Agar Art

Have you ever seen art created in a petri dish using living, growing microorganisms?

That's agar art! Creators use either naturally colourful microbes, or

genetically modified microbes, like the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as

'paint' and various types, shapes and sizes of agar as a 'canvas.' In fact, the

original agar artist was none other than Alexander Fleming himself!

Anti-racism and Football

Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) is the UK’s largest anti-racism educational charity. It was established in January 1996, thanks in part to a donation by then Newcastle United goalkeeper Shaka Hislop. Coupled with the power of football and his status as a role model, Shaka set out his vision that education could be an effective strategy in challenging racism in society. SRtRC will deliver a ‘Fans of The Future’ workshop followed by a football training session. 

Ballet with Birmingham Royal Ballet's Laura Tye

This is a dream workshop for anyone interested in core strength, stamina, coordination and raw, brute power.

It also happens to be led by one of the country's finest ballet dancers and foyer Birmingham Royal Ballet prima ballerina.

I know we have some strong girls who can do this. But are there any boys brave enough to try ballet?

Birmingham City Wrestling

Join Birmingham’s premier wrestling coach, James Ault, in an introductory session to

the art of wrestling.


Join Reena Tailor, Artistic Director of Bollywood Dreams, Birmingham’s premier dance

troop, in an introductory workshop to Indian dance.


A great chance to learn now to build a fire and light it using a variety of methods, Prepare and

cook food in an outdoor environment on an open fire. You’ll be taught different

fire lighting methods and then you will prepare and light your own fire and cook

a simple snack for you to eat.


Jane Lappage’s introduction to the ancient art of calligraphy. Students will produce

their own name card by the end of the class -- perfect for hanging on your dorm


Cardboard City

Students create a cardboard city in 'experiential learning' that will help them to

consider world poverty through creative means.


Join Pete and Gin Crewe for a brilliant and authentic workshop on traditional Scottish and Irish dance, ceilidh.

Chinese Dragon Dance

Dragon dances are performed to scare away

evil spirits. The dragon symbolises good luck, long life and wisdom. Using a

real Chinese dragon puppet, parasols, costumes and more, workshop participants

will learn the art and history behind this ancient tradition.

Chocolate Science

Officially voted as the best restaurant in Warwickshire, Café vin Cinq’s Michelin-starred

patisserie chef Else-Marie will show you how to temper chocolate in all its

glory. All students will leave with a bottle of hot chocolate, marshmallows,

and cookies, with a chance to taste everything along the way!


CircusMASH was founded in 2011 by Joseph Fearn, a travelling circus performer with a huge

passion for education. Over the last ten years MASH has created a space in

Birmingham for circus, individuality, celebration, skill, equality and magic.

Join CircusMASH and their monster truck for a mass juggling workshop.

Citizen Kane

Students will be looking at clips from Citizen Kane - regularly ranked as one of the

greatest of all time, and dissecting some of the ingenious techniques the

directors, screenwriters and actors adopt, before deciding why the film

continues to resonate so long after its first release. This workshop will give

an insight into filmmaking and offer useful tips for any would-be film

directors, writers or producers.


What makes something funny? Why do we laugh? How can we find joy in our own

ridiculousness? In this workshop you will be introduced to Clowning in an

energetic, fun, and safe environment, with next year’s Graduate Performing Arts Assistant, Sam.

Get ready to turn off your thinking brain and meet your most creative, energetic, and

hilarious self - your inner clown.

Creative Writing with Caroline Bird

English poet and playwright Caroline Bird grew up in Leeds, the daughter of noted

theatre director and producer Jude Kelly. Bird’s first collection of poems, Looking

Through Letterboxes (2002), was published when she was just 15. Her other

collections of poetry include Trouble Came to the Turnip (2006); Watering

Can (2009); The Hat-Stand Union (2013); In These Days of

Prohibition (2017), which was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and

the Ted Hughes Award; and The Air Year (2020). Join Caroline in a political,

thought-provoking creative writing workshop – one for all our budding

poets and playwrights.

Cryptic Crosswords for Beginners

No friends? No life? Come along to this, the most uncool workshop in the festival,

run by our very own Rev. Horner. and take the first steps into an addiction that

could blight your entire life.

Devising Theatre with The Wardrobe Ensemble

The Wardrobe Ensemble is a Bristol-based group of theatre artists working together

to make and tour new plays. They explore the big ideas of our time through

intimate human stories and bold imagery. 

Their show Education, Education, Education won a Fringe First, and

recently transferred to the West End. This

workshop will equip you with a series of tools and techniques that The Wardrobe

Ensemble use to devise their work. Through short devising tasks, students will

learn how to generate material quickly, create strong visual moments and

develop creative voices.

DJ School UK

Have a go at mixing and scratching on industry standard DJ gear with professional DJs.

Drag with King Hoberon

A practical, creative workshop giving a whistlestop tour of the world of drag in

the past, present, and future. Participants will learn some of the fundamentals

of drag and be set on course to create their own drag act.

Extreme Table Tennis

Join our resident table tennis expert, Amy Zhang, for a gruelling competition.

Fashion Show

Join us for the ever-popular Rugby School Fashion Show.

Maybe you’ll be the first to spot the next Vivian Westwood or Alexander McQueen…

Feathers of Daedalus Circus

Up-and-coming alternative circus troupe, Feathers of Daedalus, introduce

students to the art of the lollipop pole.

Filth Florists

Join Rosy from Filth - a flower studio based in South London, for a creative floral

workshop. Students will work with colourful dried flowers to make dreamy

bouquets which last forever. Think electric pink, coral, turquoise, lilac, and

fluffy, frilly, drama, all round a table with a knockout playlist (made by all

of us!). At the end of the workshop, students will have learnt how to arrange

flowers, and will have your own bouquet to keep.

Gecko Theatre Company

Gecko is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed physical theatre company,

led by Artistic Director Amit Lahav.

A Gecko show is visual, visceral, ambitious theatre crafted to inspire, move and

entertain. They strive to make their work wide open to interpretation and put

their audience at the heart of the narrative. Amit

has created an organic devising process that oscillates between intense periods

of experimentation, making brave leaps, failing and learning. It includes

choreography, writing, storyboarding and reflection. Every stage includes sonic

and technical development alongside the choreography. Join

Gecko for a full day workshop for an intensive introduction to their

experimental style of physical theatre, perfect for budding actors, dancers,

and theatre-makers.

Gender, Sexuality, and Identity

Join drag artist Helena Fox for a discussion-based workshop exploring different

aspects of LGBTQ+ identity and its representation in the media, from RuPaul's

Drag Race to the so-called 'dead lesbian trope'.

Gilchrist Masterclass

James Gilchrist is one of the world's best tenor singers with a stellar career on stage and in the recording studio.

He will be pushing our own Rugby School singers to their limits in this professional vocal masterclass.

So sit back and enjoy an hour of seriously fantastic singing.

Graffiti Stars

Work with a professional graffiti artist to create your own spray can art.

Guitar Concert

Spend a chilled out hour in the company of the school's amazing guitarists in an acoustic

gig that'll be guaranteed to give you goose bumps.


Join Heath and Iona in making hand-crafted jewellery using wire and beads. Every

student will take away their own piece of jewellery, whether it be earrings, a

ring, necklace or bracelet.

Kitchen Chemistry

Ever wanted to make spun sugar baskets, honeycomb and/or ice cream, using liquid

nitrogen? Now’s your chance, with our own Dr Morse!

Lucky Dip

Possibly the most popular workshop from 2017/18/19 and it's back for 2021!! Lucky Dip is exactly what you think it is.

Take a chance and pick a forfeit. Winner gets a fabulous prize every time!


Motionhouse, Rugby School’s ensemble in residence, creates and tours a wide range of

inspiring and powerful dance-circus productions to theatres and festivals in

the UK and across the globe. Their distinctive, highly physical style

integrates elements of circus and acrobatics with breath-taking dance to

surprise and delight audiences, using powerful narrative and incredible digital

imagery. Join Motionhouse for a challenging and gruelling physical workout.


Rugby’s own Nagarjuna Kadampa Centre for Modern Buddhism hold an introductory session

to meditation and how these mindful practices and techniques can be used in everyday life.

Middle Eastern Dance 

Join Rugby School's resident Middle Eastern dance expert, Mrs Baker, for an invigorating and active session. 

One Man Band

Spend an hour with the amazing pop musician Thom Kirkpatrick in this

hugely creative music workshop.


Join JUMP Parkour, one of the oldest parkour organisations in the UK, for an

introductory session that’ll use our school’s environment in a new way.

Perspex Drawing

After gaining her degree in Visual Communication, Illustration at Loughborough University in 2001, Jessica has worked on a range of private and commercial commissions, but has recently returned to working full time as an artist and illustrator. This will be the second time we welcome Jessica to the TRR, after the huge success of our first ever Comic-Con back in 2019. Students will express emotions, explore identity and encourage positivity through art.  

Piano Masterclass

Sit back and marvel at some of our top pianists being put through their paces by professional pianist, composer and OR Nathan Williamson.

Pins and Needles Puppetry

Pins and Needles Productions is an award-winning theatre company,

making imaginative work for a range of ages,

well known for their creative use of puppetry to tell stories. From giant polar

bears, to Chorus-lines of dancing penguins. From street-wise mice, to galloping

reindeers. Seeing a lifeless object begin to breathe, think and move is a

powerful thing. Join Pins and Needles for this Introduction

to Puppetry workshop where students will get the chance to work as a team to

animate puppets and build simple stories.

Pizza Time

Known as the best pizza maker in Warwickshire, Ergul Sahin (otherwise known as Mr.

Lazzolli) will teach you how to throw your own dough and the art of stone baked

pizzas. Devouring of pizza very much encouraged.

Political Art Installation with Eve Delaney

Eve is a professional artist and comedian, and combines the two through her

creation of provocative, political, and satirical collages. In this workshop

students will create a large-scale, site-specific piece, creating a big, multi-media

collage on a wall. focusing on the subject of mental health, and particularly

young people’s access to support and care in the UK.

Radio Broadcasting with Angela Lamont

With over 200 broadcast programmes and literally hundreds of conferences, award

ceremonies and live events under her belt, Angela Lamont specialises in

presenting science, technology and engineering. She has presented from BBC

Television Centre, Buckingham Palace, the top of a volcano in Japan and from a

fishing boat in a force 8 gale (whilst doing her own sound recording, as the

sound man was out of action below decks). Students will work with Angela to

create content for her radio show on Rugby Radio, to be broadcast the next day.


Head over to the pool for a raft-building challenge.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Leap Ensemble

This will be an experience to remember: an hour in the company of some of the country's finest young musicians alongside

some of Rugby School's own musical talent pool


Love skiing but don’t like the cold? Give rollerskiing a go with Rollerski Co Shop,

London’s biggest (and only...) snow-less cross-country skiing club.

Rugby Real Bread

Micro-bakery and marketplace stalwart Rugby Real Bread give students an

introduction to the intricate art of crumpet-making.

Rugby Unwrapped

Come along to this informal workshop by Rugby Unwrapped reduced-waste shop owners Clair and Sharon and find out more about fast fashion, greenwashing, food waste and single-use plastic (and how to avoid it), and contribute your ideas about how to make Rugby School cleaner, greener and kinder to the environment. 

Science behind Wine

Taste is a form of art and nowhere is this more significant than in the wine

industry. This workshop will use techniques from the Chemistry course to

explore some of the Chemistry behind wine.

Screen Masterclass

Join screen director, writer and editor Will Kenning for an intensive screen masterclass

for actors, writers and directors alike.

Amongst his commercial work, Will’s recent short film, ‘Geoff’

made the 2019 BAFTA long-list and picked up Best Short & Best Director at

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival 2018, while ‘The Legend of Bob Leonard’ won

best British Short at Satisfied Eye Festival in 2018 and has been an official

selection at over 25 international festivals since May 2017.

Screen Printing

Join Mr Cuff and Mr Ryan for a screen printing class –

and walk away with your own t-shirt!

Sheep, spinning, suits and Saville Row

Do you want to learn about the process of turning wool into handcrafted items by

spinning and weaving, and see live demonstrations of this happening? Local

spinners and tailors will demonstrate the art of weaving on their looms and

wheels. Come and learn more about why wool is so wonderful - this will be a

tactile and colourful session with many surprises.


Create your different types of slime with our very own mad professor, Mr Dhanda.

Spanish Cooking Club

Join our resident Spanish chef, Ms Alonso, in making (and eating) some delish and authentic dishes. 

Stand Up Comedy with Ken Cheng

An introduction to stand-up comedy!

In this workshop, Ken Cheng (star of BBC Radio

4's Chinese Comedian) will teach you how to go about writing your first

stand-up routine, as well as sharing insider tips that will demystify the world

of comedy.

Stop-Motion Animation

Learn about the history and workings of the animation process, animate yourselves,

model with plasticine and much more! The final film will be edited by Let’s

Animate’s professional stop-motion animator and uploaded to Youtube.

Sweet Art Patisserie

Stef at Rugby’s own Sweet Art Patisserie to learn how to decorate crazy and extravagant


Sword Stage Combat

Professional screen and stage fight director Sam Kahn will be introducing students to the

art of rapier single sword combat for film, TV and stage.

Tesserae: Roman Mosaics

Students will look at various ancient mosaics for inspiration and spend the session

following their creative whims in crafting their own.

The Incredible Machine with Dr Robinson

In Dr Robinson’s imaginative science workshop, students build a machine to send a

signal around the room. Great fun, and a good test of creativity, observation,

ingenuity and team-work.

Tie Dye

Join Ms Kaur and Ms Hampson for a tie dye class –

and walk away with your own t-shirt!


Join professional coach Annette Parker for a trampolining session in the Old Gym.


Geoff Tooley’s Ukulele Workshop is open to any age and requires no previous knowledge

or skill! This workshop will cover basic beginner chords, strumming, and teach

you some popular songs. Bring your ukulele if you have one, or we can provide a

ukulele to borrow for the workshop.

Upcycling Vintage

Fresh from working with Zandra Rhodes, Burberry and Alexander McQueen, print

specialist and founder of brand Dilly Makes Emmally Parsons comes to Rugby to show

students how to sustainably source and upcycle second-hand clothing.

Watercolour Collaging with Eve Delaney

Eve is a professional artist and comedian, and combines the two through her

creation of provocative, political, and satirical collages. This workshop will

focus on depicting figures and human forms in watercolour, and then building a

collaged backdrop for them to live in. The hope is to develop painting

techniques, as well as think about the political nature of collage art, and the

importance it has a technique in art through history.

Wand Combat

Professional screen and stage fight director Sam Kahn shows us the ropes of

wand combat - this one’s for the Harry Potter fans!

What’s a Greek Urn?

View an interesting range of authentic vase designs from the 5th century BC, before

embarking on the creation of a design of your own. Mr Day's workshop is back by popular demand.

Why The One You Like Never Likes You Back with Dr Richard Robinson

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. That’s why we are so

willing, so often, to throw ourselves at it so completely. And that’s why it

goes so horribly wrong so horribly often. Richard’s talk reveals the science of

Murphy’s Laws of love, explaining the tricks our desperate minds pull when

trying to cope with loeurve, from the first stumbling steps to the throes of

full-blown obsession, when common sense flies out of the window.

Wildcard Gig Music Theatre

Ever seen a piece of Gig Theatre? Ever heard of Gig Theatre? Ever wondered what Gig Theatre actually means? In this workshop, Wildcard will explore this emerging genre and equip the participants with the knowledge and understanding of how to begin creating their own pieces of Gig Theatre. Skilled facilitators, trained in the company's WILD method, will share the distinctive creative process behind blending live music, song and spoken text to create a unique theatrical experience that celebrates the live event and has the power to change perceptions of what theatre can be. 

Youth Activism

Join EDI campaigner Mariam Abdel-Razek for a provocative workshop on youth activism,

specifically focussing on how Rugby School students can make a change.

To view this list in combined ROUTES format please click here.


Practical hands-on workshops in a huge range of creative disciplines lie at the very heart of

The Festival on The Close

If your school would like to register interest in participating in our workshop programme free of charge, please email us in the first instance on tdc@rugbyschool.net and we will contact you with more details. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below.


live on stage with pro or in one of our comedy improvisation workshops


with internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble VOCES8 or in our choral concert


with the astonishing physical theatre company MOTIONHOUSE or even try your hand at Morris Dancing


complex problems and puzzles and learn about the science of chocolate!


how to write a stand-up routine with professional comedians or poetry with one of country's leading writers

Whatever you choose, we think there will be something for children of all ages to enjoy as part of our extensive festival workshop programme celebrating creativity, culture and community.

Get In Touch

If your school would like to register interest in participating in our workshop programme free of charge, please email us in the first instance on tdc@rugbyschool.net and we will contact you with more details. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below.


Rugby School,


CV22 5EH


+44 (0) 1788 556 216

© Festival on The Close 2019