Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ending 2011 on a high!

Last night was our last official concert of the year as our talented singers and musicians played to a packed out St Mary's Church. There was a delightful assortment of vocal arrangements including solos from Vicky Egerton and Rhianne Groom, a duet by Grace Bartlett and Ania Witka and of course, the Bradon Forest Choir. One of our peripatetic teachers, Miss Fleet, directed a number of arrangements, my favourite of which was Walking in the Air, with a number of singers and Hannah Sellars and Elliot Gunton on flute. Just lovely! Miss Fleet later commented: "Well done - the best by far of the concerts I have been to this year!"

Thank you, as always, to everyone who came and supported. The audience were even entertained by the vicar who treated us to a really jolly number about love at Christmas. We're hoping it will be a regular slot! We've had some wonderful comments including this one from a parent:

"The concert last night was super, we thoroughly enjoyed it, especially my father who is always very appreciative."

That's it from us this year but we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and warm wishes for 2012. We look forward to seeing you back in the theatre on January 26th for Waiting for Dave!

Friday, 9 December 2011

We Wish you a Merry Christmas!

With over 70 performers across the two nights, the 2011 Bradon Forest Christmas Music Concert was yet another success! I think I say this every time, but I love our concerts. We have such a wide range of performers, from the experienced GCSE Ensemble Group (pictured) and their own moving arrangement of 'Do They Know it's Christmas', to first time flute soloist, Charley Hill with 'The Holly and the Ivy'. What's especially lovely to watch is the support that the students provide each other. For example, on Wednesday, Alecia Kissell played a piano solo. I think she was a little nervous as a few mistakes were made and Alecia got a bit flustered. After stopping and starting she managed to finish 'The First Noel' to ruptious applause from the students. On Thursday evening, Alecia played it through perfectly and her friends cheered even louder!

With, as I said, over 70 performers, I can't mention them all, but every one of them did us proud. The choir seem to be going from strength to strength and their rendition of 'Infant Holy' gave me goose pimples! The KS4 Jazz Ensemble's performance of 'Santa Baby' was delightful and the Orchestra are flawless! Once again, the Staff Hand Chime Group managed to ding and dong our way through two numbers, including one of my favourites, Jingle Bell Rock. Thank you to everyone for their patience... we are getting better! Mr Duncan's Ukulele Group entertained us with two numbers. 'The Cave' by Mumford and Sons, and 'Christmas Time' by The Darkness. I think I will have to try and get a clip of the latter up as they pulled out all the stops, including some very amusing solos and vocals by Mr Widdop. The group have now expanded with 5 students, Mr Duncan and now also Mr Butler and Mr Widdop. The Maths department are obviously trying to boost their kudos and know that music's where it's at...

There was a lovely warm buzz in the theatre last night and everyone was congratulating the performers as they left. I was having a chat with one of the parents and she said to me that as she was sat there enjoying every single performance, she couldn't help but think, "I wish I'd gone to a school like this." That's something we should be proud of and we will continue to support and encourage new artists, actors, musicians and singers to get on stage and show off their talents! A special thank you to Miss Groom and Miss Hedges for hosting yet another jam packed, encouraging and entertaining concert. Roll on the next one!

"Hearty congratulations on last night. Best concert I’ve been to in ages. Really entertaining." Miss Maunder

Don't miss the Christmas Carol Concert, next Wednesday 14th December in St Mary's Church Purton. It starts at 7pm and parking is limited, so get there early and wrap up warm!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

5 Star Review!

Well that's it! It's all over! The run of A Midsummer Night's Dream has come to an end, but what a run it was. The final show on Friday was a sell out and the audience had been superb all week. Thank you to everyone who came and supported.

'Midsummer' is one of the better known Shakespeare plays, but even so (as you can imagine) it can be quite hard to follow the original language. However, our talented cast delivered their lines with conviction and understanding, so that even if our younger audience members couldn't follow the text, it was very clear how the story was progressing.

The set was beautifully created with several large fairy-light wrapped branches lining the back of the stage, with various lighting stages to represent the different times in the forest. When the front curtain was first pulled back to reveal the trees, there was an audible gasp! Rather than the traditional one Puck character, we had a 'clan' of five Pucks who all spoke in unison. With choreography by Hannah Guy, and a lot of input from the Pucks, the physicality of their movement was especially enchanting and mystical. Titania and Oberon, played by Ailsa Calder and Justin-David Machado, were a particularly dominiating presence on stage, commanding all the fairies with convincing supernatural authority.

Most of the laughs came from the 'play within a play', where the group of workmen, led by Quince (played outstandingly by Rae Elias), perform the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe. Bradley Williams as Francis Flute and Oliver Webb as Nick Bottom were full of energy and the whole -mini-cast were on top form, even at the end of a two hour play!

Congratulations to the entire cast. This really was a top Bradon Forest Theatre production, though I'm sure that Mr Calder is already working on how to try and beat it for next year!

"Thank you and your excellent cast so much for a fabulous night on Friday. The show was fantastic – what amazing talent we have here at Bradon Forest! Can’t wait for the next one!!"
Miss Mainstone

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Midsummer now well under way!

Last night was the official opening night for A Midsummer Night's Dream, although the cast performed two dress rehearsals for Year 8 on Monday... back to back! Everything went off without a hitch and we're now looking forward to three more shows. Miss Mazelin, who was in the audience last night, said that she was so impressed with all the students who had managed to learn some difficult lines, and such a lot of them! There was also a group of Year 7 girls watching the show. At the end, one turned to the rest and said: "I hope one day we can act like that!"

Good luck to the cast for the rest of the week. A review will follow shortly, but in the mean time, amuse yourselves with some of our production stills.

(NB. I'm not sure what's up with Flickr at the moment, but it's not connecting for the upload, so the photos are on our Facebook page for now.)

Guest Review: Grimm and Grimmer

This morning I had the pleasure of opening an email from Mrs Duffell, parent to a very talented young man from Lydiard Millicent Primary School called Alex, who was so enamoured by the Gonzo Moose show that he wrote this excellent review:

On Thursday night Mummy took me to see Grimm and Grimmer at the Bradon Forest theatre. The play was performed by a theatre company called Gonzo Moose. Although there were only three actors there were over ten characters in the play.

The story was based on the fairytales written by the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm. It starts when their sister, Lottie, discovers that they got all their stories from Rumplestiltskin in return for a human heart. They decide whose heart it will be by playing rock, paper, scissors. Wilhelm is the unlucky one so Rumplestiltskin places a clock on his heart. When the clock stops Wilhelm will die. Lottie wants to save her brother and travels to the fairytale kingdom in search of Rumplestiltskin. Along the way she meets some interesting characters including a mime prince and a bourbon eating bear. When she meets Rumplestiltskin he isn’t actually that scary and she kills him in a fight. She returns home with the key to her brother’s heart. Jacob then operates on Wilhelm winding the heart up and removing the clock. Wilhelm lost a lot of blood in the process. After the clock struck midnight he was still alive. Lottie went back to the fairytale kingdom and married the mime prince. They lived in a mime palace with their many mime children.

I really enjoyed it and would recommend Gonzo Moose to anyone. My favourite moment was when the wolf thought Lottie was Little Red Riding Hood and crept up behind her only to say “Sorry I thought you were someone else!” The special effects were fabulous with snow and very realistic blood! This play had it all: it was funny, scary and overall quite Grimm! I would rate this play 9/10!
Alex Duffell
As you can see, this was too good not to publish! Alex, we are so pleased you enjoyed the show and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Bradon Forest Theatre any time!

Monday, 21 November 2011

If you missed it, you missed out!

I've got to the stage where I don't like seeing trailers for shows and films. I love surprises, so turning up to watch something and have events unfurl in front of me without knowing what's coming is a real treat! That said, I'm in two minds whether to give you a full review of Grimm and Grimmer, The Misadventures of the Brothers Grimm, by Gonzo Moose because you really should go and see it!

This is the first show that the Gonzo's have developed specifically for families, and I think it may be my favourite show yet. Who doesn't want to see a bearded hunchback called Debbie, an adorable furry biscuit eating badger, gobbling Goblins and an elf hunting cowboy? If all that doesn't say Christmas then I don't know what does! Some friends of mine brought their 7 and 9 year old children who absolutely loved it. Never missing an opportunity for laughs, parents and children alike chuckled and giggled their way through the performance as the three actors pushed the story to the limit, using physical theatre, wonderful tricks and effects and as many visual gags as you could throw a plastic ear at. And there was even snow!

The climax of the show used a technique called 'psychic surgery', which Seamus assures me is an actual form of medicine practised in the Philippines. Without wanting to ruin the end, I will only say this.... it all looked VERY realistic and my friends son wouldn't let me tickle his belly after watching it!

Intrigued? Then all I can add it this, you need to go and see it. Seriously. If you see anything (outside of the Bradon Forest Theatre) this Christmas, then make sure it's Grimm and Grimmer. They have a nice long run at the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford, and as always with Gonzo Moose, I can't recommend them enough!

The Gonzo's return to The Bradon Forest Theatre on Saturday 30 June with 'I'm an Aristocrat, Get me out of here!' Tickets are on sale now.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sold out you say?

Well that's it then! We've sold out already for Thursday's performance of Grimm and Grimmer, The Misadventures of the Brothers Grimm, by Gonzo Moose. If you're one of the lucky ones to have a ticket reserved, then come and collect it in advance or please arrive no later than 7.10pm on the night of the performance. Don't forget we also have refreshments in the form of mince pies and mulled wine (Christmas is coming!) so bring some change.

Right, see you on Thursday! I'm so excited!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sing it loud and proud!

Last night the music concert season got off to a great start with over 50 students performing on stage, some for the first time! They were all fantastic. It was also a delight to be joined by the North Swindon Community Choir who sang a varietuy of numbers before our own choir performed along side them for the final number.

"The concert was huge fun and the singing was superb. Long may it continue to grow in volume and harmony!" Mr Calder, Head of Expressive Arts.
I absolutely love our music concerts. There is always a lovely supportive atmosphere, with experienced students performing alongside total beginners... students who have only been learning their instruments for a matter of weeks! As Miss Groom said, it is really encouraging to see their confidence growing with each performance. A pleasing sign for the future! Tickets for the Christmas concert are already on sale. On Wednesday 7 December we're in the Theatre for a good ol' cheesy Christmas show and then on Wednesday 14 December we visit St Mary's Church in Purton for the annual Christmas Carol Service. All are welcome to both events and the Carol service is donations only. Do get your ticket for the 7 December nice and early to avoid disappointment, they're on sale now! Email me or call the box office on 01793 773981 to reserve yours.

North Swindon Community Choir rehearse (at presents) at Red Oaks Primary School on Mondays, 7pm - 8pm. Contact Jessica Prophet on 01793 493920 for more details. Everyone is welcome to join them!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Fighting malady with melody since 2011

A sell out audience were treated to a wonderful evening of delightfully different entertainment last Friday. The night opened with a performance of Moses Supposes by Sole Rebel Tap. This was a lovely high energy tap dancing piece by Hannah De Cancho and Katie Ballard, who also teach regular tap classes for all abilities in Oxford. If you live near by, then check out their website for more details!

It was then the turn of a cast of our GCSE students to tread the boards with their recent examination piece. The performance, devised entirely by the students, was loosely based on their own version of a 'medicine show', but which included a mix of physical theatre, commedia dell arte, modern mask work and absurdest theatre. It followed the journey of a man to track down Oswin Owl (who is certainly not a banker!) who had snatched his innocent children. After a variety of mishaps that would make Gonzo Moose proud, the man is reunited with his children and Mr Owl who explains through song (It Must Be Love, by Madness) the reasons for stealing the kids! A member of the audience took the time at the end of the show to say how much he loved the performance:

"The students were a pleasure to watch. The physicality was wonderful and I loved the strength of the characters."
Praise indeed! Well done to Oliver Webb, Jack Matthewson-Inglis, Michaella Penfield and Izzy Rowand.

The stage was then reset for Curious Company's first in-theatre performance! The company, made up of Louise Rennie, Marie-Lou Flexen, Steven Skinley, Russel Boodie and Pete Russer, are used to performing outside at festivals and fairs and taking their own brand of 'Curious' to the streets. Dr Russet's Travelling Medicine Show was a splendid mix of live music, laughter, singing, dancing and an old lady's wind that would work in any setting.

Curious Company's show enforces the idea that the true power of healing lay in the act of song and dance rather than the potions themselves. Taking inspiration from 1930s jazz, blues and folk, Tap dance and Charleston, Vaudeville and Music Hall, fused with more contemporary influences the Curious Company cast have created a piece of theatre that offers both a taste of nostalgia, and a reflection on the restorative properties of entertainment and human interaction.
The audience were invited on stage at various points to get involved with 'fighting malady with melody' and as a result, the atmosphere of the evening was as effervescent as an offering from Russett's own Homespun Wonder Tonic.
Thank you to Curious Company for a marvellous show. We're looking forward to the next time already!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Wow Show Extraodinaire!

This week the theatre supported our Science Department by hosting three performances of their specially developed Science Wow Show, especially for local primary school pupils.

Back in 2008, the 'Wow Team' developed this unique show for our Year 7 students to answer questions on why and how things work, using experiments too 'dangerous' for the classroom. Four years and five shows on, we were very excited to welcome almost 300 pupils from Catherine Wayte, Peatmoor, Oakhurst and St Mary's schools combined to come and watch our three special primary performances.

Bradon Forest School also funded the buses to bring the pupils to Purton to watch the hour long performance.

The show was designed and written by two of our science teachers, Mr Lemin and Mrs Chappell, and was 'performed' in our theatre with the technical assistance of our professional theatre staff. As well as 'explosive' experiments that explored how to generate energy using various gases and also icing sugar, volunteers were able to have a go at harnessing that energy using balloon rockets and air kazookas. The audiences were 'wowed' with Mr Lemin's giant air kazooka, before seeing him have a cement block broken in half on him whilst lying on a bed of nails, and then hearing a jelly baby scream!

The 'Wow Team' are now working on another show for the near future... the 'Who' Show. Watch this space!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Do you fancy a delightfully different form of Friday night entertainment?

Then come and watch Curious Company's 'Dr Russet's Travelling Medicine Show' on Friday 14th October.

Some of you may remember Marie-Lou Flexen who has not only performed in the theatre before (Better Red than Dead, a Little Red Riding Hood tale) but has also worked with our students to create 'In The Ring', the special dance for The Big Top Festival.

If you made it to the Big Arts Day at Lydiard Park this year, you may also have seen the company perform their Alice in Wonderland piece.

Dr Dusty Russet, purveyor of Russet's Homespun Wonder Tonics has arrived in town with his all-singing all-dancing troupe The Ballyhoo Allstars. Together they demonstrate the efficacy of his miracle elixirs with some nifty song and dance numbers inspired by the folk, blues and jazz musicians of depression era rural America. So step up and let Dr Russet and his companions work their magic. Guaranteed it's good for what ails you!

Show starts at 7.30pm with a performance by a cast of our GCSE students of their hilarious version of a medicine show. The whole evening is only an hour long! Tickets are just £5.50 for students and £6.50 for adults.

For a little taster of the work of Curious Company, watch this clip from Camp Bestival.

Friday, 30 September 2011

We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale Avenue

The 2011/12 Season in the Bradon Forest Theatre certainly started in style! A small cast of GCSE Drama students directed themselves in a play from the ever popular 'Farndale' series, in which actors take on the role of the Farndale Avenue Amateur Dramatics Society as they endeavour to perform to their village. Lines are always forgotten, the lighting and sound effects go wrong, set falls down around their ears and there's normally and on stage argument where one of them storm off, only to return 'for the good of the theatre'.

'We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale Avenue' was no exception. The basic plot of the play had something to do with a cruise ship, a famous actress, a box of porcelain figurines and a ship wreck, but you'd be forgiven for being more interested as to whether 'Thelma', played by Frankie Brett, would return for the finale after her dramatic tantrum!

All the students performed excellently and really took to their 'alter egos'. The cast included: Izzy Rowand, Frankie Brett, Michealla Penfield, Jack Matthewson-Inglis, Feion Harding with Rei Shimizu on the piano. The stage management, lighting and sound were all done by Oliver Webb, who had a tricky time following the script for cues... I don't think all of the line/cue merry-go-rounds were scripted!

Click here for the photo gallery.

Great work by all involved and we can now look forward to November where we will see all the students return in A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Mr Calder.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Are you in Bristol between 29 September and 8 October?

Then go and see The Importance of Being Earnest, presented by Floor to Ceiling. Our good friend (and frequent technician) Dan Shearing is working on it, so you know it will be good!

Showing at The Redgrave Theatre, Bristol. Tickets are £13 - £16. Call 0117 9223686 for tickets.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Do you want to meet Wobulous Discombobulous?

Those of you who have been paying close attention may have noticed that our March booking of Shifting Sands has disappeared! Due to unforseen circumstances, the company have had to 'shift' their tour dates for Boxed In to 2013... therefore we have a gap to fill. So, what do you think about puppets?

Wobulous Discombobulous is an anarchic sock in Folded Feather’s Suitcase Circus. He presents a line up of extraordinarily talented performing objects, all with their own unique and captivating storylines. Suitcase Circus features the most unlikely of performers including the world's only acrobatic potato sack, a daredevil ski glove, an incredible dancing milkshake straw, the hypnotic tie snake Windsor Knot, and the lovable yet bizarre magical Mexican hat Timrek. As with all quality circuses, they have a wonderfully weird and bizarre musical accompaniment provided by Maurice who must bear the burden of performing alongside such delinquent object theatre.

We've just pencilled them in for the 15th March. What do you think?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New season starting soon!

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a lovely refreshing Summer and are now ready to see the Winter in in style. We have a jam packed season for you which we're really excited about. Not only are Publick Transport back with their new show, but we have two different Gonzo Moose productions! It's going to be a good year.

In preparation, we've given our foyer a lick of paint and I think you'll agree, it's looking pretty swish.

Foyer paint job

Our first show is a Bradon Forest Theatre Company production of 'We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figurines Aboard the SS Farndale Avenue' on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 September:
This is another classic comedy in the ‘play within a play’ Farndale series. Our students play the Townswomen’s Guild’s Dramatic Society as they attempt to prove the age of elegance, glamour and enchantment is not dead… well, not quite anyway.
Tickets are on sale now, so email me to book yours! Don't forget to check out our website for full season listings. You won't want to miss anything!

Friday, 8 July 2011

All aboard the Coach ride!

This years Summer Arts Festival was really low key compared to previous years, but I think it's been one of my favourites yet! Last night's finale was a celebration of the musical talents of our staff. It gave our students the opportunity to see some of their teachers in a different light, be inspired by the live performances and hopefully open their eyes to some different music.

Opening the night was Lost Ravine, a four piece band made up of Year 9 students who write all their own songs. Considering they're fairly new, they performed with confidence and skill and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of these! As George starting rocking out on a particularly tricky drum riff, I saw an older member of one of the other bands say, "Wow, they're actually really good!" I think he'll certainly be giving Mr Hutchings a run for his money...

Next up were Coach, who I admit I have a new music crush on. In fact, I'm listening to them as I write this and I think you should all enjoy a little taste of what you might have missed:

Our very own Miss Hedges played the clarinet and saxophone, and also sang some beautiful harmonies. The clarinet sounded wicked and I actually quite fancy learning it myself! This is the sort of band that makes you want to plan an event, just so you can book them. I urge you to catch them when you can and I'll try and keep you posted with their gigs. I heart Coach.

Next up was Lydia Twenty, also with their own compositions and featuring Mr Hutchings on the drums. Man, he's good! The man can play the drums! The band are quite popular with a lot of our other staff already but it was really nice to see the students enjoying them, and they even managed to get a mosh pit going! I wonder if that was a first...?

Finally, we had Mr Thomas and his band Dark Horse finish up the night with their mix of old and new covers. After opening up with the suitably chosen, Teenage Kicks, the crowds were entertained with the likes of Kings of Leon and Oasis. Mr Thomas and lead singer, Steve Stimson (Mrs Stimson's husband!), were a great duo who played off each other's energy on stage and really engaged the crowd.

A huge, HUGE thank you to all of the performers. I think I can safely say that everyone had a great night and it was wonderful to enjoy such a mix of live music. You all rock :O) Don't miss the photos on our flickr page and I'll upload some video clips after the Big Arts Day this weekend - we're running three of the performance areas, so keep an eye out for us and come and say hi!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

An unusual variety of dance and commedia!

We had over 40 students perform last night for the dance evening. Forty! There were performances from the BFS Cheerleaders, GCSE Dance students, BFS Pom Dancers, Bradon Forest Theatre Commedia Troupe and special guests Gyi Dance. The Cheerleaders opened the show with their 4th place routine from the recent UKCA National Schools’ Cheerleading Championships. This was then followed by a highly entertaining and amusing piece by the BFS Commedia Troupe whose entire performance was created by the students themselves. I especially enjoyed the silhouette of the surgery scene!

The GCSE Dance students were up next with a selection of solo compositions, closely followed by the Pom Dancers who took to the floor suitably dressed in Halloween style costumes to performed their routine to Thriller/Heads Will Roll from Glee. Next up were the GCSE Dance students who performed a group dance based on The Lion King’s: He Lives In You.

Finally, GYI Dance ended the show with an interesting and creative performance based around carnivals. GYI Dance are choreographed by Hannah Guy, a specialist dance teacher who you may remember from previous posts, having worked with many of our students. We like Hannah we do.

Miss Pratten, our PE teacher who has worked with the GCSE and cheerleading groups, said:

"The evening was a great success as each student performed brilliantly and did themselves proud. The level of talent that was seen was outstanding and next year’s show is shaping up to be just as exciting!"

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

And then I go and spoil it all...

Thank you to everyone who came out for our Karaoke Night to raise money for the Japan Appeal. We all had a great night and once the first few songs were done, the requests kept rolling in! I can only apologise for turning in to a bit of a cheesy '70's DJ whilst dancing behind the request desk, but you all picked such good tunes! We very much look forward to hosting more of these nights in the future, but in the mean time if you have the karaoke bug, don't miss the regular lunch time slots in Music 2, 11.55!

Special kudos to Olly and Jack for their beautiful duet, Somethin' Stupid. Just lovely ;o)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

For your entertainment...

It's that time of year again when we can confirm the line up for our Summer Arts Festival! Due to the fact that we are supporting the Big Arts Day at Lydiard Park on Saturday 9th July, the arts week is lower key than usual, but no less fun!

Tuesday 5th July
Are you a Sing Star? Fancy yourself as a Rock Band god? Then come and show your talents at the Bradon Forest Karaoke Night!

Raising money for the Red Cross Japan Appeal, the night promises to be full of laughter, musical cheese and the odd flat note. All are welcome so bring your friends, family and get your teacher along too!With a special guest to the get the ball rolling, this is a night not to miss!
* 7.30pm - 9pm, £2 entry

Wednesday 6th July
Featuring: The Bradon Forest Cheerleaders, a variety of dance from our GCSE group, the Bradon Forest Theatre Commedia Troupe... Plus a special guest performance from Gyi Dance!
* 7.30pm, £3 students, £4 adults

Thursday 7th July

Come and see your teachers perform with their Rock Bands! Featuring:
Miss Hedges with one of her many bands...
Mr Hutchings on drums with Lydia Twenty...
Mr Thomas on bass with Dark Horse...
With special support from our very own Lost Ravine!
* 7.30pm, £3

All tickets on sale now!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Too many highlights to mention!

Last night saw the last music concert of the season, and what a way to see us out! There were too many highlights to mention. We had some great numbers performed by the orchestra's and choirs, including their finale piece, 'Walking on Sunshine' which they performed together. It was great to see that we have more solo and ensemble performances than ever before, and we're still seeing new faces even at this stage in the year!

One of our GCSE Music groups (pictured) performed their own composition, 'Old You', which I was still humming at the end of the night having particularly enjoyed the mix of acoustic and electric guitar. The second group incorporated piano, chime bars and a ukulele for their own arrangement of popular chart songs which use the same four chords.

Talking of ukulele's, Mr Duncan led his 'band of merry men' in 'Live and Let Die'. Oh, I only wish we had it on video. Mr Duncan did warn the audience that they may have set their sight's too high with this difficult song, but they didn't disappoint! We could only look on in amazement as they plucked away at the memorable guitar solo on their tiny instruments. The only question we have is, what will they play next time?

Miss Groom, our Head of Music, sent out these words to school staff this morning:

"As you pass around the school tomorrow please pass on HUGE congratulations to all those that participated in the Music Concert tonight. They were fantastic. The theatre was packed and the room was buzzing...they did us proud! Special mention to Jack who did a great job guiding us through the evening...a star in the making. Over 50 participants - staff and students...well done to all!"
I tweeted last night that it was yet another superb concert and had a little moan that there are only four a year. Even our Staff Handchime Group managed to not embarrass ourselves too much. Oh no wait, we did a little. But if anyone asks, our 'interpretation' of 'Last of the Summer Wine' was supposed to be that fast. It was, ummm, a dance remix... for the kids...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

You know it's going to be a good day when...

... you receive the copy and images for the new Gonzo Moose show!

Pegasus presents Gonzo Moose in…
The Misadventures Of The Brothers Grimm

1806. It was cold. It was dark. It was almost certainly snowing…

Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and their beloved sister, Lotte travel into deepest Bavaria. They are assembling what will become the greatest collection of fairy tales ever published.

But now reality and fantasy are colliding and the family Grimm find themselves trapped in a twisted fantasy world of their own fairy tales.

Are the hapless heroes in grave danger? Yes.
From what? We can’t tell you.
Will they make it back alive? I hope so.

Having previously thrilled audiences with hit shows Is That A Bolt In Your Neck? and You Don’t Need To Know That!, Gonzo Moose are back with a comedy fairy tale adventure bursting with physical comedy, absurd jokes and magical illusion.

Featuring special guest appearances from Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Tom Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumplestiltskin…subject to their availability.

I'm so excited already! Make sure you have November 17th in your diaries!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Arts Award Pilot Scheme. Done.

I have great news! Our first five Bronze Arts Award students have passed with flying colours! I received the moderators comments through last week, but had to wait until I'd told them all personally before announcing to the world. As part of the Bronze Award, the youngsters had to complete four parts:

  1. Be the audience
  2. Take part in the Arts
  3. Arts Heroes and Heroines
  4. Arts Apprenticeships
They led dance classes and workshops, instructed warm up sessions for Drama Club, performed in shows and competitions and filmed a review chat show after watching a professional performance. Their research was presented as story books and power points and one Bronzer even wrote her research on Freddie Mercury as lyrics to a medley of all her favourite Queen tracks!

All five Bronzers showed creativity and dedication and I think that not only did they all enjoy the award, they all learnt something from the experience.

"The five Bronze portfolios submitted by Jennifer from Bradon Forest School were part of a pilot scheme within the school and have succeeded excellently! These five portfolios were thorough and very creatively presented (especially the diary from Ania for her Part B - excellent). Good levels of evidence in all parts. The young people have obviously benefited a great deal from their Arts Award. Well done."
- Dannsia Iwaszko

Congratulations to Claudia Brinkworth, Fleur Calder, Chloe Stollery-Clarke, Bradley Williams and Ania Witka. Now for the Silver Award and the next phase of Bronze...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Trinity College 2011 Playwriting Competition

Plays for children and young people can excite and inspire writers, performers and audiences. Now in its second year, the International Playwriting Competition encourages new writing in this field, recognising the very best with cash prizes, performances on the London stage and publication with international distribution. Writers are asked to submit a one-act play that is either:

  • suitable for performers aged 11 years and under


  • intended for an audience aged 12–16 years.

The competition is open to writers of any age, of any level of experience and from any country. All plays must be written substantially or entirely in the English language.

Prizes in each category:

  • cash prize of £1,000 for the winning writer
  • Trinity College London will publish the winning plays in a collection of plays from the competition
  • winning play to be performed at a gala event at a London theatre in January 2012
  • travel and accommodation costs for the writer to attend the gala performance.

In addition, up to six ‘Highly Commended’ awards:

  • cash prize of £500
  • Trinity College London will publish the winning plays in a collection of plays from the competition.

Awards will also be made for The Most Promising Playwright(s) aged 11 years and under and The Most Promising Playwright(s) aged 12–16 years.

For full details see the Trinity College website, or click here to enter the competition.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Big Arts Day Big Choir

This year the Big Arts Day team want to end the day with a spectacular community arts finale involving hundreds, if not thousands, of local people of all ages.

As part of the overall vision they want to create the largest ever community choir in Swindon and they’ve organised a meeting where you can find out more and help them work out if and how they can do this. Everyone is welcome to come and find out more, you don’t have to be part of a choir, just keen to get singing and keen to be involved.

The launch meeting will be held on 18th May 2011 at The Platform, Faringdon Road, Swindon SN1 5BJ from 17.30 to 19.00. Please confirm to Jeanette Ketcher (phone 01793 465023) to let them know if you can come, so they can make sure they have got enough coffee, tea and biscuits ready.

Please help them by spreading the word about this meeting and please do invite anyone else you think would be interested.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Photos: The Importance of Being Arty

You don't have tickets yet for The Importance of Being Arty. Your friends see the show tonight. They come in to school tomorrow and tell you how amazing it was. You want to see it. So does everyone else. Thursday's show sells out. You miss out!

You can prevent this situation!
There are still a few tickets left for both performances.
Come and buy yours today from the Arts Office in the Dance Studio!

The Importance of Being Arty
Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th May
7.30pm - 8.15pm
Tickets: £3 students, £4 adults

Monday, 9 May 2011

Youth Dance Summer School at Gloucestershire Dance

I've just had a mail through to let us know about this years summer school at Gloucestershire Dance , so I thought I'd pass it on! It's a three day workshop in July and looks pretty good, so I'd recommend booking early. See their website for more information.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

BTEC Students pack out local Riffs Bar

Our Music BTEC students hosted a great performance night at our local live music venue, Riffs Bar. The group of seven students had to organise the evening as part of their course, including booking the venue, selling tickets and publicising the event, whilst also rehearsing their own set list!

The gig was held on Wednesday 6th April and was a complete sellout. Tickets were £2.50 in advance or £3 on the door. With all proceeds going to charity, the group made £300 and have chosen to donate it all to Cancer Research UK.

They also booked 3 other bands from other local schools to make a four band line-up - that's value for money!
  • This Way Up - New young cover band whose main influence is Paramore.
  • The Unknowns - Bradon Forest BTEC group performing classic covers.
  • Frosted Teacakes
  • Beyond the Break
Miss Hedges, The Unknown's music teacher, said; "I'm so proud of the students! All their hard work in organising the event really paid off and it was a truly successful evening, enjoyed by all."
Andy Pett, the manager at Riffs, commented; "Well done. Let me know if your students want to perform again in the future as we'd be happy to have you back!"

A big congratulations to Callum Brocks, Jay Cowsell, Vicky Edgerton, Andy Edwards, Josh Griggs-Burton, Rhianne Groom and Luke Robotham.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Importance of Being Arty

The Importance of Being Arty
Imagine a grey, dull school filled with bored and indifferent faces, trudging from class to class. A school with no colour, brightness, inspiration or joy. A school without music or art or performance. This is Dullston School. Then a new student called Chloe joins and this school will never be the same.

Devised entirely by the KS3 Drama Club, this is an interesting piece of drama that illustrates their passion for the arts and the necessity for it in our everyday lives.

This is our first performance after Easter but tickets are on sale now. With a cast of over 30, it's a great chance to see the amazing talent we have at Bradon Forest!

Directed by Phillipa Bradfield.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Best of Luck!

Wishing the very best of luck to our three GCSE groups performing tomorrow afternoon in front of the external examiner. You've all worked incredibly hard and will be great!

If you'd like to sit in on the performance, please see Mr Calder or Mrs Stimson as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Ooh... we're looking forward to November already!

Get Thursday 17th November 2011 in your diary... Gonzo Moose are coming back! We've booked them for their Christmas show and are just a little bit excited about it all. As you know, the Arts are being cut all over the place. We haven't yet been given our budget for the year, but don't want you to miss out on their Christmas show... so make sure you save this date and come and support us. Gonzo Moose are one of our very favourite companies and they never fail to entertain. Let's make this a sell-out!

The Gonzo Moose Winter Show (Working Title) 
A magical comedy adventure for the whole family

"We have yet to decide the title of the show or what the story will be but rest assured it will have all the trademark Gonzo Moose touches of silliness and madcap humour suitable for the whole family.

This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy will feature three fearless and daring actors, playing over 20 roles in 75 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action. Packed full of hilarious slapstick, verbal wit, live music and magical illusion this show will have everything.

Suitable for audiences from ages 8 to 80, this is an ideal family show: packed full of hilarious slapstick, verbal wit, and magical illusion.

Over the past five years Gonzo Moose has toured all over the country to great critical acclaim and been compared to Peepolykus and Spymonkey. With irreverent humour and a vivid physical style the show is extremely accessible, visually inventive and very, very funny. "
 A Co-Production with the Pegasus Theatre, Oxford.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu!

Last night was great! I do love our music concerts. It's so lovely to see such a wide variety of students up on stage, singing and playing with such talent and confidence!

Miss Groom and Miss Hedges organised a great running order for the night and we were treated to the usual high standard of performance from both Key Stage 3 and 4 concert bands and choirs.

The evening was an opportunity for our Year 11's to say their musical goodbye as they performed for us one last time. They wowed us with a variety of solo and group performances of traditional, modern and self composed pieces.

The concert was also the début performance for Mr Duncan's Ukulele Orchestra, who played a 'mash-up' of Jason Mraz and Train! There was talk of a collaboration with the staff hand-chime group for the Summer concert... but you'll have to watch this space.

"I must say it was an absolutely fabulous concert! Mrs Hayden and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What a talented bunch! We especially enjoyed Jack Deeley, the compère for the night. A star for the future we think! Special mention for Jess Rew. What a beautiful voice." Miss Mainstone.
It's really great to see the ownership of the concert in the students' hands. Miss Groom and Miss Hedges seem to have the perfect amount of direction and management, whilst still allowing the students to take the lead and control aspects of their own performance. It generates a really exciting and 'raw' energy for the evening and I'm already looking forward to the Summer concert! Make sure you have 22nd June in your diaries and get your tickets early. This one was a sell-out!