Theatre is a powerful tool that entertains, educates, and inspires. It teaches empathy, collaboration, and resilience, preparing students for the challenges they may face in the real world. Through theatre, students learn to communicate effectively, think critically, and embrace creativity. These skills are invaluable, regardless of the career path they choose to pursue.
After a period of constraint, the theatre classes at the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) resumed, and the students' enthusiasm was evident. We explore and reflect on what the theatre programme at WISS offered this year as we celebrate our accomplishments and productions in the 2022/2023 school year.
At the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS), Performing Arts is one of our four unyielding pillars of learning that makes a WISS education unique. Theatre classes at WISS are introduced in Grade 6, where students can explore three different art classes: Visual Arts, Theatre, and Music. From Grade 9, students who choose Theatre as their preferred art class continue with the programme for two years, delving deeper into theatrical skills and the history and various aspects of theatre beyond performing. We aim to provide a comprehensive education that nurtures creativity and develops a well-rounded understanding of the art form.
The Western International School of Shanghai offers a comprehensive IB Diploma (IBDP) Theatre programme for Grades 11 and 12 students. This programme delves even deeper into the world of theatre, encouraging students to explore advanced theatrical techniques, theories, and practices. Students develop a sophisticated understanding of theatre as an art form through practical exercises, theoretical study, and performance opportunities. The WISS IBDP Theatre Programme encourages students to challenge themselves creatively, engage in critical analysis, and develop their own unique artistic voices. It provides a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue further studies or careers in theatre and related fields. Our dedicated faculty members guide and support students throughout their DP Theatre journey, empowering them to excel in their artistic endeavors.
One of the highlights of the WISS Theatre Programme is the inclusion of theatre productions as part of both classes and after-school activities. This year has been particularly amazing, as we were fortunate to present two productions: "An Inspector Calls" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream.".
Contrary to common misconceptions, theatre productions, and classes are not solely for talented performers. At WISS, we believe in inclusivity and that everyone can contribute to our theatre community in different ways. Numerous aspects are involved in a production, such as music, set design, costume ideas, scriptwriting, directing, lighting, and more. We do not hold auditions because everyone can find a place in our theatre projects. Theatre encompasses a wide range of skills and offers valuable life lessons, particularly social skills, which will serve our students well as they venture into the real world. It instills passion, hard work, and the satisfaction of witnessing creative ideas come to life.
"An Inspector Calls" showcased the incredible talent of our grade 9 and grade 10 students. Witnessing these young actors bring the play to life and remain true to their characters was a pleasure. This production also marked my debut performance at WISS, making it an emotionally significant experience.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" was a Secondary School Rock musical that exemplified collaboration between Mr. Jackson, Mr. Mosher, and me. It was a thrilling amalgamation of three art forms. I was overjoyed to see everything seamlessly come together and witness the enthusiasm of 30 young individuals on stage and backstage during rehearsals. Their dedication and love for the arts were truly inspiring.
In conclusion, the 2022/2023 school year marked a renaissance for the theatre programme at WISS. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we triumphed in bringing the magic of theatre back to life. Our productions of "An Inspector Calls" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" showcased our students' immense talent and dedication. Theatre classes at WISS are not exclusive to performers alone; they welcome students to participate and contribute in various capacities. We aim to foster creativity, develop essential life skills, and instill a lifelong appreciation for the arts. None of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of the entire WISS community.
Looking ahead, we are excited about the future of theatre at the Western International of Shanghai. The experiences and achievements of this year have laid a strong foundation for further growth and exploration in the coming years. We will continue to offer engaging and comprehensive theatre classes that empower students to discover their talents and express themselves creatively. As we move forward, we aspire to expand our repertoire of productions, collaborating with students from various grade levels and exploring different genres and styles of theatre.
The Western International School of Shanghai is proud to have created partnerships with esteemed organizations and clubs worldwide. Our Distinguishing Programmes help make the WISS education a unique learning experience that spans beyond classroom walls. WISS’s collaboration with International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) provides additional learning and experience in the theatre world. We are delighted to announce that we will host a new ISTA festival in March 2024.
Contributed by Ana Pasti, MYP/DP Theatre Teacher at the Western International School of Shanghai
Click here to see more pictures of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
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