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.