The Arts bring many opportunities for boys to develop their creative talents.
The Art School and the QEII Theatre are open for recreational use, with a member of staff available to supervise. Students are welcome to use the facilities for their own projects, whether privately or academically motivated.
In their first two terms at Winchester, all boys explore the essential disciplines of painting, drawing and printmaking. This enables them to make an informed choice about whether they wish to undertake a GCSE course in Art.
Design & Technology is an excellent alternative option for boys of a technical or practical mindset.
Winchester does not offer examined courses in Drama: the appetite for theatre is resultantly all the more passionate. Boys may, as an extra, prepare for LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) grade exams with a visiting professional.
Boys can focus on a specific media or theatrical specialism, training to a high standard in:
Abstract Painting, Acting, Ceramics, Creative Theatre Technology, Directing, Drawing, Etching, Fashion Design, Film Installations, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Wood Block Printing
Our boys inhabit inspirational natural and built environments. This is complemented by the heritage resources in the Treasury, as well as the school’s collections of paintings and rare prints. These collections have inspired generations of Wykehamists including, more recently, a classicist with a passion for fashion design. His textile studies benefitted from direct access to our casts from the British Museum’s Parthenon marbles.
Pupils of the Art School enjoy large, well-equipped studio spaces, divided into specialist areas of paint, print and sculpture. The conversion of the school's 1870s romantic neo-mediaeval sanatorium has provided us with a spacious, well-lit destination for creative students. The Art School Library contains over 2,000 books, DVDs and magazines covering all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and architecture. Boys may borrow a variety of equipment for film and photography, and objects for still-life drawing.
The QEII theatre, opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1982, is the main venue for dramatic endeavour. It has a proscenium stage, an auditorium of 240 seats and state-of-the art digital lighting and sound systems.
It is staffed by a theatre manager, a wardrobe manager, and members of the Drama Department. There is also a weekly
Two competitions provide opportunities for all and promote a healthy competitive spirit. Both were established by the former pupils of Graham Drew, Director of Art School 1958-1980. The Drew Travel Award provides financial assistance to boys who wish to visit areas of cultural importance. It normally involves pairs of Wykehamists painting, sketching or taking photographs to record their travels. They then submit a written journal and present an exhibition of their work.
The Drew Jug Competition is an annual inter-house contest involving all the boys and Housemasters in the preparation of a creative visual statement. A professional artist is invited to adjudicate. The much-coveted Silver Jug is used by the winning house when dining. The artwork is then installed in the house.
Each year boys participate in around ten theatrical productions. A school play takes place in March and each house presents a play roughly every three years. Plays directed by senior boys are a longstanding tradition, as is a studiedly diverse repertoire. Each summer there is a Junior Play Festival, in which the first years of each house perform a thirty-minute play produced by fourth years. Visiting workshops by professional practitioners are often arranged for particular productions.
Female roles are often played by girls from St Swithun’s or Peter Symonds College, and there is a close partnership with Blue Apple Theatre Company. Boys often entertain residential homes with songs and sketches as part of their community programme work.
Various Dramatic and Artistic clubs, societies and activities provide multiple opportunities for creative endeavour.
“The breakthrough moment where boys realise the potential for a project is quite a privilege to witness.”
1st March 2019
On Friday six boys took part in the final of the school’s art history prize, now in its fifteenth year. Guest adjudicator for the evening was former Collegeman, Professor Stephen Bann, one of the country’s most distinguished art historians.
2nd October 2018
Jesse Leroy Smith, artist in residence at Winchester College, will exhibit an immersive arcade of images commemorating cultural heroes, friends, family and strangers.