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Warwick drama societies have maintained a reputation for high standards and exciting programmes, demonstrating that they are a key part of the performance ecosystem at the University of Warwick. As part of the Warwick 2065 research project and to coincide with the 50th Anniversary celebrations we have compiled a report which tracks the development of the drama societies. In the report we assess what role drama societies play in the performance culture at the University, and evaluate the impact that drama society involvement has on student experience. Clem Garritty’s artwork is based on these findings.

Through consulting the Students’ Union’s material archives and Warwick Arts Centre reports, distributing questionnaires, and conducting interviews it has become clear that drama societies helped to establish a performance ecosystem at the University, long before the Arts Centre was conceived. The evidence shows that drama societies have always been organisations which were known for excellence. The drama societies provided a place for learning as well as a community of friends for students to rely on and continue far beyond University.

Future research should involve an examination of the membership of these societies and assess how accessible they are. Through our research it has become apparent that the competitive nature of the societies has put people off from joining, and that membership tends to be made up of people from English and Theatre courses. I think it is important that drama societies make themselves a welcoming place for all students. As we look to the future, the University of Warwick continues to produce stellar student work and the community is as active as ever.

Download the pdf here: (PDF Document)

Research by Amanda Fawcett (English, 2015)