21 Futures

Angst-ridden, self-mocking and desperately ambitious, this dystopian comedy pokes fun at the young, the old and everyone in between. Dysfunction abounds and nothing makes very much sense any more in this hilarious comedy for the alternative age.

39 Steps

Gasp in astonishment at the breathtaking adventures of our dashing hero Richard Hannay as he grapples with dastardly murderers and double-crossing secret agents. In this revival of the hit Town and Dean play.

African Drawing and Dance

Work with professional artist Cags to create new work inspired by South African art.African Masks and Dance Learn about African art and decorate your own masks with geometric designs.


Ever wondered what it takes to become an architect? This informative workshops with leading architect Josh McCosh will tell you everything you wanted to know!

Art & Science

Join Nick Fisher for a fascinating talk about the relationship between Science and Art


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

Campus Walk & Sketch

Following a walking tour of the campus appreciating the fine architecture on show, students will then position themselves outside on The Close to create an architectural sketch of the chapel, porridge and School House. There is no finer building in Rugby to try and draw.

Cancer Research UK: FUNdraising – Careers, Volunteers and how to Fundraise for Charity

Learn how Cancer Research UK support people in the community raising money to help beat cancer.Joining in will give you the opportunity to learn more about the fundraising work of the charity, plan an event & discover how we communicate our science with fun, interactive activities.

Cancer Research UK: Research Scientists

At this session, you will learn more about what cancer is and how it develops, and hear what it’s like to work in a laboratory and in a hospital from our speakers. They will discuss how lots of different researchers are working together to understand cancer and develop better treatments to help patients.


Hear some of the country’s top singers and lutenists perform music by Monteverdi and others along with some of the school’s best singers and guitarists.


Have a laugh trying your hand at this traditional Gaelic form of dancing in this workshop so you’re ready for next Hogmanay!

Chilli Monologue challenge

Yes, this year we are actually doing it! Watch staff wince and whimper in pain as they compete to stay the course delivering Shakespeare’s finest soliloquies whilst eating the hottest chillies!

Chinese Dance 

Join professional performance artists in bringing a traditional Chinese dragon to life.

Clare McCall Devising Masterclass: Devising from a Stimulus 

Devise your own pieces of drama from a stimulus; learn new creative skills in this workshop with professional theatre practitioner Clare McCall 


Build confidence and non-verbal communication skills in this fun, comic workshop with actor, director and English teacher Mr Jaspers.


It’s 1940 and the country is at war. Learn how the brilliant minds at Bletchley Park helped us to victory and gave birth to modern computing.

Comic Con 

A celebration of everything great about pop culture. At Rugby Comic Con, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the world of your favourite characters and stories from games and comics.


Can you rustle up a tapas dish or flip a good pancake? If not, join Ms Burrows and Holroyd for a fun cookery workshop to lean how!

Creative Writing

Join members of our high-flying creative writing group, with published poet Alix Scott-Martin, in an hour of fun and inspiring creative writing 

Cricket Commentary

Learn how to commentate on a live sports fixture with BBC Sport Correspondent Hugh Ferris www.hughferris.com

Cryptic Crosswords for Beginners

No friends? No life? Come along to this, the most uncool workshop in the festival, and take the first steps into an addiction that could blight your entire life.

CSI Forensic Science 

A crime has been committed and the group must work together to piece together the evidence.

Dance Showcase

Join us for this unique opportunity to see some of the school’s most advanced dancers performing in a range of styles from contemporary to classical ballet. 

Design your own T-Shirt 

Your chance to create your own wearable work of art using a heat press to transfer your custom design

Divine Comedy: Exploring Dante

This workshop looks at Dante’s great medieval poem as a sort of computer game, with different levels to work through.


Come along and learn the basic rules of the very accessible sport of Dodgeball. We will do some work on the 5Ds- Dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge. Then play some games to see who will be the last team and player standing.

Dolly Alderton

Join us for this unique event to hear the multi-talented author, journalist and presenter Dolly Alderton talk about her life and work. www.dollyalderton.com

Drama Scholars

Join some of Rugby School’s senior Drama Scholars – who have been leading theatre workshop all year at the Bloomsbury Festival in London and with local school groups – in a fun group improvisation workshop

East Side Gallery—Graffiti Spray-can rebellion! 

Create your own homage to the art of the Berlin Wall. Instruction, history and materials supplied.

Elaine Ackers Cello

Get to know a bit more about this incredible instrument and hear some of the most stunning music ever written for it in this inspiring interactive concert


Ever wanted to hold a bird of prey? Get up close with raptors and learn how these incredible creatures have been used over the years, as well as how many of today’s phrases comes from the fascinating world of Falconry!

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…

Festival Magazine 

Budding journalists will enjoy dashing around as many festival workshops and performances as they can and sending in their written reviews by the deadlines. See your work published on the festival website!


Be part of the biggest event at the festival, as over 160 of you form a flashmob to kick off our Cancer Research UK comedy night on The Close

Frantic Georgina Lamb

A Frantic Assembly inspired DevisingWork with one of the founding members of theatre company Frantic Assembly in a practical physical theatre workshop. Georgina is a choreographer, actor and director. She is creative associate of Frantic Assembly. 

Gandini Juggling

The incredible artists from Gandini who are performing at this year’s festival are here to give you some expert tuition on juggling. So if you are already decent you can learn new tricks, or if you’ve never juggled, come along and have a go!

Get Creative!

Create something unique and beautiful! Unlock your creativity Workshops are a wonderful way to explore your creativity, make new friends, learn new skills and relax away from everyday life. Enjoy a fun way for you to learn and have a go in various creative skills.

Hands-On Brass

This trumpet workshop will literally blow your mind – it’s going to be loud! Our very own brass professional Ian Foster will bring a collection of horns for you to have a blow on even if you’ve never had a go before. This hands-on workshop will create a massed trumpet ensemble from beginners!

Hispanic Art 

Get yourself inspired by artists, such as Velázquez, Dalí, Goya or Miró. Then draw, cut and paste, deform or reform particular features to transform their art into your own.

Hometown Glory

This last night show is the number 1 award-winning tribute to Adele performed with live band and a warm up set by our very own sixth form student band

Iodine Clock 

Create an iodine clock! By combining different volumes and concentrations of reactant, it is possible to control the appearance of the blue black colour of the starch – iodine complex.

Jazz Impro and NYJO

Work with Mr Brown and Mr Davey on your jazz skills then work with internationally renowned trumpeter and conductor Mark Armstrong and the incredible National Youth Jazz Orchestra, ending with a gig where you get to play alongside the full NYJO band.

Kitchen Chemistry 

Ever wanted to make spun sugar baskets, honeycomb and/or ice cream, using liquid nitrogen? Now’s your chance!


Work with some of our new LAMDA tutors, professional actors and theatre makers in these on your feet theatre workshops which will help you to express yourselves more confidently and think more creatively in a range of situations.

Laura Neal

This early evening panel conversation sees writer Laura Neal and actor Jojo Macari – both of whom recently worked on the hit Netflix series ‘Sex Education’ – talk about their work in TV and film.

Lego Shakespeare

Come and collaborate to direct, produce, and voice your own stop-motion film interpretations of classic Shakespeare plays.

Lucky Dip

It’s what it says on the tin! Take a chance and do the forfeit, just don’t get arrested!

Many Moons

With an incredible script and an extremely talented cast of Rugby School actors, Many Moons is an extremely tense and profound play, with its elements of humour, is beautiful yet slightly unnerving. Directed by Kim Thompson

Masterchef with Chartwells

Learn to make amazing dishes with the school’s top chefs, and impress your parents this summer by rustling up something tasty!

Matthew Sharp workshops

Work with the amazing theatre director, actor and musician Matt Sharp to develop confidence, communication and performance skills and learn to tell your story www.matthewsharp.net

Merchant of Venice

Join some of F and E Block’s best actors as they preview scenes from Shakespeare’s King Lear before transferring the show to the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry as part of the Shakespeare for Schools Festival in November. Directed by Tom Eyre-Maunsell

Mini Cities

Re-create some of London’s most iconic buildings in miniature and produce a city street on the close. Utilising a range of modelling techniques, we will build the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the Shard and explore changes in architecture over the past centuries.

Monologue Slam

Join some of Rugby School’s most talented young actors, many of whom are current LAMDA students in a back-to-back celebration of all things monologue. Directed by Kim Thompson.

Morris Dancing 

Discover one of English folk history’s finest traditions with live band Frolicking Pete and the Fumbling Fingers. Have fun, increase your fitness and improve your movement skills in this energetic workshop.


Our student Dance Company works with internationally renowned Motionhouse, Rugby School’s ensemble in residence, see them perform at 3.45 in New Quad.

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Following 2017’s mayhem with axes, drawknives and very big mallets, for this Festival, we are going to be making earthen daubs and plasters and learning to render a wall. If you have ever wanted to dance barefoot in mud, straw and horse-poo, this is the workshop for you!

My Kind of Michael

Ever since he was a kid, Nick has loved Michael Barrymore. In this heartfelt tribute, Nick invites you to experience the turbulent love affair between entertainer and audience. Nick uses his critically-acclaimed storytelling style and Barrymore’s iconic shticks, to weave his own story alongsideBarrymore’s dramatic rise and fall. With live music and gags aplenty, it promises to be ‘Alwight!’ www.nickcassenbaum.com

Nick Cassenbaum Comedy Playwriting and Street Theatre

Join Festival on The Close resident writer, actor and all-round comic genius Nick Cassenbaum for this foray into the world of comedy writing on Monday and Street Theatre on Tuesday www.nickcassenbaum.com


This headline evening concert features the finest young jazz musicians in the UK

One Man Band

Spend an hour with the amazing pop musician Thom Kirkpatrick in this hugely creative music workshop. www.thomkirkpatrick.com

Poetry Slam

Sit back and soak up the atmosphere in the chapel as poetry sings about the building. Hear some of the world’s best poetry performed by talented Rugby School students.

Power of Bagpipes

An insight into all aspects of the The Great Highland Bagpipe and Highland Drumming. From the instrument’s humble beginnings, to their military importance during decisive battles and great wars and, on up to the modern day.

Roman Cooking 

Cooking authentic Roman dishes from 2000 years ago, using the original Roman recipe book of Apicius.

Roman Mosaics Tesserae

Get inspired by Roman Art in this fascinating workshop with Rugby’s very own expert Ms Harris

Rugby FM Broadcast 

The Festival on the Close takes over Rugby FM for a day! Fancy being a radio presenter? Broadcast live to the world on digital radio and learn the tricks of the trade in this unique workshop with Rugby FM DJ Jason Moss.

Sara Page Devising/Physical Theatre

Devise something new combining text and movement to tell stories or communicate ideas, themes and characters in this fun drama workshop with theatre maker Sara Page

Shadow Maker

At the end of World War II, Oppenheimer was one of America’s preeminent physicists. By 1953, he was denied security clearance amidst allegations that he was a communist. He prioritised his loyalties with a moral ambiguity. The shadow of his legacy lingers around the world today. A brand new play by Nick Fisher with original music by Rob Colley


Join the award-winning cast of Showstopper the improvised musical who are running workshops and performing as our headline show on Wednesday

Slime Making 

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

Stage Combat & Fight Choreography 

An introduction to basic stage combat techniques lead by Film actor and stunt combat specialist, Joel Grizzle. This workshop will involve learning a basic fight routine from scratch.


You get to Stomp on stage with the cast of Stomp! 

StrangeFace Mask

Join award-winning theatre company StrangeFace for an incredible mask workshop www.strangeface.co.uk

Team of the Decades

Play a different type of game with actor and theatre maker Will Dickie in this fantastic interactive outdoor performance about sport, finding yourself and being part of a team. www.willdickie.co.uk

Those Left Standing 

Rosie Pegna’s brand new play examines the lives of junior doctors. Support this young cast and writer in her first ever public performance of a brand new play 

Tied and Dyed

A summer fashion must, whether it be a vibrant t-shirt with matching socks, or colourful trousers you fancy making, come along and explore this expressive art form.

Tom Toland

Join the Drama Department’s newest recruit Tom Tolond for a workshop which will help you with confidence, public speaking, acting, devising and many other creative skills.


Build a medieval weapon of war and fire it at the other team.

Ukelele Ensemble

Geoff Tooley’s Ukulele Workshop is open to any age and requires no previous knowledge or skill!This workshop is 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. 

West End to Broadway

Enjoy an evening of musical theatre treats with our talented students’ own interpretations of some of their favourite showstoppers

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

Wing Chun

Have a go at this Southern Chinese Kung Fu style martial art

Writing for the Arts

Join Guardian journalist and writer Stephen Armstrong for a fascinating workshop about how to write for the arts www.theguardian.com/profile/stephenarmstrong

Yoga for all

Take some time out to come and have a good stretch, test your balance and have a little ‘you’ time. Yoga is a wonderful way to awaken your body and your mind so why not join in. Suitable for every single body. Mats are provided. Wear something you can easily move in and bring a smile.


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 fs@rugbyschool.net and we will contact you with more details. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below.


live on stage with the cast of STOMP 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


dramatic crime scenes using forensic science or work out how to build a life-size trebuchet


how to write a stand-up routine with professional comedians or to improvise a jazz solo with NYJO

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 fs@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