If you have ever received an email from Director of Drama, Nigel Williams, you will notice that there is a little picture at the bottom of the page, of a man in a fez, accompanied by the phrase “as if by magic”. In the World of Williams a lot happens “as if by magic” but those of us who work with him
would like everyone to know – just before he leaves us – that it isn’t magic at all… simply the product of someone who doesn’t know how to stop working. Nigel is leaving us this summer, after an incredible 16 years, to go to Chadwick School in Los Angeles – where we wish him all the best of everything.
But what has he done for us since he came to Gordonstoun in August 1996? With no
apologies for the long list, he has:
• Delivered excellent Drama lessons, of course, and
been a dedicated Duffus House tutor.
• Produced, directed and supported a million
curricular and extra-curricular productions in
school, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on tour
around the UK and America.
• Taken students to see professional theatre locally
and further afield to London, so they can get
the best experience of large-scale professional
• Re-produced MasterMind in Chapel every two years
with staff and student contestants.
• Scared us witless in his Sixth Form lectures on the
• Produced Staff Shows for everyone’s delight and
entertainment – and absolutely no embarrassment
• Brought YouTube into learning every week on a
• Been an avid supporter of the Eurovision Song
Most importantly, however, he was involved in the design and building of the new Ogstoun Theatre.
This is quite an important detail. Opened officially by The Princess Royal in Autumn 2005, Nigel
was central to literally putting the theatre on the Gordonstoun map, and “on the map” metaphorically too. Ogstoun Theatre provides an amazing, adaptable space for teaching the myriad classes that are
driven (by Nigel) daily, and transforms into a well-equipped specialist space, much admired by the numerous touring theatre groups. Gordonstoun has become well known for its excellence in the Performing Arts, and it is important that it is known how much Nigel has dedicated his time and effort to creating outstanding theatre. Sarah DaBell, Head of Dance, has been at Gordonstoun just a wee bit longer than Nigel, and so remembers the impact of “the early years”. One production that has great resonance is “Asleep Under the Dark Earth” – it was performed not only in the Services Centre (pre-Ogstoun Theatre days), but was Nigel’s first Gordonstoun production to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was also selected to play at the National Theatre, in London, as part of the BT
“As if by magic”? No. By Nigel Williams