With its themes of self-esteem, identity, prejudice, fake news and friendship, the award-winning stage musical Wicked has twice been voted ‘Best Theatre Production for Schools’ by teachers at the annual School Travel Awards. Wicked poses the question, ‘was the Wicked Witch of the West really wicked or the innocent victim of a corrupt regime?’
The production recently launched its Wicked Active Learning online education resource, delivering free teaching and learning classroom assets as well as information to support the organisation of school trips (including materials to assist in the completion of a risk assessment).
Wicked Active Learning provides more than 60% savings on class and year group tickets, as well as resources and activities to champion curriculum enrichment, literacy, creative writing, anti-bullying, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing, and self-confidence.
Inspired by “one of the most influential children’s stories of all time” (The Times), L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ (1900), Wicked takes learners on an unforgettable journey beyond the famous Yellow Brick Road, placing familiar characters in an original and riveting new story that serves as both a prequel and sequel to Baum’s classic tale.
Wicked Active Learning
The production’s Wicked Active Learning online resource has been created with teachers and educators, providing a range of creative and cross-curricular assets and activities to engage and inspire KS2+ learners in, and outside of, the classroom. Free lesson plans, script extracts, production images, and theatre-maker career videos support the delivery of SMSC, PSHE and Citizenship teaching, career pathways, and oracy as well as English, Music, Performing Arts and Art + Design programmes of study.
In support of Learning Outside the Classroom, Wicked Active Learning provides the opportunity for learners to experience and evaluate the live performance, music, dance, and spectacular design elements, as well as to attend exclusive workshops (Wellbeing, Anti-Bullying and Musical Theatre) and post-show Q&As.
“With themes of self-esteem, discrimination, and identity, ‘Wicked’ delivers an enriching live theatre experience that supports both the quality of education and personal development elements of the Ofsted framework and enhances our students’ level of cultural capital.”Head Teacher, All Saints School, Sheffield
Free downloadable lesson plans inspired by, and themed to, the production include:
- Anti-Bullying, in collaboration with the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
- Diversity + Inclusion, in collaboration with Twinkl.
- Fake News + Propaganda
- ESOL/EFL English
In support of English and Art + Design teaching, there are also written and visual resource packs for teachers, designed to inspire further lesson ideas. The 26-page English Teacher Resource Pack looks at the literary inspirations behind the musical, other famous prequels + sequels, the witches + wizards of myth and legend, the magical worlds of fantasy fiction, the history of magic, and the enduring legacy of Baum’s ‘Oz’.
The Art + Design Resource Pack looks at the production’s design elements, including set, costume and lighting.
The song ‘Defying Gravity’ is a set work for Pearson Edexcel GCSE Music, and music learners can experience the song live and watch a video where composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz discusses the musical themes and inspirations of his score, including ‘Defying Gravity’.
In partnership with the National Literacy Trust and children’s author Sharna Jackson (author of the best-selling ‘High-Rise Mystery’ series) Wicked Active Learning has launched the new school’s competition, Wicked Writers: Be The Change. Participating 9- to-14-year-olds are invited to write persuasively about something that they would like to change for the better, in their communities or in the world. Entries for the 2023 competition close on 31 March 2023.
Learning Outside the Classroom
A class or year group trip to Wicked provides an enriching live London theatre experience, supporting personal development, confidence, self-discipline, the capacity to think imaginatively and creatively, and the delivery of cultural capital. Benefits provided to schools/colleges include:
- Over 60% savings on class and year group tickets
- Free teacher ratios
- Extra tickets purchasable
- Free venue Welcome Video
- Free School Trip Guide including risk assessment supporting resources.
An outing to Wicked also provides the opportunity to visit one of London’s most unique theatres and heritage buildings, originally built as a ‘Super-Cinema’ in 1930. A detailed history of this majestic 2328-seat venue is included in the free resources.
The area surrounding the venue offers a wealth of additional opportunities for SMSC, PSHE, Citizenship, RE, History and British Values teaching, including:
- Buckingham Palace
- The Guards Museum
- Houses of Parliament
- Methodist Central Hall
- The Queen’s Gallery
- The Royal Mews
- The Supreme Court
- Tate Britain
- Westminster Abbey
- Westminster Cathedral
The production’s free 20-page School Trip Guide is designed to make any trip as easy-to-plan and enriching as possible, complete with arrival protocols, emergency procedures, a seating plan and risk assessment supporting materials. A venue Welcome Video shows the proximity to public transport as well as where coaches/minibuses can set down and pick-up directly outside the venue’s Vauxhall Bridge Road entrance.
School, youth, performance arts, and community group workshops are provided in partnership with Starling Arts. These official workshops, which are themed to, and exclusively authorised by, the production, can, subject to terms and conditions, be delivered in schools or pre-approved venues:
- Wellbeing: this 60-minute workshop immerses participants in the fantastical world of Wicked, exploring practical and meaningful ways to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. This workshop can also be adapted for teachers and school staff.
- Anti-Bullying: a unique 60–90-minute workshop exploring the theme of anti-bullying through a variety of specially selected games and exercises.
- Musical Theatre: the two-hour workshop is designed to introduce students to the multi-layered performance techniques crucial to performing in the West End.
The Anti-Bullying Workshop and Lesson Plan have been devised in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the charity Wicked has supported since 2007.
Adapted for the stage from Gregory Maguire’s acclaimed 1995 novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ (readers 16+) by writer Winnie Holzman and featuring songs by Stephen Schwartz, Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an initially unlikely and eventually profound friendship between two university students and how their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as ‘Glinda The Good’ and the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’.
The story’s key themes (being an ‘outsider’, finding oneself ostracised for being ‘different’ and the questioning of what makes a person ‘good’) continue to strongly resonate with learners. The notion of political leaders ruling through propaganda and ‘fake news’, and the corrupting nature of power, also remain pertinent classroom topics.
“Wicked Active Learning has been launched to support curriculum enrichment, personal development, cultural inclusion, and career pathways. We believe that creativity, and creative education, should be central to learning and do all we can to assist with, and encourage, cultural participation, particularly at a time when these areas are regretfully undervalued by Government.”Michael McCabe, Executive Producer, Wicked
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