Performing Arts

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Pupils at local primary schools were last week treated to two action-packed stage adventures thanks to talented performing arts students from Windsor College, part of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group. Putting their own twist on the classic pantos, Pinocchio and The Wizard of Oz, the students delighted the young audiences with professional shows full of colourful characters and comic capers.

Now in its 14th year, the festive panto tour saw the College students deliver a series of 45 minute pantomimes to groups of between 40 and 300 children at various primary schools, including Marish Primary School, Ryvers Primary School and Eton Wick First School.

Both productions had all the elements you would expect from a classic panto, such as adventure, music, dancing, colourful costumes and plenty of audience participation. The tour was created as part of a module of the College’s Performing Arts BTEC Level 3 Diploma course and students have spent the term developing their skills in this area of performance.

Lecturer Natalie Jones said: “The response at every show was tremendous and the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The tour provides our students with an insight into what it is like to be part of a professional touring company, with some early starts, creating characters, improvising and adapting their performance to fit different spaces.”

The performing arts department at Windsor College have been visiting Ryvers Primary School in Langley on their panto tour for the last fourteen years.

Jane Alameddine, School Administrator at Ryvers School, explains: “The students from the College do such a good job, it is all very professionally organised and our pupils love the shows. That is why we ask them back every year. In fact, they now put on two performances for us.”

The College’s performing arts department has an excellent record of success with many students progressing onto successful careers on the stage and screen or behind the scenes. Former students include actor David Gyasi, who has appeared in Interstella, BBC2 drama White Heat and E4 drama Containment.

Windsor College is part of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, which was formed in 2017 following a merger between East Berkshire College and Strode’s College in Egham. For further information on Windsor College and its wide range of creative courses, please visit www.windsor-forest.ac.uk/courses or call 01753 793000.

Two of Shakespeare's classic tragedies were given a modern twist last week by talented performing arts students from East Berkshire College. Macbeth 4_Home_web

A cast of 29 students from the College's Langley Campus took to the stage to deliver captivating versions of two of the English playwright's greatest works; Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Both productions had all the intensity and poetry you would expect, but with modern costumes and settings.

Set amidst a heavy metal Goth subculture for today's audiences, Romeo and Juliet explored the themes of family feuds, gangland violence and teenage love. Meanwhile, students performed a dramatic Tarantino-style version of 'The Scottish Play' complete with sharp-suited gangsters and a kicking soundtrack.

Making an impression as the murderous Macbeth was first year student James Brooke (18, from Windsor).

James says: "I was so pleased to land the lead role as I really wanted this part. The language is so poetic - it has a real rhythm to it. Macbeth is a complex character, so I did a lot of research beforehand. I really wanted to show his transition from a nice guy to a power-mad man.

"As well as rehearsing, we have all worked together to create the set, props, costumes and marketing material. It's been hard work, but the lecturers have been very supportive. They are a real inspiration."

The productions were staged as part of a module of the College's Performing Arts BTEC National Diploma course. The students have spent the term developing their skills in this area of performance.

From September, the College's performing arts courses will relocate to the Windsor Campus in St Leonards Road in order to benefit from Windsor's vibrant arts scene and links with the Firestation Arts Centre.

The students will also be performing Romeo and Juliet as part of the Windsor Fringe Festival 2012 on Tuesday 25 September at the Firestation Arts Centre in Windsor.

For further information on East Berkshire College's performing arts courses, call 0845 373 2500 or click here.

schools panto_tourThe school term ended last week with a whirl of colourful costumes, swashbuckling pirates and a talking scarecrow. Children at local primary schools were transported to the enchanting Land of Oz and a mysterious desert island thanks to talented performing arts students from East Berkshire College.

A cast of 14 students, who are all studying at the College's Langley Campus, performed two 45 minute pantomimes 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Treasure Island' as part of a festive tour for schools. Both productions had all the elements you would expect from a classic panto, such as adventure, music, dancing, excitement and lots of audience participation.

Student Ashley Pearse (17), who played Dorothy in the show, explains: "This is the first time we've performed for children, so we weren't sure what to expect. The stories and characters are well-known, but we have put our own modern twist on it. For example, we have included some modern songs that the children can sing along to and easy actions so they can join in with the routines."

Syne Thorton-Fry (17), who took on the role of Squeaky Monkey, added: "Seeing the children's reactions has to be the most rewarding part for me, but one of the biggest challenges was adapting the show to the different size spaces available in each school."

Entertaining groups of between 40 and 250 children at a time, the tour visited a number of schools in the area including Langley Manor and Langley Hall Primary Academy.

Jane Sculpher, Head of School at Langley Hall Primary Academy, said: "It's a wonderful opportunity to have the College's theatre group come into the school. The children thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a real treat."

The 'Adventures in Panto-land' school tour was created as part of a module of the College's Performing Arts BTEC National Diploma course. The students, who are all in their second year, have spent the term developing their skills in this area of performance.

For further information on East Berkshire College and its performing arts courses, call 0845 373 2500.

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