Performing Arts exam performance evenings

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 17 February 2020

On Thurs 13th February the 2nd year Performing Arts BTEC students (above) completed one of their final performance assessments. They presented a mixture of Musical Theatre, acting and dance work, including numbers from Cats, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Chess and Teechers. The evening was very well attended by students' families, friends and college staff. Students' work was a of a consistently high quality and we look forward to their final devised performance assessments in May. 

This followed the year 1 Performing Arts students' performance evening on 30th January, which again played to a full audience of friends and families. Again, students performed across the disciplines, selecting either Musical Theatre, acting or dance. Work included songs from Sweeney Todd, Company, Gypsy, dance numbers from Chicago and scenes from Teechers and Mother Courage and her Children. Students did themselves proud in their first performance assessment of the course. 

It was great to see so many of our students coming to support each other on both of these evenings.

Battle of The Bands

By Dan Plewinski, Performing Arts Dept., 16 February 2020

Well done to everyone involved in this year's Battle of The Bands at the Arts Centre

A great night!

Musical Reel

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 3 December 2019

The Sixth Form College production of "Urinetown - The Musical" is opening tomorrow night! Thanks to Lucca Mansell and Tia Winterbottom for planning, filming and editing this publicity showreel. Friday night has now sold out and a few tickets are still available for Wed and Thursday but they are going fast! 

Tickets available HERE

Less than 2 weeks to go!

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 29 November 2019

With less than 2 weeks to go, the preparations for the college musical stepped up a gear as the drama studio has started to be transformed! The set has been built and the cast and band were able to rehearse with this in place. Tickets are selling well and you can get yours here:

Come and watch our students perform on Wed 4th, Thurs 5th and Fri 6th December at 7pm. Tickets: £9 for adults and £5 concessions. 

Insider Information

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal , 27 November 2019

The 'Insider'.... available now at various locations around college

Pick up your copy today!

Poetry Publication

By Neil Kelly, Senior Tutor, 26 November 2019

Well done to student Jemimah Ngu on the success of her first publication!

`A Passage of Time' is a collection of poems written by Jemimah Masiri Ngembong Ngu. It travels through time from poems written when she was 8 till her teenage years. Growth and change in her writing styles is mirrored clearly in the book. Jemimah M. N. Ngu is a 17-year-old British-born, Cameroonian poet, blogger and student. She's had a talent for writing poetry from a very young age and decided to share her work in `A Passage of Time'. This is her 1st collection of poems and she hopes to publish more

Copies available HERE

Theatre visit to see "The Lovely Bones"

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts , 12 November 2019

Drama & Theatre students went to see a production of “The Lovely Bones” on Wed 6th November at Cambridge Arts Theatre. It is a creative adaptation of Alice Seabold’s novel of the same name. Students really enjoyed the production, with all of them giving it a rating of at least 7 out of 10! The huge mirror that was positioned over the stage gave a really interesting perspective and allowed the audience to see into the mirror as well as behind it. Students will be analysing the staging and the acting in their lessons in preparation for writing essays, on productions seen, in their written exam in the summer. Their next theatre trip will be to see “The Visit”, one of the A level set texts, in February.

College Production of “Urinetown – The Musical” – tickets now on sale!

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts , 25 October 2019

With only 4 weeks to go, rehearsals for the college production of "Urinetown - The Musical" continue. The dystopian, industrial set has been designed and constructed as a box set (see photo). The real thing will be installed in the drama studio mid-November, ready for the cast to rehearse on. The cast, the college band, and the production team continue to work with commitment and enthusiasm, rehearsing four evenings a week (& lunchtimes) leading up to the production which will take place on Wed 4th, Thurs 5th and Fri 6th December at 7pm. They could also be seen rehearsing during the open evenings this week! Tickets are on sale now via Ticketsource:

URINETOWN is a social and political satire set in a fictional future where a terrible 20-year drought has made water so scarce that the government has enforced a ban on private toilets. The citizens must now use the public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company (UGC) – a corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell. Citizens who try to “pee for free” relieving themselves in the bushes, risk being taken away to “Urinetown”, a mysterious place where many have been sent, but no one ever returns. The oppressed masses stage a revolt, fighting for the freedom to pee. URINETOWN is a comic and poignant tale of greed, corruption, love, and revolution (sound familiar?) in a time when water is worth its weight in gold.

We hope to see you there!

University Of Bedfordshire visit A Level Dance students

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 24 October 2019

A Level Dance students welcomed three Dance lecturers from the University of Bedfordshire this term.  They delivered three practical workshops focusing on Flying Low Technique, partner work and Hip Hop Dance.  The students were challenged to a 4 hour physical onslaught, developing their awareness of the changing demands on their body, allowing them to explore the floor and their space.  We have been very lucky to have these experienced practitioners working with us and look forward to joining us again in November to deliver more workshops focusing this time on Drama and Musical Theatre.

Royal Opera House Bridge film to celebrate Arts & Culture

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 24 October 2019

In July, Performing Arts BTEC students took part in a film project for the Royal Opera House Bridge organisation to celebrate Arts and Culture in schools. The short film was made by Girls Du Filme and launched as part of the national Celebrating Artsmark week in October. The film includes many students from across the region, but look out for our students throughout; they also end the film. The college are currently working towards achieving Artsmark status. 

A Level Dance - Artist in Residence Project 2020

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 1 October 2019

As we look back at our U Dance 2019 adventure, we also celebrate this years successful dancers!! Following our wonderful experience at the national exhibition of youth dance talent, we have commissioned ex student Hayley Lemon to work with our talented dancers again for 2020. This week, Hayley auditioned A Level Dancers for her new creative project. There were eleven students chosen from the two year groups, as well as a Rehearsal Director/ Costume Director. Although we cannot compete for the national finals, we have been invited by Dance East to perform as guest artists at the regional finals in April 2020. We are very excited to get in the studio and start creating!!!

College production of "Urinetown - The Musical" - rehearsals are well underway!

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 27 September 2019

Rehearsals for the college production of "Urinetown - The Musical" are well and truly underway. Auditions were held in the first week of September; the show was cast and rehearsals began the following Monday! The cast, the college band, and the production team are all working with commitment and enthusiasm, rehearsing four evenings a week leading up to the production which will take place on Wed 4th, Thurs 5th and Fri 6th December at 7pm. 

URINETOWN is a social and political satire set in a fictional, not so distant future where a terrible 20-year drought has made water so scarce that the government has enforced a ban on private toilets. The citizens must now use the public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company (UGC) – a corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell. Citizens who try to “pee for free” relieving themselves in the bushes, risk being taken away to “Urinetown”, a mysterious place where many have been sent, but no one ever returns. The oppressed masses stage a revolt, fighting for the freedom to pee. URINETOWN is a comic yet poignant tale of greed, corruption, love, and revolution (sound familiar?) in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. Music and Lyrics are by Mark Hollmann; the Book and Lyrics by Greg Kotis. 

Tickets will go on sale on 25th October. 

Performing Arts alumni in "Romeo & Juliet"

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 26 September 2019

Ex-student Jack Richardson (in blue, front row), performed with Matthew Bourne’s dance company New Adventures at the start of September as part of the young cast of “Romeo & Juliet” at the Theatre Royal Norwich. He successfully auditioned alongside hundreds of other young dancers for only 6 places in the Norwich young cast. After intensive rehearsals over the last few months and a week of performances in Norwich, Jack returns this September to complete the third year of his degree at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. Jack left the Sixth Form College two years ago with A levels in Dance, Performance Studies and Maths. He is also one of our Performing Arts alumni who returns to deliver workshops and talks to our current students. We were delighted to see him perform in Norwich as part of such a prestigious company. 

Below - Jack Richardson in Matthew Bourne's "Romeo & Juliet" Sept 2019 (back row, 3rd from left)

Falmouth University visit the Performing Arts Department

By Sarah Pritchard, Head Of Dance, 20 September 2019

On Friday 20th September the Performing Arts Department hosted a visit from the resident practitioners at AMATA (Academy of Music and Theatre Arts), Falmouth University.

The students took part in workshops including Acting, Dance, Music Technology, Pop Music and Theatre and Performance as well as being able to attend talks on life at Falmouth University and the Technical Theatre degree course.  The workshops pushed and challenged our students and the workshop leaders remarked on the enthusiasm of the students and the positive ethos that the department has developed. We are hoping to work with Falmouth again in the near future as part of our growing links with HE establishments.  In October, students will have the opportunity to take part in Dance workshops with University of Bedfordshire and Drama/acting workshops with University Centre Colchester. 

A Level Dance workshop; Jasmine Hall

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 17 July 2019

Something different today for the A Level Dance students.  Ex student Jas Hall returned to give them an insight into her work within the community.  The students were asked to " imagine being an old person", they were then taken through a typical Dance class, working with the elderly or people with Parkinson's disease.  They got to explore sensory exploration with props, seated movement and how you might instruct a group through exercise.  This was a totally new experience of Dance for some students, it was both informative and great fun.  Jasmin graduated with a first class honours degree in Dance from Bath Spa University, has since been working as a community practitioner, dance film maker and choreographer in the local area.  Jas is currently building her company - Jasmine Hall Dance, based in Colchester.

Fashion Show at College

By Suzanne Gartland, Textiles, 17 July 2019

Arts & Culture Festival 2019

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Department, 16 July 2019

On Thursday 11th July the college celebrated with the annual Arts and Culture festival. A wide range of events took place around and outside the college buildings. This included live drama, dance & music performances, a fashion show, Storm radio set, bands on the grassy knoll, Art History trail, body art, an environmental installation, art exhibition, screening of student made films, stop frame animation workshop, West African drumming workshop, amongst other events.

The drama studio performances included devised work from Performing Arts students, musical theatre numbers, songs from the choir and band members, solo dance performances, and electric guitar solos. Also a great audience attended and supported the performers fully!

Drama student gains place in the National Youth Theatre

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 16 July 2019

Huge congratulations to 2nd year student Adam Hills (Pictured in his A level Drama Devised exam piece) who has gained a place at The National Youth Theatre. Adam will be spending three weeks in London in August training with them. This is a fantastic achievement and a wonderful opportunity to work in a professional context. Well Done Adam!

Recognition for outstanding A-Level Art students

By Harvey Taylor, Head of Visual Arts Dept., 15 July 2019

The North Essex Arts Society visited our end of year show in June and they would like to put forward a piece by Ella Sambrook to be considered for the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition in 2020. ‘A’ Level student work, from around the country, has been chosen by various societies to be put forward for selection for this student exhibition.

Ella’s work, if selected for the national exhibition will be on show from early April to mid July 2020 for exhibition at The Royal Overseas League and then The Mall Galleries in London.

Also, on behalf of The North Essex Arts Society they are making awards for excellence to:Ella and fellow student Zoe Kench. The presentation of the awards will be at the community stadium in September 2019.

Well done!

A Level Dance Workshop with Katherine Gaukroger

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 15 July 2019

Even though we are in the final week of term, there is no rest for our A Level Dance students. Katherine Gaukroger visited to deliver a challenging workshop today.  Katherine is an honorary member of the Performing Arts department at The Sixth Form College. Although she did not study A Levels with us, we have followed her journey through her Dance training very closely.  Katherine is the daughter of our Head of Performing Arts - Alison Gaukroger!  Thank you to Katherine for the practical insight into training at Bird College, the students thoroughly enjoyed the session.

The Royal Opera House and Gurls Du Filme visit the Performing Arts dept.

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept, 15 July 2019

Royal Opera House Bridge has commissioned the production company, Gurls Du Filme, to create a short film based on children and young people’s perception of Art and Culture. They have been filming children and young people across the eastern region and today visited our department and worked with the BTEC Performing Arts students. With the focus on Musical Theatre our students were filmed singing, and then rehearsing and performing a choreographed sequence from Bob Fosse's "Cell Block Tango" from the musical Chicago. The short film will be produced by October this year ... watch this space!

Musical Theatre workshop from Leeds College of Music

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Department, 15 July 2019

Adam Stadius, course leader of the Musical Theatre degree at Leeds College of Music, visited on Friday to run a workshop with BTEC Performing Arts students. He explored how acting through song can effectively communicate meaning for an audience and also gave individual feedback to students who had prepared audition songs. Once again, Hugo Bragg, who has just finished his A levels with us, returned as our accompanist on piano. Alex Terry, who has also just completed his A levels, has secured a place on the Musical Theatre course at Leeds, to start in September. It is a brand new course set up with the guidance of industry professionals. We wish Alex every success and look forward to him returning next year to share his experiences with us.

A Level Drama & Theatre devised practical exam success

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 12 July 2019

A level Drama and Theatre students have recently performed their devised pieces for assessment. The practical exam performance and 2 pieces of written coursework form 40% of their final A level.

The students all worked in groups of 5-8 and creatively adapted short stories by a range of authors including DH Lawrence, Truman Capote and Italo Calvino. They used the work of practitioners Katie Mitchell and Frantic Assembly to inspire their creative approaches. Some were humorous and quirky, some were serious and thought provoking; all of them entertained their audience and examiners! 

Musical Theatre Audition workshop

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts , 10 July 2019

Genevieve Clarke, one of our ex-Performing Arts students, returned to college to run a musical theatre audition workshop with our current Performing Arts students. After leaving college and working for Red Rose Chain theatre, Genevieve trained at LIPA, completing a BA (Hons) in Acting, and then The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she completed her MA in Musical Theatre. This workshop gave our students a chance to receive individual feedback on their audition songs, each one improving significantly with Genevieve’s guidance and suggestions. This was valuable advice as students start their preparation for auditions at conservatoires and universities, which will begin next term. It is also building students’ skills and confidence for the musical theatre unit on the Performing Arts course. Students sung songs from the musicals “Be More Chill”, “I Love You Because”, “Come From Away” and “Hairspray”. All were ably accompanied on the piano by our year 2 student Hugo Bragg.

A Level Dance workshop: John Slade

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 9 July 2019

A Level Dance students were given yet another opportunity to explore new approaches to movement, with a workshop delivered by ex student John Slade.  John graduated from Trinity Laban with a first class honours degree in Dance Theatre and later retrained at The Poor School in 2016 as an actor.  John now successfully works within the Dance/Theatre industry and has regular voice work.  John focused his workshop on exploring Laban Qualities of movement and improvisation.

EVOLUTION Foundation College visit the Performing Arts department

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 5 July 2019

The Performing Arts department were delighted to welcome the Principal of Evolution Foundation College Jacqui Tapsell and Head of Singing at the college, Mark Connell. They talked us through what to expect from a Foundation course in the Performing Arts and the benefits of this level of training; this helps to prepare students fully in terms of skills and confidence before they go on to a Performing Arts college to study at diploma or degree level. This is essential information for our students to take on board as they continue to research the many options available to them in terms of performing arts training and careers. We have had students leave us at The Sixth Form to go on to train at EVO over the last couple of years, and another four Performing Arts students will be joining the EVO team in September. A really informative afternoon!

Alumni return to the Performing Arts Department for annual H.E. conference

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 4 July 2019

Fifteen Alumni students returned to the Performing Arts department to be the panel at our annual Performing Arts Higher Education conference. A wide range of ex-students attended who are either completing their training at university or conservatoire, or currently working in the industry as actors, dancers, musicians, producers or the like. They gave advice to our current students on the merits of taking a Gap year; finding a theatrical agent and how this works; advice to take every opportunity offered to you if you can; what to look for when researching and selecting universities and conservatoires, or any other career pathway; being prepared to work hard in a highly competitive industry; not expecting that career paths go as smoothly as you anticipated, or even in the direction you anticipated! A really valuable afternoon was spent listening and questioning some of our alumni who were once in the same position as our current students.

Two more workshops this week for A Level Dance students

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 4 July 2019

This week, A Level Dancers had two more FREE workshops with ex Dance students. Lucy Teed and Jack Richardson returned to deliver two very different workshop to current students.  Lucy, a local yoga teacher worked with the students to explore the use of breath within movement. We are hoping to see Lucy regularly at college next year, working with the Dance students for regular yoga classes to compliment their Dance training. Jack, currently a training dancer at Northern School of Contemporary Dance introduced the student to the working methods of the conservatoire. Some of the current dance students will be looking at NSCD as an option for study at the end of their second year. Jack has been selected as part of the Young Cast, touring in Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet. Jack will be performing at the Norwich Theatre Royal in September this year.

Colourful College at Induction

By Jan Harker, Assistant Principal, 3 July 2019

The College loves to display student work across all subjects and courses, so that current students, prospective students, staff and visitors have a vibrant and creative environment to visit and work in. At this time of year many courses are able to show prospective students examples of the work produced by our current students; just one example being the Textiles room during the two induction days for students joining us in September.

A Level Dance Workshop: Niki Taylor

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 27 June 2019

Another Dance workshop, this time with a difference.  today our ex student Niki Taylor returned to talk to the current students, about how she has successfully started her local school.  Niki run Taylor's Dance School here in Colchester.  She explained how she had originally planned to pursue a career in nursing but during her first year at university, changed her mind and set up her school.  The school is 4 years old now and growing steadily.

BAFTA Win For Former Student

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 26 June 2019

Well done to former student Yasmine Permaul (second right back row) - part of the BAFTA Award winning team behind Lucy Worsley's 'Suffragettes'.

Yasmine was always determined to work in the media. Whilst at  college she picked up an excellent A* grade for her Extended Project in the field alongside the Essex County Standard Award for Communications.

She tells us it's a hard life - she recently had to spend six months in Hawaii researching World War II....

Radio Waves

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 26 June 2019

A big thank you to everyone at the student-run 'Storm Radio' station for bringing that festival vibe to our recent induction event

Dance group back in the studio preparing for national U Dance finals!!!!

By Sarah pritchard, Head of Dance, 25 June 2019

A Level Dance leavers, returned to the studio this week to start preparations for their coming U Dance 2019 national final. Having been successfully chosen to represent the Eastern region - 23 youth dance groups were selected from hundreds of entrants nationwide. The dance groups are drawn from school dance groups, youth dance companies, private dance schools and the national Centres for Advanced Training. 

It was lovely to have the group back in the studio, they were in high spirits - excited to be refreshing the piece and reconnecting to their characters.

The performance takes place on 21st July at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre .  For more information about U Dance, please follow the link below: 

A level Dance Workshop: Hayley Lemon and Marta

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 21 June 2019

Our last workshop this week, we finished with a real treat!  A Level Dance students were lucky to get a Contact Improvisation session from, our ex student Hayley Lemon and Marta.  The session challenged students to think about their connections with their partners, whilst performing a Wim Vandekeybus inspired duet the pair learnt whilst at the annual Deltebre Festival in 2018. 

Hayley left college in 2014, graduated with a first class degree in Dance from the University of Bedfordshire and has this year also gained her Masters Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography.  Hayley returned to college earlier this year, to work as our Artists in Resident.  She worked with second year A Level Dance students on a 6 week creative project.  The final work they created, will be performed this July at the final of the 2019 U Dance competition.

Art & Design - Private View exhibition

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 20 June 2019

On Thurs 20th June the Art department held a private view exhibition to display students' work. This involved the work of students across the Visual Arts department including Fine Art, Sculpture, Photography, Art History, Textiles, Graphic design and Product Design. It was very well attended by parents, staff, students and friends and, as always, showcased an outstanding level of work from all those involved.

A Level Dance workshop: Emma Shouksmith

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 19 June 2019

Another challenging workshop from one of our Alumni. This time A Level dancers extended their skills to a musical theatre style. Emma graduated from the University of Chichester in 2017 with a first class degree in Musical Theatre (Triple Threat). Emma is currently a dance practitioner in Colchester and the surrounding area. 

A Level Dance Workshop: Libby Farrelly

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 18 June 2019

Another exciting workshop, this time led by Libby.  Having graduated from De Montfort University with a Dance Degree, Libby is currently studying for a Masters degree in Marketing.  Libby is still heavily involved in Dance and came back to work with the current Dance students. She offered sound advice to students, on following your dreams but being open to a change of direction as you grow and learn more about your future options.

A Level Dance Workshop: Beth Storie returns

By Sarah Pritchard , Head of Dance, 17 June 2019

Beth Storie returned to deliver a workshop for current A Level Dance students. Since leaving college in 2014, Beth has graduated with a 1st class degree from De Montfort University and a Masters degree in Dance from University of Bedfordshire.  Look out for some exciting news about Beth's career in the near future....

A Treat for A Level Dance Students

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 10 June 2019

Ex student Luke Jessop returned from Belgium to deliver a practical workshop for A Level Dance students on 23rd May. Since leaving college in 2009, Luke has built a very successful Dance career. He trained at the University of Bedfordshire, before working with a number of British based dance companies. He then went to Belgium to work with Ultima Vez, a company founded in 1986 by choreographer, director and filmmaker Wim Vandekeybus. Luke has worked extensively with the company, he has now embarked on establishing his own company for his creative explorations. Ion Tribe is the result of Luke’s personal journey. Luke came back to work with our Dance students, exploring repertoire and creative tasks to build each students’ vocabulary. The 3 hour session tested the students physically and artistically, leaving time at the end for Luke to talk to the students about his experience and give sound advice to them whilst they are currently researching and thinking about their own futures beyond the Sixth Form College. The students only had positive feedback about their workshop and are keen for Luke to come back and visit us again soon if there is time in his VERY busy calendar.

Performing Arts Department Launch Promotional Showreel

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept., 10 May 2019

We were delighted to officially launch our new promotional showreel for the Performing Arts department this week. This was filmed, planned and edited by 2nd year Performing Arts and Film student Grace McBurney, with accompanying music by music student Harry Dedhar. Many of our current students have been a part of the show reel, and we feel this gives an insight into being a student in the Performing Arts department at The Sixth Form College. Grace is going on to study Film at University in September.

Performing Arts Dept OSCARS Awards Evening

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 8 May 2019

On the evening of 7th May the Performing Arts Department held their annual OSCARS awards. This is to celebrate the success and commitment of our students to the department in their academic, practical and extracurricular activities. Our guest speaker this year was ex-student Kaia Goodenough who graduated from London Studio Centre in 2016. She is currently the first ever Associate Junior Artist at Dance East, creating and producing for her own company Kaia Goodenough Dance. 

All subject areas nominated students for awards in their specialisms and there was also an award presented to a student who has shown exceptional commitment to the whole department through their involvement in extracurricular activities. This was awarded to 2nd year Drama, Music and Performing Arts student Alex Terry. This year we also gave special recognition to three students who have helped the department in specific areas such as creating a show reel for our website: Grace McBurney; for taking photographs of students’ practical work: Dion Duke; and for directing a Musical theatre production: Andrew Carrington-Moule. It was a very positive and well attended event and a lovely way to say goodbye to some of our year 2 students. Many have secured places at universities and conservatoires to study Performing Arts as well as a range of other subjects.

Other winners were:

Drama & Theatre written work – Gareth Moriarty

Performing Arts Performance Award – Hugo Bragg

Composition in Music – Nicole Roffey

Dance Ambassador – Sandra Maduoma

Most improved student in Music Technology – Max Brand

Commitment and effort in Drama & Theatre – Emeline Eslamian

Most improved Performing Arts BTEC – Victoria Cardoso and Amber Fisher (joint)

Best Performance for Music –  Millie Watson

Above and Beyond in Dance – Rebecca Mahoney

Drama & Theatre performance award –  Adam Dunston

Performing Arts BTEC written award – Gareth Moriarty

Contribution Award for Music – Joshua Bobby

Most improved student in dance – Mischia McLeod

RADA Shakespeare award – Emily Adkinson

Overall contribution to BTEC Performing Arts – Emily Adkinson & Shani Kantor (joint)

Composition Award in Music Technology – Joy Bakare

Most committed and enthusiastic student in dance – Jess Woods

Award for collaborative group work in BTEC Performing Arts – Kayleigh Saunders, Gracie-Mae Pettitt, Holly Felgate, Maisie Warner


Dance & Performing Arts students perform at The Gilberd School Dance show

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 1 May 2019

At the end of the Spring term we were privileged to be invited back again, to be part of The Gilberd school's annual Dance Show. We took two pieces: A group of BTEC Performing Arts students performed their exam piece "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago; A Level Dance students performed the piece entered and chosen for the U Dance national competition FINAL. The piece was choreographed by Hayley Lemon, an ex-Sixth Form student as well as an ex-Gilberd student. We value our links with our local secondary schools, our students benefiting from the experience of touring their work and sharing it with others.

College working towards Artsmark

By Jan Harker, Assistant Principal, 28 March 2019

College is currently working on an approved statement of commitment for the Artsmark, awarded by the Arts Council England, in conjunction with the Royal Opera House Bridge. The aim is to acknowledge the college’s commitment to high quality arts and cultural education, both within the college and the wider community. As part of this plan the college will be offering the Arts Award at Gold level from June 2019. 


By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts, 28 March 2019

The college were delighted to host Splendid productions for the third year running, this time with their three woman production of the ORESTEIA. This three part ancient Greek tragedy was condensed into one hour, making good use of the audience, creating poignant humour from the dark themes of murder and war, and making the audience think about the various perspectives of this dark tale of the family of Agamemnon. The Performing Arts department were joined by Classics students during the performance and workshop, as the performance also complements their A level studies.

The workshop that followed was inspiring and very lively, pushing students to achieve the physical and vocal skills they didn't think they could! Many of the ideas explored, regarding the use of the ensemble and physicality to create perspective, are already being put to good use in students' own devising work for their exam performances. An inspiring afternoon was had, as always, with Splendid! 

Performing Arts and Dance trip to Move it!

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 27 March 2019

Dance and Performing Arts students visited the annual Dance exhibition Move It! this month. Students spent the day taking professional classes, exploring the various exhibition stands and watching performances – everybody looking out for the free marketing material to collect! The exhibition is a wonderful example of how healthy and vast the Performing Arts industry is in this country. Exhibitors from conservatoires, universities, merchandise and dance apparel providing advice and guidance to the students. Our students, who may be thinking of continuing their training in Dance or Musical Theatre, took the opportunity to talk to the representatives about their options. One student also took the opportunity to perform on the freestyle stage, being chosen as the winner of her heat and invited to perform in the Day’s final! It was also a pleasure to see current students and alumni students representing their institutions on stalls, taking the time to chat with our Sixth Form students. It was another successful trip to Move It!, we look forward to taking students again next year!!!


A Level Dancers Performance at U Dance Competition

By Sarah Pritchard , Head of Dance , 11 March 2019

I wanted to take the opportunity, to say how proud I am of the Year 2 dancers who took part in our first “Choreographer in Residence” Pr this year. After 6 weeks working with choreographer and former student Hayley Lemon, they created a work that was successfully chosen to be performed at the regional stage of a national Dance competition. On Saturday, they performed their work to a full house at DanceEast. Nine Youth groups performed at the event, two will be shortlisted to make up the four groups representing the Eastern region – from those groups ONE will be selected for the National final in London.

The six dancers involved and Becca as our rehearsal director/costume manager, were exceptional throughout the project. They were professional, a pleasure to work with and fully committed to the project. The standard of work they performed, their focus and their performance ability was commented on by a number of group leaders on Saturday – including the staff at Dance East.

Thank you to the students - “for all of your hard work, for your confidence and for your professionalism at the event on Saturday”.

Battle of The Bands

By Dan Plewinski, Performing Arts Department , 1 March 2019

Well done to everyone involved in last night's Battle of the Bands at the Arts Centre - especially winners Miraculous Peach, who go on to the final in two weeks time.

Rome Trip for Classical Civilization and Medieval History students

By Adam Bantick, History and Politics Department, 17 February 2019

In February half term, the History and Politics department took 21 A level Classical Civilisation and Medieval History students to Rome. The students greatly enjoyed their visit to Rome, Ostia Antica and Pompeii.

We Didn’t Have Time to Be Scared- Musical Production 15th -16th January 2019

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 4 February 2019

A Level Drama and Theatre student Andrew Carrington Moule directed a cast of 18 students in a production of Andrew Geha’s Musical “We Didn’t Have Time to Be Scared”. He was assisted by fellow Performing Arts student Alex Terry as Musical Director. The production played to a full house on both nights and raised over £670 which will be split between St Barts Charity and The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. St Bartholomew’s hospital treated Andrew’s father who passed away from Leukaemia last year. Andrew dedicated the performance to his father who had enjoyed a previous production of the play that Andrew had been involved in whilst at The Gilberd School. The play told the true story of two Jewish girls who fled Vienna when it was occupied by the Nazis in 1938. Andrew said “This story, despite being filled with sadness and heartbreak, is also filled with happiness and hope; the essence of the play is finding a place to call home. When my father passed away in April 2018 I remembered this play. The idea of being filled with so much grief and sadness, yet somehow finding a way to find hope was appealing for me. This play was my hope”

The department would like to thank all the audience members for their support and generosity but most of all we would like to thank all the students involved who impressed us with their commitment and professionalism. A resounding success!

Creative Writing Trip to North Norfolk

By Nikolai Luck, English Department, 29 January 2019

The 2019 Windmill Writing Weekend saw an intrepid band of some of the students who have opted for the Creative Writing Additional Study venture to the north Norfolk coast in wintry sunshine in order to hone their flash fiction–screenplay writing–short story–versifying-novel opening craft. Writing, walking the coastal path and baking cakes formed the bedrock of the trip with the Windmill itself providing the perfect tranquil base for a winter writers’ retreat.

Choreographer in Residence Project

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 9 January 2019

The Dance Department are excited to announce, that the work created through their Choreographer in Residence Project has been chosen to compete in the Eastern region competition for UDance 2019*. Hayley Lemon and her 6 dancers spent 6 weeks creating Nefelibata , exploring imagery and themes of freedom, rebellion and community. The dancers used their own experiences to explore these themes and reflect on their own understanding of this nomadic lifestyle. If the work is successful in the regional stages, then they will be put through to the national competition taking place on 20 – 21 July at the Southbank Centre, London. The group will be performing their work at DanceEast on 2nd March 2019. It has been a real pleasure watching one of our talented ex students, working alongside and nurturing the talents of our current A Level students.

*Each year the U.Dance National Festival showcases a selection of the best youth dance groups from all over the country. But it’s not just about performance, the dancers take part in workshops and masterclasses with industry professionals, inspire each other with their love of dance and develop their understanding of the dance sector.


By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 18 December 2018

Not everyday we get a ukulele rendition of 'Silent Night' during a staff meeting....

Performance Workshops

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 12 December 2018

On Thursday 29th November, the Dance and Performing Arts Department welcomed lecturers from University of Bedfordshire and Emil Dale Academy. They led three workshops over the course of the day, covering Dance Technique, Physical Theatre and Musical Theatre. We had a fantastic turn out for each of the sessions, from students across the Performing Arts subjects. This is part of our ongoing workshop programme, providing students with invaluable opportunities to experience the expectations of Higher Education and building “workability” skills.

Former Student Returns

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept., 12 December 2018

On Mon 3rd December, ex-student Hayden Carpenter came back to The Sixth Form to run two workshops on acting skills with the level 3 BTEC Performing Arts students. Hayden graduated from the Acting and Creative Performance degree at UCC this summer with a first class honours degree. The workshop sessions required students to use improvisation skills as well as techniques to build characters and respond to given scenarios; all of which will be invaluable in their preparation for the BTEC assessment performances in January and February.

Visit from Spanish Exchange partners

By David Huggon, Head of Spanish, 22 November 2018

From 14th to 21st November, College hosted a group of 19 students and 2 teachers visiting College from Marratxi in Mallorca.

It was  a very successful week. The students got on very well and the Spanish students and teachers were delighted with the hospitality we gave them.

We organized a day in Dedham, London and Cambridge where they got the chance to have a private tour of Christ College. Another highlight was a 1 ½ hour tour of Colchester with Sir Bob Russell, in the sleet. The cold was a bit of a shock for them but they went home brimming with health and happiness.

In these difficult days of Brexit and with all the uncertainty of the future, it is great to see young people from such different cultures learning from each other.

The eagerly awaited return visit to Mallorca takes place in the new year.

Forgotten Black Essex Talk for Black History Month

By Olivia Browne, Culture Committee, 7 November 2018

As part of the national celebration of Black History Month in October, The Culture Committee invited in Southend-based Artist, Producer, and Creative activist Elsa James.

She presented two of her moving image/spoken word pieces which form part of the Forgotten Black Essex Project. This was a popular event with almost 100 attending and students really connected with the issues discussed. Jemimah Ngu (Culture Committee Chairperson) commented afterwards “The talk made me want to find out more about 'Forgotten Black Essex.'

Dance Success

By Sarah Pritchard , Head of Dance, 1 November 2018

A Level Dance student Sandra Maduoma, has been selected from over 400 auditionees across the country to join the National Youth Dance Company of England (NYDC). Sandra is one of just 19 female dancers and 10 male dancers chosen to join the 2018/2019 cohort. NYDC was founded in 2012 and is the country’s flagship youth dance company. Supported through funding by the Department for Education and the Arts Council England, the company is fast establishing a reputation for innovative, high quality work, inspiring young dancers across the sector and offering company members an insight into the profession unlike any other. We look forward to supporting Sandra in her adventure and shall be there to cheer her on when NYDC come to perform at DANCE EAST in April 2019.

History Department trip to Berlin

By Richard Millward, History and Politics Department, 19 October 2018

The History department returned to Berlin last week for their annual tour of the once divided capital of Cold War Europe. 30 students flew out to a very sunny Berlin and participated in a very busy schedule which included a tour of the Reichstag, a visit to the German-Soviet Museum, as well as  an educational visit to a school in Berlin. The trip is especially relevant to the  A level Modern History coursework and enabled the students to witness the enormous change the city has seen from the formation of the country in 1871 through to its Reunification in 1990. This was the first visit to Berlin for many students and the trip brought to life aspects of Germany they have studied in class in a way that will remain with them for a long time.

Stratford-Upon-Avon Trip 2018

By Alison Shelley, English, 17 September 2018

July 2018: a merry band of students and staff set off for the bucolic delights of a Georgian manor house on the outskirts of Stratford-Upon-Avon for a long weekend of dastardly deeds and fateful ambition (Macbeth), bloody tragedy and devilish cruelty (The Duchess of Malfi) and star-crossed lovers (Romeo & Juliet) performed with brio and brilliance by the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company.

The tragedy on stage was somewhat offset by lighter moments offstage as students explored Shakespeare’s hometown with wide-eyed wonder; strolling the banks of the Avon, thrilling to the backstage tour of the RSC theatres, pouncing on exhausted actors for post-play autographs at the stage door and even getting on stage themselves for a spot of impromptu acting (see picture).

For many students this will be their first ever experience of live theatre and what an incredible way to be introduced to its transformative power. Top-notch performances, lines spoken with a facility and cadence that capture the glories of a golden age in English drama and all this embellished by innovative staging that makes these 400+ year old plays shine with an invigorated contemporary relevance. Three plays in three days ensures the weekend bursts with activity and the students embraced all of the opportunities on offer (including Shakespeare-head-shaped shortbread in the RSC cafes) with infectious energy. Another Stratford trip that will burn brightly in the memory!

Arts & Culture Festival

By Olivia Browne and Bel Hathaway, Visual Arts Dept., 17 July 2018

A big thank you to everyone - staff and students - who worked so hard to make this year's Arts & Culture Fest the best yet!

Fashion Show

By Suzanne Gartland, Visual Arts , 17 July 2018

Well done to everyone who took part in last week's fashion show!

Fashion Show .... group shot

By ., ., 17 July 2018

Bird College Annual Showcase

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Department, 16 July 2018

On Saturday 14th July Alison Gaukroger and Fiona Bush from the Performing Arts Department went to see the Bird College annual showcase “Destinations” at The Orchard theatre in Dartford. We have a number of ex-students who attend this conservatoire and were performing in the show: (left to Right) Sophie Pike, Will Argent, Connor Pratchett, and also Katherine Gaukroger, who came to lead a Bird style Musical Theatre Jazz dance workshop with our students on Mon 16th July. These ex-students performed in a range of dance and musical theatre pieces, showcasing their talents, with Sophie and Connor taking on solos within the show. All these students were outstanding in their performances and we are delighted to see them all developing their skills and talents at a professional level. Sophie, as a third year has just graduated from Bird with a Distinction – congratulations to her! It was also lovely to catch up with them after the show!

Workshop and Auditions by Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts.

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 16 July 2018

On Thursday 28th June 2018 we were lucky to have Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts visit the college and run two workshops and mock auditions. Drama, Dance and Performing Arts students took part in workshops in musical theatre and acting run by two of the teaching staff from the school.  Nine students also took advantage of mock auditions to give them valuable feedback and advice when they are applying for Musical Theatre and Acting courses.

Two of our students were lucky enough to be awarded free places at the summer school for two  weeks in July/ August each worth £2,500.  The students were Bryony Diss (Musical Theatre) and Angharad Hickey (Acting).

A fantastic achievement and opportunity!

Performing Arts Higher Education Conference

By Alison Gaukroger, Head of Performing Arts, 6 July 2018

Recently The Performing Arts Department held their annual Higher Education Conference. Thirteen ex-students from the department who are at various stages of their training or career came to give advice and answer questions from our current students.  As always it was wonderful to invite the students back and they gave excellent advice.  It was an enjoyable and informative afternoon.


By Michael Spearman, Rock Workshop, 5 July 2018

Great to see more 'Unplugged' performances on the concourse today

SAFE Exhibition

By Olivia Browne, Visual Arts Dept., 5 July 2018

SAFE - 23 June - 29 June 2018

An exhibition curated by Art History students from the Sixth Form College, Colchester. This exhibition showcased the work of a selection of year 1 Art and Design students who have responded to the theme 'safe'. The exhibition ran  from 23 June -29 June 2018 at Art Exchange at the University of Essex.

The exhibition featured many paintings as well as work by textiles, Photography, Sculpture and Graphics students and included a deconstructed bicycle wheel  sculpture and a jacket fashioned out of cut up abstract canvases.

The University opens its Gallery once a year to schools and Colleges in the area and this year, the Sixth Form College was successful in gaining an exhibition. It is the first time that the end of year art show has also been curated by students and the Arts Outreach Team at the University of Essex really liked this added dimension. The Art History year 1 students also gained valuable curatorial experience in the international gallery setting.

image : The team of curators - Eve Garner, Jack Dempsey, Finlay Flint, Alice Wheeler - with their families


By Sarah Pritchard, Dance Dept., 5 July 2018

A big thank you to everyone (staff and students) who took part in last week'ds Dance Flashmob for induction!

Royal Opera House

By Giovanni Gravina, Modern Foreign Languages, 20 June 2018

A Level Italian students recently added some Puccini to their programme, with a really enjoyable visit to a production of La Boheme at the Royal Opera House.

Fashion Visit

By Adrian Frost, Assistant Principal, 21 May 2018

Former student Martin Brambley, now working for a key textile research facility and heading up a sustainable textiles company, will be coming in to talk about careers in the fashion and textiles. Martin studied Fashion Design: Technology, at the London College of Fashion. As a finalist in the 2015 Kering Award for sustainable fashion Martin had the opportunity to explore how manufacturing technologies could be used in innovative ways in the production of non-woven fabrics. This led to his interest in lead times, supply chains and the networking that goes on to create the mechanics of a supply chain for mass market production. His research has involved creating ethical, transparent and responsible supply chains for his company Doppelhaus LTD who utilise 100% wool fibres in the production of their innovative fabrics.

Anyone here at college back in 2010 may well remember Martin's fashion show in our own Roman Bath Restaurant - the flyer for which is shown above.

Also, well done to previous student Katie Gementera, who attended Colchester Sixth Form from 2010 - 2012. She studied Fashion/Textiles, Art, Photography & Business Studies. After Sixth Form she went on to do a Foundation year at Colchester Institute and then a year later onto University at Parsons, The New School of Design in NYC. She graduated  in May 2017 and in the past year has started her own Fashion Label.  She recently contacted us to share that the Katie Gementera brand has been chosen as one of the top 10 finalists in the ASOS Fashion Discovery competition!  Well done Kate!

Dance Success

By Sarah Pritchard, Head of Dance, 30 April 2018

The Dance Department want to say a warm congratulations to one of our ex students Kaia Goodenough, for the announcement of achieving Junior Associate Artist with our local Dance provider DanceEast. Kaia came to The Sixth Form from The Gilberd School in 2011, she left in 2013 with 3 A* grades in Dance, Art History and Extended Project Qualification (in Dance); A grades in Art and Design and English.  Kaia went on to achieve her BA HONS in Theatre Dance (specialising in Contemporary Dance) at London Studio Centre.

Following her training she has performed as a freelance dancer.  Kaia now has her own Dance company – Limb Dance Co. who premiered their first work at The Place Resolution in 2017. 

Since leaving, Kaia has always given back to The Sixth Form, offering one to one mentoring and practical workshops to our students.  We look forward to working with Kaia whilst she pursues her role at DanceEast.

Creative Writing Residential

By Clarissa Ford, Head of English, 15 April 2018

The English Department's established Creative Writing Residential Trip took place just before Easter.  First Year English Literature A level student Patrick Orrin writes:

On Friday the 23rd March, 12 students and two English teachers left college to spend the weekend on a writing retreat in a windmill just off the North Norfolk coast.

We arrived at the windmill, located outside the town of Burnham Overy Staithe, just before nightfall and were released to explore the beautiful surroundings. After a hearty meal, we all played games and told stories, getting ourselves well and truly into the spirit of the weekend.

The following day, we spent the morning writing stories and poems, before heading out for a long walk to the beach with a picnic.  Pictures taken and sights seen, on sore feet we returned to the windmill with fresh ideas in our minds, keen to get them down on paper.

Sunday morning rolled around, too quickly for some, and we had some time to add finishing touches to our poems and stories. Bags packed, rooms restored and lunches made, we all clambered back into the college bus to return home. A brief stop in Thetford Forest enabled us to stretch our legs and take a few final pictures before we returned to college and parted ways.

Overall, the trip was a great success: the windmill is a truly magical place and inspired some fantastic writing.

Colchester Schools Prom

By Fran East, Performing Arts Dept., 21 March 2018

The orchestra during rehearsals

The orchestra and band took part in the Colchester Schools Prom on Friday 16th March. The strong performance of Jupiter from The Planets Suite by Gustav Holst marked 100 years since the piece was  composed.  

Well done to everyone who was involved!

Performing Arts - Performance evenings!

By Fiona Bush, Performing Arts Dept., 5 March 2018

 February has been the month for BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts performances, both from year 1 (Certificate) on 1st Feb, and year 2 (Extended Certificate) on 22nd Feb.

Musical Theatre performances have included numbers from Into the Woods, Miss Saigon, Cats, Les Miserables and Porgy & Bess;  Acting performances have included extracts from Berkoff’s Metamorphosis and The Trial, and John Godber’s comedy Teechers.

Students have thoroughly immersed themselves in rehearsals for weeks leading up to these performances, which were highly successful and very well received by large audiences.

Whilst sad that this part of the course is now over, students are excited to embark on their next projects. Also, many of these students are in the process of preparing for auditions and/or accepting places at conservatoires and universities including our local UCC, East 15, Trinity Laban, Bird College, GSA, RADA, Central School of Speech and Drama, among others.

Students are also looking forward to our trip to MOVE IT! at the Excel, London, on 16th March

Italian Exchange to Lecco

By Monica Alussi, Modern Foreign Languages Department, 27 February 2018

 11 students and staff recently participated in a 6-day language exchange in Lecco, Lake Como, Italy. The students stayed with their Italian partners, went to lessons with them in the mornings to an Italian Sixth Form and took part in various organised activities in the afternoons. The highlight was going to a concert at La Scala Theatre in Milan, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, making Milan one of the finest cities in Europe. Sunday was spent with the Italian families, to experience the local lifestyle: some were taken on a day trip to the historic Genova dockyards, others preferred a visit to medieval Bergamo nearby. The trip was extremely successful: all students represented the college impeccably and felt they learnt a lot. We are now getting ready to host the second leg of this exchange during the last week in March

Ancient Rome Trip

By Adam Bantick, History and Politics Department, 11 February 2018

The photo shows the group of students at the theatre in Pompeii

In February, a group of students studying Medieval History, Classical Civilisation and Archaeology went to Rome. We saw such sites as the Colosseum, the Forum, Trajan’s Column and the Baths of Diocletian in Rome, and the Roman port of Ostia Antica. A highlight for many was the day spent in Pompeii.

Media Student Returns

By Caroline Ash, Head of Media & Film , 7 February 2018

A big thank you to former student Laurence White (pictured), who returned to college to talk to our A Level Media students. He has held a number of jobs in the media industry, working his way up from runner, through researcher and assistant producer to producer on programmes such as Strictly, X Factor, The Apprentice, Geordie Shore, Celebs Go Dating, TOWIE etc.

He told us he had to be up before everyone else in the Apprentice house - it certainly sounds like long hours!