Despite Covid numbers rapidly rising and finding ourselves without a theatre manager, our incredibly resilient staff and students put on some outstanding performances in the Aldridge Theatre this last term. Although we couldn't have a full audience, and for some no audience at all, it was really uplifting to be back in our beautiful theatre again.
Performing Arts are a big part of our curriculum with Nursery through Year 9 students taking music, dance and drama each week. GCSE, BTEC and A-Level options allow those with passion for the Performing Arts to continue as far as they wish. We don’t expect all our students to go on to become professional artists, musicians, dancers – although many do – but the creative-thinking and soft skills which develop best in these subjects are now more crucial than ever.
The courage to stand on stage, to paint their dreams, compose their own songs – these are the experiences which will make them stronger, make them individuals and stay with them, no matter what they go on to do.
A small group of Years 7 to 9 students created a wonderful production of Peter Pan. Sets and costumes were salvaged to keep the show as environmentally friendly as possible and all proceeds were donated to Great Ormond's Street Hospital. With two shows and careful stewarding, no one had to miss this lovely production.
Christmas Dance and Music Concert
As one of Frensham's most popular events, even before Covid disruptions, tickets for this event go incredibly quickly. Unfortunately, this time after ticket reservations opened, and had sold out, Covid numbers started climbing quickly and we had to go back and limit the audience to 2 tickets only for families of performers. A huge thank you to all the families who returned tickets to make sure that every performer had at least one person in the audience. The show was recorded and will be made available to all the grandparents, friends and wider community who had to miss the live performance.
The students outdid themselves as always and the talent, strength and courage shown on stage was outstanding. The GCSE and A-Level Dance students command the stage with confidenc,e but many of the students performing would not naturally be drawn to the stage. Dance is compulsory at Frensham through Year 9. This is unique and important. It takes us through those awkward, self-conscious, inhibited teenage years. Spend those in an environment where you’re all feeling uncomfortable together – where you’re all told it’s normal, it’s fine, have fun and try not to take it so seriously – and the effect can be not only phenomenal for teenage wellbeing, but life-changing.
We had to cancel our music stages at Founders' Day and Fireworks Evening this year, so this was a much needed opportunity for our singers and musicians to perform in front of an audience. Luckily, with Covid restrictions allowing, there is a full line up for the rest of the academic year including informal concerts and Rock & Pop gigs.
Junior School Christmas Shows
Unfortunately, despite having arranged an outside venue and multiple shows, we ended up having to cancel external audiences for our Junior School Christmas Shows. But although it is wonderful for children to have the chance to perform in front of their families, it is really important, and exciting, for them to have the opportunity to perform on the big stage. The courage to get on stage is encouraged here from an early age as is the ability to watch, listen and appreciate others. So the shows did go ahead on the Aldridge stage with Nursery to Year 3 performing for Years 4 to 6 and vice versa.
Nursery to Years 3 put on the funny, uplifting Lights, Camel, Action: The Sequin while Years 4 to 6 shared a wide variety of their own poems, dances and musical pieces. Costumes, lights and sounds were as a live event and the children performed magically.
Both shows were videoed for families to enjoy at home.
A huge thank you for the amazing effort as always from our dedicated staff behind the scenes organising and supporting in so many ways, many going far beyond their day job. A special thank you to Ryan Harris for stepping in at the last minute as theatre technician to make sure these shows could actually happen. Thank you to our incredibly supportive and passionate parents and community (particularly those who gave up tickets for others). And as always, most importantly, thank you to all our amazing students - there literally would be no Frensham without you!
Happy New Year and we'll see you for more amazingness in 2022!