Event marks culmination of students’ involvement in an innovative drama development programme ‘Access to Theatre’ (AcT)

Last Wednesday, aspiring young performers at Sedgehill Academy took part in a regional showcase event, hosted by Paddington Academy, to celebrate completing the United Learning AcT programme.

Funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the four-month initiative gave young people at eight academies across the country the opportunity to work with industry practitioners from acclaimed theatre company Frantic Assembly, to enhance their knowledge and practice of physical theatre techniques. The three schools who joined Sedgehill Academy in participating in this year’s southern programme were Coleridge Community College, Paddington Academy and Parkside Community College.

The schools’ involvement in the initiative began in April when staff members across the academies took part in lively Continued Professional Development (CPD) days. During these sessions, staff worked with Sophie, the Associate Director for Learn and Train at Frantic Assembly, to learn new creative exercises and physical theatre techniques for lifts to take back to their schools.

Between April and June, students enjoyed two, two-hour workshops delivered by their designated Frantic Assembly practitioner. Together, they worked on creating an energetic piece of physical theatre inspired by Lola Olufemi’s book ‘Experiments in Imagining Otherwise’. Through their piece, the budding performers were encouraged to explore how much of our reality is fiction and how much of it is what is expected.

During the summer term, with support from staff, students continued to hone their performance in preparation for last week’s showcase event. At the event, students confidently took to the stage to perform their pieces in front of an audience of their peers, teachers and professional practitioners. They were an excellent celebration of all the students’ hard work and commitment over the past months and an opportunity for them to receive constructive feedback.

Zoe Cooper, Head of Creative Arts, Character & Enrichment at Sedgehill Academy said:

“It has been excellent to be linked with a Frantic Assembly practitioner and to share performance work with other United Learning schools. During the showcase event, it was fantastic to see our students interacting with and learning from their peers from other schools, reminding us all of the love we share for performing arts.”

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