‘If Not Now, Then When?’ At The Royal Exchange Theatre

Freddie’s students graced the stage at the famous Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for the second year in succession on May 12th. ‘If Not Now, Then When’ was a play created and performed by the pupils themselves and confronted the issues surrounding Climate Change. In particular, the work focused on the ‘Climate Emergency’ protests from March this year where young people skipped school to take part in marches through major cities in the UK. Amongst the students ranging from Year 7 to 11 were ‘young professionals’ who took on the exciting roles of Theatre Technicians, Prop Designers and Stage Managers; each working in tandem with our performers and directors to create a powerful, emotional piece of theatre to share with the public. Our students also took to the streets to warm up for their performance on stage! https://twitter.com/flhsdrama/status/1127568003611152384 
The performance itself, at the Royal Exchange’s ‘Exchange 360’ event was a huge success. The audience commented on the talent, enthusiasm and professionalism of our young cast as well as how moved they were by the powerful message of the piece. Congratulations to all the students involved for their incredible piece of theatre and the countless hours of hard work that went into creating it.

Voice In A Million 2019

On Wednesday 20th March, for the second consecutive year, Freddie’s Voices sang at Wembley Arena with 7,000 other pupils from across the UK. They sang as part of ‘Voice in a Million’ to help raise awareness of children in care, both at home and abroad. 

Our choir performed 15 songs to an audience of 6,000 which included songs from The Greatest Showman to artists such as Rihanna and Imagine Dragons. Three of our students were able to walk on stage at the Arena to represent our school. Not only did we get to perform, we also got to meet and watch performances from our favourite boyband ‘Roadtrip’ as well as ‘New Hope Club’. We all had so much fun and will be returning to sing at Wembley next year!!! We were even more excited when ‘Roadtrip’ came to Freddies, only 2 weeks after singing at Wembley Arena!!  

Freddie’s Voices is open to all pupils, so if you want to get involved come along to A4 every Monday lunch time.  

 

Prints of Darkness

There are not many professional artists who can say they have exhibited in an internationally renowned gallery such as the Whitworth in Manchester but some of our students now can. Artists from our GCSE Photography and Graphic design courses have been developing projects based on the themes explored in our research of work by William Hogarth (see earlier post). On Thurs 25th April the project culminated with our pop up exhibition and permanent display being launched in the gallery, we were joined by internet phenomenon @coldwar_steve who exhibited alongside us and demoed his process with a live collage. Invited guests including parents, Freddies staff, delegates from the Curious Minds conference and the general public were full of praise for the work on show and were highly impressed by the thought and skill which had gone into producing it.

Press coverage was high, not only was the exhibition featured in local papers in the lead up but some of our students were interviewed by the BBC’s Colin Patterson in the gallery and appeared on national breakfast news the following day. We are really proud (but not surprised) at how eloquent and confident all of the interviewees came across.

The broadcast interview can be seen on The Whitworth YouTube channel

As usual all of the students involved demonstrated the work rate and attitude that Freddies has become well known for, they all did themselves proud and will hopefully continue to aspire towards future success in the arts.

 

 

 

 

 

An Evening of Dance 2019

A huge well done and thank you to everyone who contributed to our 21st Evening of Dance. This year’s show was our biggest (and possibly best) ever, with around 150 dancers performing over the three night run. We worked solidly for many months in preparation for the show and I am so proud to say that our dancers ‘delivered’. They literally could not have given any more as they made their way through an exhausting programme of over 30 pieces.  The evening contained a selection of Contemporary, Street and Jazz dance choreographed by our wonderful team of ex-students, and a special Cheer performance by Dance 4 Fun. Special thanks to the ‘Now’t2Do’ programme which supports our Dance enrichment programme in school.

The quality of work was outstanding, which made for some difficult programming decisions, but ensured a different experience for anyone lucky enough to see more than one show. Special thanks also has to go to Mr Corrigan who produced an amazing media/lighting display assisted by a fine ‘tech team’ made up of our very dedicated students.

It was fantastic to welcome our talented new Yr7 dancers with their enthusiastic and energetic performances but extremely sad to say goodbye to our Yr11 dancers who have contributed greatly to the Dance Department in recent years. We will miss you lots but wish you well for the future! Thanks again to everyone – students, staff and parents – for your support, and here’s to the EoD 2020!

Chad Taylor Dance Company Residency

Freddies’ dancers have had a brilliant week with Chad Taylor and his company of Hip Hop dancers, hosting a 3 day residency which included 5 different workshops, a live performance of their current work ‘The Awakening’ and a Q&A session where our dancers asked company members about their background, training and career in the Dance industry. This was a really interesting and inspiring session where we learned about potential dance routes after school and about how making a good first impression is invaluable in the industry. It also gave us an insight into their recent choreographic work and an understanding of the many issues surrounding mental health.

Our Yr9 BTEC dancers were put through their paces during a full day of workshops, learning ‘rep’ and creatively exploring issues around mental health. They produced some original work which will now be developed with Mrs Cowan in lesson time and will contribute to their Unit 1 assessment. Yr7&8 Boys selected by their Drama teachers, also participated in workshops. It was wonderful to see the boys throwing themselves into the Hip Hop style (new to them all) and really enjoying themselves. We are looking forward to watching the boys tackle some different styles in the future…Well done Lads! Finally, our Yr8 girls deserve a special mention. 45 in total, bringing so much energy and passion to the workshops. Chad and his dancers all commented on their talent and potential and named Freddies their ‘best’ school to date!

Thanks to the company and our brilliant dancers for all their efforts this week. We were very proud of you all!

Dance Department visit The Royal Exchange Theatre to see ex-student perform in ‘The Producers’

The Dance Department were delighted to support one of our ex-students Charlie Johnson last night, at the closing show of ‘The Producers’ at The Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Charlie, a talented student from the GCSE Dance Class of 2006, went on to study at Pendleton College and Arts Educational, Tring. We are proud to say that Charlie is enjoying a very successful professional career, making her way through the catalogue of Musical Theatre productions and last year, toured the world with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’.  It was so inspiring to watch Charlie perform in this fabulous show and we are looking forward to seeing her back on stage in Manchester very soon. Best of luck Charlie!

Look who’s talking

Young and opinionated?

Too young to think politically?

No platform for youth voice to be heard?

Not old enough to influence?

Just a few questions posed to our Y9 & Y10 Photography and Graphic Design students in preparation for their visit to the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester in January. Our students were introduced to the work of 18C artist William Hogarth and contemporary sattirist @ColdWar_Steve in order explore political and social themes that have been key in Britain over the last few hundred years. This first visit will be the launch of both a new GCSE project for our students but also preparation for the excellent opportunity of exhibiting at the Whitworth later this year.

This project aims to encourage young people from Manchester to voice their opinions about living in Britain in 2019 Using the Hogarth, Prints of Darkness exhibition at the Whitworth and the work of internet collage sensation Cold War Steve, they are invited to share their passions, politics, and perceptions of youth to commentate on the place that they live and the things that matter to them.

After some excellent introductions and background information on the exhibition of work by Hogarth and @ColdWar_Steve our students got to work generating ideas, researching themes and working with resident artist Luke. We came away from the visit buzzing with ideas and really looking forward to planning our exhibition, stay tuned for dates and images from our next visit.

A brief outline on both artists being studied.

Hogarth

Hogarth was raised in poverty in London. He was apprenticed to a silver engraver at the age of sixteen. Talented and driven, he soon became a successful painter. As a savvy businessman he was attracted to print publishing as a means of marketing himself to a wider audience, maintaining control of his images, and making money. Over forty-three years Hogarth published more than two hundred prints, the majority of which he engraved himself, and gained a lasting international reputation.

Hogarth portrayed life around him with clever wit and remarkable originality, and is regarded today as the “father” of graphic satire, with a legacy that includes James Gillray, Paula Rego, Yinka Shonibare, Goya and Steve Bell. Hogarth created the genre of the serial, producing narrative sequences of prints that he called “modern moral subjects”. These stories hightlight the social and spiritual decline of individuals corrupted by the excesses of London.

Cold War Steve

Described by his many online Twitter followers as ‘the modern Hogarth’ Christopher Spencer aka Cold War Steve produces collages of Brexit Britain to much acclaim. His responses to the present news landscape, that feature world leaders from Donald Trump, Theresa May and Kim Jong-un to ‘low-level celebrities’ are generated in collage form and have helped him acclaim a following that presently make him one of Twitters most funniest accounts.

Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time School Visit

With its striking blend of sublime character acting, technical spectacle and physical set-pieces, ‘Curious Incident…’ the Simon Stephens play based on the novel by mark Haddon has long been a favourite of the staff and students at Freddie’s dating back to our first visit to see the show in 2013. It has been a staple of the Year 8 curriculum since and the brilliant work of Frantic Assembly (the company behind the movement in the show) has influenced our creative work in all year groups. Needless to say we were absolutely thrilled to be selected by the National Theatre as one of the schools that the show would visit in its first ever ‘Curious Schools’ tour…

After transforming our Drama Theatre into the eye-catching staging for the production, the whole of Year 8 were treated to a sublime performance of the play (complete with adorable dog!) and question and answer session with the cast and directors. Our students were left inspired and energised to begin their own work based on the script and can count themselves (as well as our staff!) lucky to have seen such a phoenominally successful show at such close quarters.

School Of Rock

In November we were thrilled to finally share with the school community and beyond our fantastic production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘School of Rock’. A cast comprised of all year groups and led by Year 10’s Corbin Bewley in the iconic role of Dewey Finn, the show wow’d sold out audiences with its incredible energy, professionalism and showcase of talent. What was all the more impressive was the inclusion of live on-stage instrumentation played by the cast and the fact that the backstage team was entirely made up of and led by the students themselves.

“The experience was amazing” says Niamh Barnes from Year 11 who played the role of Maddie in the show, “It was great to work as part of such a talented team and to make so many new friends. I’ll never forget it!”. On behalf of the staff involved, we would like to say a huge congratulations to the whole cast and crew on such a successful show. On to the next one!

London Calling!

As our‘School of Rock’ opening night approaches on 20th November, we felt it only right that we go and see the show in London’s West End as part of our final preparations. In what was a fantastic weekend for the cast and crew of our show, we were fortunate enough to attend a professionally led workshop at the prestigious Pineapple Dance Studios with original cast member Nick Butcher. Our students were put through their paces with choreography from the West End stage and Nick, as well as our own staff on the trip, were thrilled to see the wonderful attitude and work ethic of our students in such a special setiing.

After lunch and a brief foray into Covent Gardens (where our students treated onlookers to a street performance of the choreography they had learned!) it was on to the New London Theatre to see ‘School of Rock’ in the flesh. A wonderful show with incredible energy and inspiring talent from young performers, our own cast left energized and excited to get back to work on their own performance.

Tickets for our show are available at reception!