can also opt for a post-show question and answer session with members from The Woman in Black cast and crew. These sessions last 20 minutes and should encourage pupils’ understanding of the narrative and the dramatic tools used to create the stage play.
Discounted ticket rates for the viewing of The Woman in Black are available for school groups of ten or more, and educational resource packs are available to download.
Subject links: Music, Drama, PE
Key Stages: 2 - 5
Pictured: Elphaba in Wicked. (Photo credit: Brinkhoff and Mogenburg).
Wicked, showing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, offers a number of workshops ranging in subject from Music to Drama. Each workshop can be booked for between 15 and 30 students prior to watching the musical.
Students taking part in a Singing Workshop will focus on the development of vocal technique and acting through song.
Depending on the experience and ability of the group, participants will explore either one or two songs from Wicked; developing harmonies and singing in an ensemble will be part of the workshop. They’ll also explore characterisation, emotion, intonation and phrasing.
Meanwhile, students taking a Dance Workshop can learn some of the unique choreography from Wicked. Students will be encouraged to express individuality and characterisation through expression and gesture, focusing on how movement and staging help to tell the story of the show.
Drama, musical theatre, and anti-bullying workshops are also available to book alongside a performance of Wicked. School rates for the performance are available Monday to Thursday for parties of ten or more.
Show: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Subject links: Drama, Music, English, PE
Key Stages: 1 - 4
Pictured: Charlie (Jake Poolman) and the Bucket Family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Photo credit: Johan Persson).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory workshops are suitable for Key Stage 1 to 4 students. Teachers can choose from subjects such as PE and English, and all workshops, usually lasting around two hours, are available to book for up to 30 children.
In a Drama workshop, the class will explore the characters, themes and staging of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They’ll also use the script to develop their acting techniques, as well as acting exercises to help them develop their characterisation, chorus work, and improvisation skills.
Dance workshops, meanwhile, are tailored to the level of the participants. Beginners will look at how to express character and intention through physicality, while more advanced students will explore contrasting choreography from the production, and learn of the abilities required to perform in a West End show.
And for English students, a Literacy, Story Writing and Storytelling workshop will explore imagination and the different starting points for a new story. This session will take inspiration from the characters, setting and objects in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
School rates for seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are available Monday to Thursday for parties of ten or more.
Lead image: Sarah Quintrell as Roberta in The Railway Children. Photos from the original York Theatre Royal production. (Photo credit: Karl Andre).