It’s been a phenomenally busy fortnight for the Arts Award team here at King’s. With no fewer than four public events taking place in the space of eight days, our Gold Arts Award cohort have certainly been putting their leadership skills to the test!
Following on the back of the success of work by Ava, Grace, Hannah, Steph and Tiffany on last term’s Myths and Legends Dance showcase (which was screened online) and the King’s St Alban’s Chance to Dance showcase, it was time for young arts leaders Maddie, Abi, Maple, Sean, Sophie, Abby and Salvador to step up to the plate.
Maddie and Abi (brilliantly supported by Silver Arts Award pupils Caitlin and Lana) presented a terrific exhibition showcase last Wednesday evening. They had successfully recruited an eclectic range of visual artists, many of whom had produced new material as part of their Arts Award development, and exhibited their work in the foyer of the Keyes Building.
There was a wonderful creative buzz as audience members discussed inspiration and technique with the young artists in the gallery before making their way down to the John Moore Theatre. There they were treated to a variety showcase of drama and dance. Again, many of the pieces were showcasing new material developed by pupils as part of their Arts Award journey. Managing the creative content, dealing with the logistics of production, and advertising to and welcoming a live audience is no easy task, and Maddie and Abi produced a wonderful evening.
Sean and Maple then had to liaise with theatre staff to get the theatre turned around in less than 24 hours so that it was ready for L4 Shakespeare Fest on Thursday. Sean and Maple have spent weeks visiting the L4 forms and encouraging them to create their assembly-style mini-Shakespeares. It’s an ambitious undertaking; the first Shakespeare Fest project was started six years ago by Gold Arts Award students. The aim is to use drama to promote a sense of teamwork and togetherness within the L4.
Experienced performers can take the opportunity to shine but quieter, less experienced pupils also get a valuable chance to find their voices. Every single member of the year group participates, even if only to narrate one line – still no mean feat in front of a busy theatre full of people! Coordinating nearly 90 pupils is challenging enough in itself, but Maple and Sean also had to organise the logistics of actually staging the event. It was a delight to welcome L4 parents and guardians to support the afternoon and the energetic buzz amongst the L4 as they shared their pieces was wonderful. They had clearly established a great rapport with Maple and Sean during the project and it was a great reminder of how much those mentoring opportunities across the year groups are valued.
Sophie and Abby had the unenviable task of diving into an event straight after the Bank Holiday. The quality of their advanced planning and organisation meant that the recruited acts – a diverse range of our LAMDA talent – were primed and ready to perform on Tuesday evening. The audience were enthused by this rare glimpse into the work of our peripatetic Speech and Drama team. Many pupils showcasing their work have LAMDA examinations looming – judging by the high quality of work performed, they should be heading into their exams with great confidence. The eclectic range of pieces was a delight, from well-known classics to contemporary hidden gems, including the chance to hear some of the musical theatre work that also goes on. It was a charming evening, enhanced by Sophie and Abby’s confident and knowledgeable compèring of the acts.
Finally, Salvador took centre stage on Wednesday evening. He had organised an event, planning logistics and inviting his audience to a showcase of brand new work. He was also the auteur behind the works themselves. First up, was the stage work DIE, an abstract existential work with clear Beckettian influences. This was followed by his new film, Fleeting Moments, a reflective piece, with black and white cinematography influenced by the French New Wave. Through the process, Salvador had led and inspired young actors Sean, Maple and Zoe, directing them to perform his works.
After the sharing, the audience joined us for refreshments and a chance for Salvador to take questions on his work and creative processes. It was a stimulating and insightful debate and a thoroughly successful and innovative evening of culture.
It’s very easy to assume that managing an arts event is simply just sorting out the creative content! However, our Gold Arts Award students must take responsibility for the whole package of logistical details to get their audience through the door and offer them an artistic experience. This last fortnight has been a mammoth undertaking – with particular thanks to our Theatre staff – but clearly well worth it. The positive audience feedback says it all!