Collyer’s in Horsham is celebrating record audiences for performing arts in 2017.
Vice-principal Steve Martell said: “It has been a very busy year for the performing arts at Collyer’s. As the college approaches July’s Welcome Days, where new students begin their Collyer’s journey, it is only right that the college has been celebrating the achievements of the past year.
“Record audiences have attended numerous shows including: Into the Woods, TWENTY (the 20th anniversary celebrations of the college’s NEW GROUND student dance company), the Movember Gigs, Bedlam Years and Act for Change.
“In January the college presented Steven Sondheim’s challenging musical Into the Woods. The talented cast and crew included students from across the college and the fantastic set and props were designed and created by members of The Art Class, which forms part of Collyer’s 4As adult education provision. The production received rave reviews from staff, students and parents with standout performances from Darcy Davies as the Witch, Orla Ridpath as Red Riding Hood and Heather Bailey as Jack.
“The Collyer’s annual dance show this year was entitled TWENTY, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of NEW GROUND, the college’s student company.
“Each year approximately 15 dancers are selected by audition to join the company. The dancers rehearse weekly to create work for public performance and represent the college at open evenings, community events and of course, the annual dance show.
“More than 300 students have taken part in NEW GROUND since its formation in 1997. Many of those students have gone on to study and train at professional level and now work as choreographers, teachers and performers within dance companies, musical theatre, TV and the music industry.”
Head of dance Andrea Martin said: “It has been a great privilege to direct the company since 1999 and this year it has been exciting to celebrate with old faces, as well as to welcome Hayley Ovens to the department and the company. Hayley teaches part-time at Collyer’s and spends the rest of her week working as a dancer and education manager at Ceyda Tanc Dance in Brighton, so she brings a wealth of professional experience to benefit the students.”
The music departments’ live performances have raised nearly £1,000 for charity so far this year at large scale events including the Movember Gig, Christmas Concert and Battle of the Bands.
Steve added: “In September students performed the musical Bedlam Years about British values and voices from the 1700s. Following on from the success of Bedlam Years, Drama student Clare Packham, produced and directed the show Act for Change in November.”
Clare said: “I decided to direct and produce this show, not only to develop my directorial skills but to support the charity Act for Change. The project is about increasing diversity in the arts, a cause close to me as an aspiring artist. I selected a range of scenes, speeches and songs and used non-traditional casting to prove your talent is not determined by your race, sexual orientation, class, gender or other factors.”
Welcome Days are on July 3 and 4.
Visit www.collyers.ac.uk to find out more about the school.
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