What a busy start to the new term we’ve had here in Performing Arts!
Congratulations to all of our A Level drama students on their site-specific performances at the historic Elvaston Castle earlier in February. Despite the snowy forecast and freezing temperatures, the devised performances were a huge hit with the audience, which included invited members of the public. This particular unit of the course sees our students research the history and former residents of Elvaston, in order to provide a basis on which to create their practical pieces. The suitably grand Gothic Hall played host to the afternoon of performances, a brilliant day in an equally fantastic setting.
February has also been an eventful time for our Y11 GCSE drama students, who have been kept busy with their technical/dress rehearsals, in preparation for their final practical exams taking place in March. ‘Pressures to succeed,’ ‘body image/media influence,’ and ‘internet and mobile phone safety’ were the three themes initially explored by the groups, before deciding on which ideas to base their final theatre-in-education performance. With a background in educational theatre, it has been very interesting for me to be able to work with the groups during lessons and after school rehearsals – some very promising performances to look forward to with plenty of variety.
LAMDA examinations results are in… and they are absolutely brilliant, with a 100% pass rate of either a merit or distinction! Students who were entered at level 3 also earned UCAS points that can be carried forward to use on university/college applications in the future. The chance to take part in LAMDA examinations at school is another one of the brilliant opportunities offered by Friesland and the Performing Arts department, providing our students the chance to take control of their own performances. Of course our team of teachers have been working hard throughout the rehearsal process to give the candidates the help and support they need.
More fantastic opportunities this past month for our students to witness a variety of thought-provoking and opinion-generating theatre, with three theatre visits in February. Our year 12’s made the journey up to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, for an adaptation of Sarah Kane’s controversial play, ‘Blasted.’ Judging by the conversations and question session during the coach trip back to school, it certainly was food for thought! Our year 10’s ventured into Nottingham for a fantastic production of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ direct from London’s west end and our sixth formers were lucky enough to catch the fantastic ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ in Wolverhampton.
A big thank you to Mrs York for her continued hard work in some of our local primary schools; over the past half term she has been going into both Ashbrook Junior and Risley Primary Schools, in order to focus on their current curriculum in dance. Mrs York has very much enjoyed working with these pupils and it has given them a taste of what they can expect from Friesland Performing Arts in the future!
A handful of our year 12 drama students had the brilliant opportunity to help create and shape a media project in February, when Adam from ‘Film City’ visited us here at Friesland. Students took to the screen when they were asked to dramatise ‘PEP’ meetings; in which looked-after children attend regular sessions to help set up appropriate action plans. An insightful and worthwhile experience for all involved, well done and thank you to our students who participated.
The students in years 10, 11, 12 and 13 have been busy filming and editing their short films. Throughout this process they have used a range of equipment including a green screen and software to add special effects. There’s a great variety of original and creative films being made by both our BTEC and GCSE classes in years 10 and 11. Topics range from bullying to post-apocalyptic futures and genre based work including horror, sci-fi and teen comedies plus much more!
Year 12 have been investigating film noir and have now almost closed the case on their short film coursework. The standard of work produced by this year group is excellent – clearly, we have some very talented up and coming filmmakers. From dark and brooding thrillers, femme fatales and fall guys, to action packed fight scenes and twisted crimes of passion, the spectrum of original and creative ideas is truly impressive. Year 13 have been finalising their critical investigations into aspects of media study they are passionate about and are now well underway with their linked productions. The students have had to step up to the plate, particularly when writing their investigations that are expected to be degree level pieces.
The students have really raised the bar this year in all year groups. There’s a lively, creative and competitive atmosphere in the department. Students have also been sharing their work online via our YouTube channel where many of the films are receiving positive feedback. The crème de la crème of these student films will be showcased later in the year at an Oscar’s style ceremony with awards for a range of categories.
Looking ahead to the many things we are preparing for in Performing Arts this March…
- The music recital for our A Level and GCSE students will take place in the Performing Arts Centre on Thursday 5th March, an event that sees our students perform the practical pieces on which they are assessed – to a live audience! Tickets are only £1 on the door, with A level pieces starting at 6pm and the GCSE students taking to the stage from 7pm onwards; please come along and show your support!
- Final practical exams for our Y11 GCSE drama students will take place on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th March, as will music exams on the 19th and 20th. Good luck to everyone involved!
- Friesland’s annual dance show takes place on Tuesday 17th and Thursday 19th March at 6:30pm in the Performing Arts Centre. The showcase gives our GCSE and A Level dance students the opportunity to perform their work to an audience. In addition, our Key Stage 3 dance club, as well as Ladycross Infant School and Firfield Primary School who will also be performing. This event is always extremely popular, so get your tickets for £5 from Mrs York at break times in the Performing Arts office before they sell out!
- Good luck to our A Level dancers who been selected to perform at ‘Interface 15’ at the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield next Tuesday. This is a county dance platform, where the best groups from clubs and schools in Derbyshire get the opportunity to showcase their work; the very best of luck to our Friesland dancers!
- Our new batch of Y8&9 LAMDA students are busy working hard on the pieces they have selected for their upcoming exams, due to take place during the second week back after the Easter break. Don’t forget to book in for a session with your drama teacher – booking slots displayed outside of the Performing Arts office. If you would like a LAMDA t-shirt, £9 and slips into Mrs York by break time on Friday 6th March!
- Students in our Arts Award class are preparing for a visit from an external professional artist, Elaine Lim-Newton, and will be working on a 3D sculptural project as part of their Arts Award Part A. The students have already achieved their bronze Arts Award and we’re very proud this fantastic achievement!
- …and finally, auditions for our lower school production should be taking place towards the end of March. These will be open to anyone in years 7, 8 and 9 who wish to have a performing role in this years’ show. More details to follow, watch this space!