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 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!


CDDIR 2018

Below is the video overview of this years Curious Minds funded Cultural Digital Designers in Residence project. See this earlier post for an overview of our involvement this year. Our students were given the opportunity to work in partnership with both Manchester School of Art and The Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art in Manchester on a project that will teach new skills, allow students to create new work inspired by an exhibition and eventually have work exhibited in CFCCA.

Coniston 2018

Once again our GCSE Art, Photography and Graphics students braved the elements and ventured into the wilds of the Lake District for our annual Y11 creative weekend. Not to be dampened by the weather the students arrived at Low Bank Ground in high spirits to be introduced to the theme of the weekend. This year all students would be following the same theme of myths and stories and were introduced to a range of artists inspired by trolls and other creatures and photographers who documented folk lore and the wildermen of European cultures.

Friday night was spent brainstorming ideas and building models representing creatures from our own imaginations with the intention of creating artwork over the weekend using the surrounding landscapes and forests.

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It was a little damp at times but the whole group managed to create some magnificent work in a range of outdoor locations, bookended with an enjoyable boat trip across Coniston water by boat.

Well done Y11!


MMU Degree Show Visit

Students studying GCSE Art, GCSE Photography and NCFE Graphics attended our annual trip to view the Manchester School of Art Degree Shows. The exhibitions provide a vital insight into life studying the creative subjects and the dedication involved in persuing the arts at degree level. We saw work from a huge range of BA and MA courses from Fashion to Architecture, Photography to Ceramics and Painting, students we able to take inspiration and ideas back to school with them and are spurred on to continue creating their own work to the highest quality.


Manchester creative craft tour

Manchester creative craft tour 23rd May 2018

A selection of Mr Bignell’s lucky year 10 NCFE Graphic Design students were taken on a creative craft tour of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The first stop was the Craft and Design Centre, where students had a personal Q&A session with the glass artist Gemma Truman, Gemma talked about her creative journey, her sources of inspiration and how she established her self as a practicing glass artist. Students then visited other artist’s studios to ask questions, be inspired and discover how different craftspeople work and make a living.

Students then moved on the Richard Goodall Gallery, where they had the chance to look through and purchase contemporary prints and artwork inspired by film, fashion, culture and music. Then to Afflecks Palace and Oklahoma where students browsed and purchased some of the diverse and original creative crafts and delights on offer, and then finally to The Chinese Arts Centre for an introduction, by Abilgail Mitchell, to the current exhibition and video installation followed by a spot of lunch before returning home. The trip was a huge success with our students, who are eager to return to Manchester’s creative hub in the future.