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inter-School Drama Awards

Future iSDAs – Bigger and Better

The Rudolph Walker Foundation has some great news. Based on conversations and feedback from friends, supporters and well-wishers, we have decided to review the inter-School Drama Awards. As a result of the changes we will be bringing forward, the Awards will not take place in 2024. Instead, we will use the time to consult with schools, broaden our reach, and examine the competitive nature of the project.

When iSDAs return in 2025, they will be more dynamic and supportive, offering young people a more rewarding experience. In the meantime all comments are welcome, please email or use our online contact form.

We look forward to receiving your comments, suggestions and feedback.


What is it?

The Rudolph Walker inter-School Drama Awards (iSDA) is a nationwide competition which has taken place every year since 2011. Following an open call for submissions, 11-18-year olds across the country submit a 60 second video presentation as to why they should be selected to take part. 6 schools are chosen to participate in the finals and are matched with a celebrity actor/mentor to help them develop a 10 minute play about a subject of their choice. The finished pieces are performed at a central London theatre before an audience of parents, friends, actors, industry professionals, dignitaries and the public.
Awards are given for the best script, the most promising actors and actresses and the best production.

Who’s it for?

School students from across the country, aged 11 to 18 can take part by responding to an open call for submissions. They might be referred by their teachers or decide to reach out themselves.

Students need not be studying drama – a willingness to try something new, find something personal or interesting to say, and create a performance is all that’s needed. It’s their chance to find their voice, discover new skills and shine- whether that’s behind the scenes or on the stage.


The aim is not to scout for the next soap star, but to search for the talent that individuals already have, and let that blossom. Once they have developed their final performance piece the young people will have built up important personal attributes such as confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to work as a team, as well as gain a wealth of practical skills relating to the performance arts.

Rudolph Walker CBE inter-School Drama Awards 2023

Winners iSDA 2023:


Best Production: FreshSteps Independent School, mentor: Simone Lahbib
Play name: Expectations
Best Script: Bishop’s Stopford, mentor: Stevie Basuala
Best Actress: Melody Anderson-Sceats from Roding Valley High School, mentor: Darren Hart
Best Actor: Theodore Williams from Mulberry Woodside Academy School, mentor: Tanya Franks

Schools who took part, NAME OF PLAY, mentor

Mulberry Woodside Academy School, FACADE, Tanya Franks
FreshSteps Independent School, EXPECTATIONS, Simone Lahbib
Abbey College Ramsey KILLER WHALE Emily Johnstone
Forest Gate Community School, A RIGHT ROYAL PALAVER, Delroy Atkinson
Roding Valley High School, A DROPPED STITCH, Darren Hart
Forest Hill School, A WORKING TITLE, Ellen Thomas
Bishop’s Stopford, CYCLES OF SILENCE, Stevie Basuala

The show which was hosted by Kat B also featured performances from Platinum Academy of Performing Arts who received a standing ovation & our very own Bridging the Gap poets Shiloh Evans & Alex Allen.

The iSDA’s can only happen with the help & dedication of many individuals & we would like to thank our mentors Delroy Atkinson, Stevie Basaula, Darren Hart, Emily Johnstone, Tanya Franks, Simone Lahbib, Ellen Thomas & trustee Ricky Norwood for stepping in a the last minute.

Our judges: Judith Jacob, Rhys Lanahan, Scott Maslen, Keith Palmer & Anton Phillips

Producer: Sarah Eckert Moore
Project Manager: Lucy Vandi
Technical & Company Stage Manager: Alison Pottinger
Production assistant & brochure design: Zara Laws
Production assistant: Alexandra Saran

Island Flavours for catering, Karen Allen, Nana Antwi-Nyanin, Rachel Cato Tyson, Sara Cato Barrett, Chloe Hannah Cato, Eastside Young Leaders Academy, Xanthe Pitt, Jan Sharkey-Dodds & a special thank you to Mervin Cato

We thank you for all that you do & sincerely apologise to those that we have missed but we love you all & are forever grateful.

For the winners & to watch the schools performances & awards please click here


Ricky Norwood – Actor/ iSDA Mentor

I’ve been working with iSDA for 3 years and the work they do has been phenomenal!
I have worked with young people that have been dealing with real life issues and complex home lives and have seen them
grow in confidence and self-belief. From the very shy non performer – which teachers say “they don’t normally perform” or
“get involved” – to self-harmers, those dealing with domestic parenting issues and in some rare dark cases having a
predator at home, having a working professional actor be in the school, in a safe place that iSDA provides, allows these
young people to express themselves freely without fear. Giving them a show on a real stage, surrounded by directors, casting
directors and actors they know and love, also gives them a goal to look forward to.
With all that as a foundation it allows the young people to a give rich, deep stories that comes from within and can help
themselves as well as those in the same age range, dealing with similar problems.
The actor/tutor can then give tips, tricks and tweaks that are not normally on the syllabus, giving those that are really
interested in pursuing acting encouragement and an insight into the business. Even those that don’t take acting on as a
profession take so much from the process. They get to look at problems from all angles, assessing them and helping them to
find a resolution. But most of all it shows them that the world that they are in, in the present, will not always be the world
they grow into.
They can be the creators of their own world. They can achieve their dreams whatever they are by using time, focus,
understanding and hard work.
In closing iSDA is a fantastic opportunity created by Sir Rudolph Walker CBE for actors to give back and for young people to
Long may it continue.
Thank you RWISDA and thank you Mr Walker!

Case Studies


‘London Boy’

B experienced great difficulty settling in school, frequently got into trouble, and was in danger of not finishing Year 10, at the time he became involved with the Rudolph Walker inter-School Drama Awards. The starting point was listening to Rudolph Walker in an assembly that he gave to launch the iSDAs. Rudolph gave the pupils an account of how he came to the UK and became an actor, and this inspired B to take part.

Read More…

Who’s it for?

R struggled to engage in activities and lessons which he had no passion for, and often found himself described as ‘loud, restless and energetic’ by his teachers. He ended up being labelled as a ‘disruptive’ student. In Year 9, however, R was introduced to the Rudolph Walker Inter School Drama Awards and was immediately captivated – at last he’d found his passion, his voice and his opportunity to shine.

Read More…

Past iSDAs


Upcoming Events


Rudolph Walker CBE’s 85th Birthday Extravaganza

Sat 28th, 2024

More Events…

Get Involved

If you would like your school to be involved in iSDA 2021 or you would like to make a general enquiry, wish to volunteer or would like information on how to sponsor, please use the contact form below.

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