Click to read in layout form: Interview
Nigel Williams spent 16 years as drama director at the renowned Gordonstoun School in northern Scotland before heading to Chadwick School in fall 2012. Though Scotland and California are far from similar when it comes to things like weather and topography, Williams says Chadwick is already starting to feel like home.
Like Chadwick, Gordonstoun School is a member of the Round Square consortium and shares a tremendous commitment to internationalism, service, and learning through experience. Williams himself visited the Chadwick campus in 2009, and says he felt an instant connection with the school and the greater Chadwick Community.
“The parent body, especially, was incredibly gracious during our stay,” Williams says. “Coming from a boarding environment like Gordonstoun, that was
something new for me.”
Drama has a longstanding tradition at Chadwick School thanks to founder Margaret Chadwick and her commitment to the performing arts. Williams plans to strengthen that tradition by creating a core academic curriculum for dramatics,while simultaneously raising the profile of the school’s outstanding performing arts program throughout the surrounding community.
Williams grew up in a working class family in England, and unlike many drama teachers, does not have a background in acting. Instead, he says, he’s chosen to focus on teaching and channeling his love of performance through production and direction.
“I love watching my students change, explore, and discover through performing arts,” Williams says. “I wouldn’t be teaching after all these years if I didn’t believe the dramatic process could create life-changing experiences for young people.”
Williams says he plans to utilize the tremendous resources available on the Chadwick campus, including theGeoffrey Alan Laverty Center and Rosenwald Amphitheater, to create an academic program that is not only outstanding, but also accessible to all students. Chadwick students will begin working with Williams as early as sixth grade as a way to encourage the love of drama from a young age.
Though Williams only arrived on campus in September, he’s already off and running with well-received productions, including a 1970s-esque disco version of Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors” and a Middle School production of the popular musical “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat.” In the spring, Williams will launch an Upper School production of the award-winning musical “Blood Brothers.” Visit www.chadwickschool.org for a full list of upcoming performances.