Visual and Performing Arts

Visual and Performing Arts is a very important part of the DNA of Dulwich. Dulwich College was founded by the Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn, who, through his association with Christopher Marlowe and Philip Henslowe, took the theatres on London’s Bankside by storm, with a series of thrilling and groundbreaking plays, before going on to found our school.

Edward Alleyn’s passion and creative legacy continues at our school, more than four hundred years later. The arts are a staple part of school life at Dulwich International High School Suzhou.  We continually devote significant resources to creating unique opportunities for all of our students to experience every aspect of the arts. We are committed to providing a comprehensive arts Programme as part of a holistic education, designed to equip our students with the skills they need to achieve lifelong success.

The arts are an integral part of the academic curriculum, which our students study throughout their school life. Every term, we carefully plan a vibrant arts culture of visiting professional arts practitioners, events and performances, in order to enhance and develop both the academic curriculum as well as the Co-curricular student life.

A single school doesn’t have the ability to provide the opportunities that our school can (as part of the Dulwich College International network). Some of the opportunities we offer, such as the annual Dulwich Science Art Photography Competition and the Dulwich Festival of Music, focus on a single artistic discipline. However, other events, such as the Diversity Series, encompass a wide range of activities and skills. We take great pride in the relationships we have cultivated with top artistic and educational institutions from around the world. This allows us to give our students direct exposure and access to creative industries, while simultaneously helping them to develop transferable skills that will prepare them for life in an indefinable future when they leave Dulwich.


Music plays a major role in education at Dulwich International High School Suzhou. Music improves teamwork skills and enhances self-discipline through rehearsals and playing as part of an ensemble. Performances teach our students to conquer their fears and take risks. There is also some evidence that early musical training can help develop the brain areas associated with reasoning and language development.

Learning to play a musical instrument engages with the brain in a way that nothing else can. Music stimulates the brain in many different areas and there is growing evidence that musical minds function more effectively than their nonmusical counterparts in the classroom. Students who study music, on average achieve better grades in school and get better results on standardized tests like the SAT.

Our Schools supports music through formal concerts and ad hoc performance opportunities, such as our “Performance Corner”, where anyone can perform. Group-wide music events include the Dulwich Festival of Music, ISCMS and Diversity.


While Drama is not an examination subject, it is an important core subject at Dulwich International High School Suzhou, taken by every student in the school. Drama helps them to prepare for life after Dulwich.  We encourage students’ full engagement with Drama not only to improve their levels of confidence and performance skills but also to develop communication skills, social abilities, self-discipline and leadership skills. The performing arts helps them to explore the world that they live in. It gives them insights into other cultures, as well as the opportunity to take risks and truly express themselves.

Every year, our students take part in a wide range of external drama festivals across Asia, working with professional directors, writers, actors, and theatre companies. As part of the Dulwich group of Schools, Dulwich International High School Suzhou benefits from a partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company who regularly visit for week-long residencies.

Art and Graphics

The Art Department at Dulwich International High School Suzhou encompasses both Fine Art and Graphic Design and Communication. Both subjects are taught at IGCSE and A-Level. Our art facilities are second to none and support a wide range of artistic activities ranging from drawing and painting to sculpture and ceramics and include print-making facilities as well as digital imagery, film and video. Our Art and Design students participate in a diverse range of internal and external exhibitions and festivals.

The importance of graphic communication cannot be understated in the Art department. The A level course was introduced two years ago and has been a considerable success. Over the course of those two years, our students have gone on to study graphic communication or related subjects in some the UK’s and the USA’s top universities. This year we are introducing graphic communication at IGCSE with the view to creating a more solid platform for those advancing to A-level. Our graphics students routinely produce portfolios that display both exceptional quality and a real breadth of graphic communication.


While film making isn’t actually part of the curriculum at Dulwich International High School Suzhou, the annual video challenge is, without doubt, one of the most popular events in the school. Our students embrace it and leverage the transferable skills they have developed in other Artistic disciplines, in order to produce stunning film work. Many of the Co-Curricular activities we offer are film-related and offer students the opportunity to improve their visual literacy skills. Our school, as part of the DCI network, also has the opportunity to work with visiting animators, artists and professional film directors directly connected with the film industry each year.


Our School also offers plenty of opportunities for students to engage in dance, both through our Co-curricular activities Programme and our arts “Diversity” Programme. We have an ongoing collaborative relationship with the University Of Auckland Dance Studies Programme, who offer performance opportunities and residencies each year. Groups of students regularly form dance groups and delight audiences frequently at our talent shows! Dance provides our students with a different way of moving that allows them to use their body as an instrument of communication and expression. Dance helps our students to learn the value of teamwork. It improves both their improvisational skills and their ability to focus. Dance has the power to help students to think and learn in new ways.

Group Events in the Arts


The DCI group as a whole is able to provide Arts-based group-wide activities that are beyond the scope of other schools. For example, our Diversity Programme includes workshops, performances and residencies from world-renowned musicians, directors, actors, dancers, film producers and artists, who tour our group of schools and help develop our student’s skills each year.

The International Schools Choral Music Society

The International Schools Choral Music Society (ISCMS) is one of the largest music festivals in Asia, and Dulwich International High School Suzhou is proud to be a key supporter, participant and host over the past years. Over 20 schools across Asia are part of ISCMS.   World-class professional musicians, conductors and composers are attracted to the annual festival and the prospect of working with the 400 gifted students who take part. Concerts are held in top professional venues such the Suzhou Culture and Expo Centre.

The Annual Dulwich Shakespeare Festival

The annual Dulwich Shakespeare Festival draws Drama students from across the DCI network together so they can produce and perform their own unique interpretations of Shakespeare productions, as they participate in a wide range of theatre workshops during the week. Throughout the festival, The Royal Shakespeare Company collaborates with us, giving our students and staff the opportunity to work with professional actors, directors and workshop leaders.

The Science Art Photo Competition

Photography is also an important part of life at Dulwich International High School Suzhou. The Dulwich Science Art Photography Competition is an incredibly popular event each year, producing outstanding contributions from our students, staff and faculty members. Every year students, staff and faculty members from Dulwich International High School Suzhou have ranked amongst the winning entries!

Video Challenge

Every year Dulwich students and staff look forward to Video Challenge with a sense of eager anticipation and excitement. Video Challenge provides a great showcase for our student’s cinematography and filming skills as well as their performance, production and scriptwriting abilities. A glamorous Oscar-style awards ceremony is staged in the school, which never fails to provide an entertaining evening.