PADDINGTON ACADEMY HOSTS REGIONAL SHOWCASE EVENT FOR ASPIRING YOUNG PERFORMERS
Paddington students joined together with peers from three other United Learning academies to take part in regional showcase event
Last Wednesday, Paddington Academy welcomed aspiring young performers from across London and Cambridge for a regional showcase event to celebrate students 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 Paddington Academy in participating in this year’s southern programme were Coleridge Community College, Parkside Community College and Sedgehill Academy.
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 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.
Nilufar, a Year 10 student at Paddington Academy, said: “From Frantic Assembly, we’ve learnt a lot of physical movement and how to move together as a group, trying to capture movements in little steps. By being part of United Learning and working as a group of schools, we have been able to see other students’ experiences and use all the performances for inspiration for future work.”
Commenting on the school’s involvement in the programme, Rebecca Davis, United Teaching Trainee at Paddington Academy, said: “Our Frantic Assembly practitioner, Michelle, really helped to encourage students’ creativity, confidence and enthusiasm, and kept them engaged throughout the programme. They have been able to successfully bring this physical theatre work to their GCSE devised work, using different techniques to make their pieces even more creative."