In the summer of 2018 we surveyed many groups of people across our community to gauge opinion on a range of factors relating to Manor Performing Arts. One aspect was the summer production.
The challenge is how we can have a summer performance event that has a positive impact on the learning and experience of the 672 students who currently study performing arts at Manor for 2 hours every week as well as the 100 or so others who no longer study music, dance or drama, but who love to take part in our events.
A single full production is a great project to do together, but there is always a restrictive limit in the number of parts available or indeed the space available to safely perform on the stage.
Many people in our survey wanted an opportunity for everybody to be involved, but equally many also wanted a single full musical theatre production. Therefore a decision was taken to produce a single full production every 2 years and an ‘Ultimate Summer Showcase’ every year in between, which would feature many performances from different productions.
For this year, we chose to present Disney’s High School Musical, involving 40 of our young people. As the number is such a low percentage of our performing arts population, we began to consider how those 40 could share their experience with the wider community and this was the start of ‘Performing Arts Leaders’. For this to be successful, we needed to find young people who are passionate about development in Performing Arts.
Students applied for this opportunity in the autumn term, initially in writing and then through 3 stages of music, dance and drama auditions. Students were applying to be a Performing Arts Leader, which in this academic year would also give them a role in High School Musical.
This was the criteria we challenged students to consider. We were looking for young people who:
– are ambitious about their learning in performing arts
– want to achieve at the highest level possible
– are ready to share what they learn with others
– are determined to find a solution, even when it seems impossible
– want to learn at every opportunity from specialists in performing arts
– are always looking for opportunities to encourage others
– want to be part of a team
– have 100% commitment to a project, attending all meetings, rehearsals and events with exceptional organisation and punctuality
Our Performing Arts Leaders are an incredible, inspiring, encouraging group of people. They go above and beyond in everything they do. They make a genuine positive difference to the people they work with. They are like a family.
Summer 2020’s production will be an ‘Ultimate Showcase’ featuring:
Manor young Musician of the Year
Manor young Dancer of the Year
Manor young Actor of the Year
12-15 full production performances of ultimate performance choices from our community. These could be from: musical theatre, pop music, film, dance or anything else
Collaborations between dance, drama and music
Specific performances for KS3 and Ks4 students
Performing Arts Leaders’ Performance
Live music tech performance
Live multi-art performance
There will be 3 identical performance nights at Manor as well as a performance in the centre of York as part of the York HubFest 2020 Festival.
Performing Arts Leaders 2018/19 will be invited to continue as leaders for 2019/20, however the responsibility will be greater in 19/20 to include:
– Taking co-responsibility with staff for the design and delivery of performances
– Leading rehearsals and encouraging peers and younger students
– Taking a leading solo role in the showcase as part of a larger company
Students not wishing to continue as leaders may still partake in the showcase not as a leader, but they must confirm their plans to the PA staff by the end of the summer term.
In the autumn term students will have the opportunity to apply to be a performing arts leader if not in the 2018/19 cohort.
The planning and development team for Showcase 2020 will be led by a team consisting of performing arts staff and selected performing arts student leaders.
The impact of Performing Arts Leaders through High School Musical has been significant. Many of the 40 young people have had a life-changing experience. These 40 have already begun to disseminate ‘best practice’ across the academy. The ambition for 2020 is to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to experience a public performance in performing arts as well as then taking our show into the city to encourage many young people across the city.
July 2019 – students, teachers, parents and friends reflect on, and share their ultimate performance art performance through an online survey.
September – December 2019 – new Performing Arts Leaders recruited. Leaders team confirm the show items. Whole student community given opportunity to sign up for specific items – no audition required. The commitment for rehearsals will not be year-long. Each item will come with a 10-12 week commitment.
Before January 2020, the focus will very much be on the York Minster Carol and autumn performances, as well as GCSE coursework development.
January to June 2020 – rehearsals, preparations for each item.
June 2020 – showcase at manor and in York