Fresh faces in the College’s Performing Arts department are bringing about a fresh approach in Drama, Dance and Music this year, with a major production due in December among several initiatives to bring performance to the forefront of College life.
Sian Murray joined Birkenhead Sixth Form College over the summer as the new Head of Performing Arts, while Kirsty Thornton is now our specialist Dance teacher.
The College is also set to offer a BTEC course in Digital Music Production from September 2019, with our bespoke designed Wolfson Sound Studio and live room constructed on campus all ready to go.
Drama Club, Music Club and the Evolve Dance Company have been set up this year and are proving extremely popular with students, and there are plans in place for inspirational trips for our Performing Arts students both in this country and abroad. A Battle of the Bands is in the pipeline for next year along with showcase evenings for Drama students to perform their moderated course pieces in front of an audience.
The new approach kicks off in earnest with an ambitious and exciting production due in December, encompassing students’ skills in acting, dancing and musicianship in the same performance based on Sarah Kane’s hard-hitting ‘Psychosis 4:48’.
Head of Performing Arts, Sian, said: “It’s a piece of promenade theatre so the actors will be dotted around different areas of the College. On entering, the audience will be greeted by a band playing slightly off key, which sets the tone of what we’re trying to do. It’s inspired by the work of Antonin Artaud, and his whole idea of theatre was to ‘attack’ the audiences senses, visually, orally and aurally.
“It’s an adventurous piece but very exciting, as is where the entire department is headed.”
Sian explained: “I think Performing Arts are massively important. Not just for the culture of the UK and the arts in our local area, but for personal skills as well. To be able to get up and speak to people and present to an audience is something that’s hugely beneficial when it comes to life-skills.
“A lot of students are put off taking Drama and other Performing Arts at high school level but we want it to become central to what the College offers.”
Dance teacher Kirsty’s Evolve Dance Company will also be part of the ‘Psychosis 4:48’ production, with intense routines choreographed to represent the effects of trauma and hallucinations.
Kirsty said: “It’s challenging for the students but enjoyable for them and very creative. We’ve started off with this project but after Christmas, we want to look at different styles and make it a collaborative work with the students having their own input into choreography and testing their creativity.”
“The dance company’s not just limited to Dance students. Anyone’s welcome, but having some dance experience will definitely help. We want to grow and get as many students involved as possible, and be part of big shows here at the College.”
Psychosis 4:48 will be performed by the College's students on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th December at 6pm and 8pm. Tickets will be available soon.