Winter Term Newsletter 2017

Words from the Head...

Dear Parents, Carers, Students and Pupils, 

One thing about ArtsEd that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly the end of term seems to come around. It really does seem like it was just a few weeks ago that we were welcoming all the new students and pupils to the School and starting rehearsals for the Open Evenings, and suddenly we’re in production week for The Music Concert, and it’s our first Day School audition day next Friday!

It’s been a very exciting term filled with wonderful performances and academic successes that serve to remind us all why ArtsEd has cemented its place as the number one performing arts school in the country. We’ve also had a thoroughly enjoyable TAP event last week, which raised a fantastic amount for a number of very worthy causes; a huge thank you to everyone involved and I’m already looking forward to the next event!

From January Year 11, 12 and 13 will be involved in a range of PPEs (pre-public examinations, or what we used to call mock exams) and modular tests, so I know that revision will be part of the break, and we wish all the students and pupils the very best of luck with all their examinations. From the start of next term we will also be seeing a number of productions taking shape, including ‘Violet’ which is our Musical Theatre entry for The National Student Drama Festival 2018, as well as all the preparations and rehearsals for The Dance Show, so it’s another exciting term ahead!

In January we will also be starting our ‘Them and Us’ project. ArtsEd is part of a national organisation called PiXL, which is a network of 1800 plus schools across the UK who work together to share best practice in education. ArtsEd was in fact the first independent school to join PiXL, but there are now over 30 independent schools in the group, along with a number of grammar schools all looking to be ‘even better’. ‘Them and Us’ is a programme that has been designed to teach and promote the notion that every one of us has a part to play in making the world a more understanding, positive and fundamentally kinder place to live by following the three principles of:

√ Living without harming others
√ Doing acts of kindness
√ Showing respect for others

We will be fully committed to joining this project, and I look forward to telling you more about it and sharing how we demonstrate these three principles on a daily basis in our School, and in the wider community. There will also be events where parents and carers can get involved so look out for those too!

All that is left for me to say is Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the pupils, students, parents and carers who make up the ArtsEd family. I look forward to seeing you at our Academic Review Day at the start of next term.


Adrian Blake

Words from the TAP Chair...

Dear Parents and Carers,

ArtsEd pupils and students hit the ground running in September and this newsletter offers just a glimpse of some of the varied activities and projects that took place this term. I was thrilled that the recent TAP (Teachers’ and Parents’ Association) event, ‘Tap into the Groove’, raised close to £4,000 – half of which goes towards the School’s Hardship and Bursary fund and the remainder towards upcoming TAP projects. Keep an eye out for news early next term regarding the next TAP social!

On behalf of the School, I would like to thank you all for your very generous support and wish you and your family a restful break and a fantastic New Year.

With very best wishes,

Julia Collura

TAP Chair
Director of CPD and Careers Education

TAP into the Groove Evening

By Liz Miles (Year 9 TAP parent representative)

The last Wednesday in November saw TAP’s new social calendar get off to a flying start with ‘TAP into the Groove’: a lively fundraising evening in aid of the school’s Hardship Bursary Fund and other TAP projects. Hosted at the wonderful Hogarth Club, the event kicked off with welcome drinks and saw more than 100 ArtsEd parents plus teaching staff being treated to a soiree of great food, drink and live entertainment. The club’s in-house café, ‘Crucial’ laid on delicious curry bowls and music was provided throughout the night by some of the school’s hugely talented Sixth Form Students and the wonderfully versatile 'Bigger than Mary'. Energetic sets saw a lively dance floor throughout the night. The TAP raffle proved immensely popular and a live auction with some amazing prizes (very generously donated) saw some splendidly competitive bidding. The event was a hugely successful way to go into the new social year, with other TAP events already in the planning.


There's another chance to see our Sixth Form at our next Open Evening on Wednesday 10 January 2018! Register to attend now. We look forward to welcoming you to ArtsEd.

Dance Proms 2017

By Gracie Caine (Year 10)

On 5 November 2017, the ArtsEd Youth Dance Company performed at Dance Proms, an annual dance event held at The Royal Albert Hall. We performed ‘Red’ choreographed by Christopher Reynolds. It was an amazing day and such an honour to perform at such a prestigious event. We also took part in the finale alongside many other schools performing that evening. Once the evening was finished, it was announced that the 2017 Dance Proms would be the last one. Although this saddened us, we were so happy to have the opportunity to perform as a company in the final Dance Proms.

An Intimate Evening with Kristin Chenoweth at The London Palladium

By Miriam Allaby (Year 12)

Performing with Kristin Chenoweth on the 20 October was an absolute dream come true! Having grown up listening to her on the ‘Wicked’ soundtrack and dreaming of playing Glinda, it was amazing and yet so surreal to be standing on the same stage as her. We’d all worked so hard – especially Joe Wilson and Rob Bannon, who taught us the songs and harmonies for hours on end – therefore, it felt very rewarding to see Kristin crying with joy that we had created the sound she wanted.

One very special moment for me was during the tech rehearsal. We were about to sing ‘Upon this Rock’ and Kristin spoke to us about putting intention and meaning behind the lyrics and how we needed to think about something that was important to us and channel that into the song. After she spoke to us, we sang the song and created this amazing energy and sound. After we sang ‘Reasons for Hope’, which closed Act 2, Kristin invited Michael Orland (Musical Director) and us to bow with her at the end.

It was an honour to sing with Kristin in the London Palladium, perform in front of West End and Broadway veterans and share such a special experience with an amazing group of people. It was my first ever professional West End show and was the best way to be welcomed into the industry.

'Follies' at the National Theatre

By Rosalie Morales (Year 13)

On 14 November, BTEC Year 13 Musical Theatre students and the Sixth Form Musical Theatre Company were lucky to attend the wonderful musical, ‘Follies’ at The National Theatre. A Stephen Sondheim musical, it is set in New York, 1971 where the Follies stars are having a reunion. It's an inspiring production with a talented cast including Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton, it also featured eight ArtsEd graduates. As it was such a challenging score, the emotion through song was simply astonishing, helping us all to understand the importance of storytelling through song, something that we’re always trying to improve upon!

Although there were a few costume difficulties, this served to remind the audience of the beauty of live performance. As professionals, the actors simply carried on like nothing ever happened. As a Musical Theatre student, trips like these really increase my knowledge of the industry, providing me with a wider range of stylistic choices to listen to and research. It also allows my peers and I to enjoy a wonderful time together making the best memories in London whilst studying something we love.

PGL* Review

By Declan Miele-Howell (Year 8)

PGL was really fun. I loved hanging out with my friends and making new ones! My favourite activity was definitely the giant swing, which was a group task in which two people sit in harnesses and the rest of the group use ropes and pulleys to lift the two people up. When they’re high enough, one person on the ground holds them still with yet more ropes and pulleys. The last step is for one of the two people on harnesses to pull a string next to them, which lets them go. I enjoyed this the most because it felt like I was on a rollercoaster!

Another activity I enjoyed was the zip wire, which used pulleys and ropes to lower you to the ground. I loved this because it made me feel like I was in ‘Mission Impossible’. Lastly, I loved the campfire; we roasted marshmallows, sang songs, and ran around. Overall, PGL was really fun, and I would recommend it to any future Year 7's or Year 8's.

*Although children often refer to us as "Parents Get Lost", the company actually takes its name from the man who started it all in the 1950s - Peter Gordon Lawrence:

My Tea and Texting Experience

By Jack Goodwin-Freeman (Year 9)

On Monday after lunch, we visited the Danehurst Brent Lea Sheltered Housing to help educate some of the over-60s on how to use mobile phones and gadgets, as even we find them tricky sometimes!

Two of the important apps we showed them were FaceTime and Skype, as several members’ families lived in different countries. I chatted with Zeita, who moved to London in 2005 because she found her home country of Nigeria too hot for her and bad for her health. Unfortunately, when Zeita left Nigeria she also left her family behind and was not in frequent contact with them. We taught her how to use FaceTime so every night she could call her grandkids in Nigeria and keep contact with her loved ones.

We also had a chance to talk about our school, our drama and dance courses.

Overall, the Year 9 pupils who visited the centre saw the trip as an eye-opening experience and a very worthwhile intergenerational project, as we got to listen to the over-60s share their experiences of when they were at school, which were very different to ours at ArtsEd!

Skills London

By Louis Moffat (Year 11)

On Friday 24 November, Year 11 ventured to the ExCel Centre for the Skills London Exhibition, the UK's biggest jobs and careers event for 15-24 year olds and their families. The event attracts over 30,000 visitors and 200 exhibitors including top employers, colleges, training providers and advisers. This event provides visitors with the opportunity to discover careers through interactive, inspirational activities and demonstrations, and helps young people visually bridge the gap between what they enjoy doing and what they could potentially do as a career. The bustling crowds were complemented by enthusiastic career representatives who couldn't help but force their occupation onto you (mostly with brochures).

There was a huge range of careers being shown ranging from media to construction. I built a small wall with bricks and cement in the building section and then serenaded unsuspecting students in the music section; this is just one example of the diverse range of activities. However, there was a very obvious bias towards construction in the exhibition, which shows how this exhibition is perhaps conditioning us to fit around the perception of what is needed – possibly led by the Government? This is only one viewpoint, and not necessarily heavily informed, but the bias was clear to see.

However there was an extensive range of careers represented and nearly every occupation was covered. Overall the visit enriched our knowledge, and increased our understanding of what’s possible and how we could achieve it. This exhibition was a reminder that our future is in our power!

Science Club

By Parisara Boonrungreung, Science Teacher

Every Wednesday lunchtime Year 7 and Year 8 pupils take part in Science Club. It is a place for pupils to learn about all scopes of sciences from chemical elements to biological systems to the environment. It is a relaxed and fun environment for pupils to go and practise their scientific skills. Pupils either work in groups or on their own.

To date, pupils have completed over 20 experiments, sometimes they are linked with what pupils are currently learning or sometimes they are wacky! We have completed half a dozen dissections; let off a handful of rockets at Chiswick Green (paper ones that is); tried and failed at making slime; produced toothpaste fit for an elephant and ended the term on our annual Chemistrees! Here’s Diva modelling one of them on the right.

French Trip

By Leigh Brennan (Second in English)

Before starting in September at ArtsEd, I was invited to attend the Paris trip with Years 9, 10 and 11. Not only was it a great way to get to know everyone, but every single day was packed with French culture, history and many coach-bound musical renditions!

It must be said that it was really lovely to see how the year groups interacted with each other during the six days. Highlights definitely include: the boat trip along the Seine with students pointing out landmarks and enjoying the acoustics under the bridges; the exciting pandemonium of Disneyland with the added magic of a 16th birthday; speaking to students in the Père Lachaise Cemetery at Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison’s graves and Mr Gordon’s famous speech about La Commune de Paris.

The visit to the French school was invaluable. Students really engaged with the opportunity to use their French with native speakers and it was really interesting to see how French schools differ from British schools.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much of Paris in my life. It was a fantastic opportunity to get a better understanding of the students at ArtsEd and it was great to see them outside of the classroom setting.

Until next year, au revoir.

Visit to York November 2017

By Oliver Hawkins (Year 13)

The Film and Media Studies teachers Krishna Dubasiya and William Reiss, took Year 12 and Year 13 students to the wonderful and architecturally beautiful city of York to attend the ‘Aesthetica Short Film Festival’. On the first morning, we walked towards York Minister and then split off into small groups of three and four. We had an hour to watch films before attending the first master class, ‘Digital Technology Democratized Film Production’ led by editor Jaime Estrada-Torres who worked alongside Stanley Kubrick in ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. The talk addressed changes in technology and how those changes have affected the job of an editor in the film industry.

After this we had another talk from a member of the visual effects team from Industrial Light & Magic, who are a company that were set up by George Lucas and initially made to improve the visuals in the Star Wars series. The talk was about ‘Rogue One’ and the visual effects behind the creation of the city of Jedha. After the talk, we went and watched as many films as we could that covered these genres: animation, comedy, drama, thriller, experimental, fashion, documentary and advertisement. My two favourite short films were ‘Salt’ and ‘Rated’. ‘Salt’ had a surprising twist at the end, which juxtaposed the rest of the storyline. ‘Rated’ had an engaging concept that revolved around a rating system that people were given above the age of eighteen.

The next day we continued watching films, but also had another masterclass from the Head of Screen Acting at RADA. The talk, ‘Getting the Right Performance from Actors’ was very interesting and suggested how directors need to influence actors from day one of the process. After watching some amazing films and experiencing three fascinating masterclasses, it was time to get some rest for the journey home on the Sunday. However, before that we needed to get one classic group photo by York Minster to signify our trip to York – so we did.

We are delighted to introduce new members of staff to ArtsEd Day School...

Leigh Brennan

Leigh Brennan (Second in Charge of English) is excited to bring her creative approach to teaching to the pupils at ArtsEd with an aim of supporting each child in reaching their full potential. Having studied English and Creative Writing in Liverpool and working with a series of charities, youth groups and outreach programmes, Leigh’s pedagogy has been shaped through teaching in a number of challenging settings as well as from her experience as an AQA examiner during the recent transition to the new 1-9 specification.

Christian Bullen

Christian Bullen (JMT Director), originally from Wales, is a professional director and choreographer of musicals in the UK and China. He is very experienced in working with young performers and providing them with the tools to excel in such a multi-disciplinary genre. Christian’s approach is to encourage the students to always think from an acting perspective when dancing and singing, providing them with the chance to integrate their skills. He is very honoured to begin working for ArtsEd and is looking forward to the JMT Showcase in April!

Lillian Dahdal

Lillian Dahdal (English) hails from Sydney, Australia, where she trained in teaching across secondary school through to university (Bachelor and Masters degrees). She moved to the UK to pursue her dream of working abroad and is excited to join ArtsEd, where she can encourage her pupils to make a habit of enhancing their literacy skills in a holistic and inclusive learning environment.

Ellen Elphick

Ellen Elphick (Ballet) The transition from professional ballet dancer to ballet teacher has been extremely rewarding and very worthwhile for Ellen. She feels it is an honour to teach at ArtsEd and is grateful for the opportunity to teach youngsters who wish to go into the industry and have the drive to be successful. She is especially enjoying passing on her knowledge to those so willing to learn.

Grace Holmstock

Grace Holmstock (Art) joined the Art team at ArtsEd in September to cover Mrs Swingler’s maternity leave. Born and raised in East London, she has been teaching Art and Design for 13 years in a variety of schools across London, Essex and Yorkshire. She graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Art and Design and studied at Middlesex University (PGCE). With a passion for Art, Grace hopes to encourage all of her students to love the subject as much as she does.

Georgina Kent

Georgina Kent (SENDCO) spent seven years teaching in East and South London before deciding to follow her interest in Special Educational Needs and studied for the National Award for SENCO at UCL. Thrilled to be joining ArtsEd, Georgina reflected: ‘When I first walked into ArtsEd I could tell that it was a very special and unique place. I am really looking forward to working with the pupils and being part of an exciting and friendly teaching team. I hope that I can help the children achieve their full potential.

Virginie Mahou

Virginie Mahou (Modern Foreign Languages) has been lucky to live and teach French in various places overseas, namely Tokyo and New York and is delighted to join the MFL department to teach French alongside Alex Gordon. Virginie, who has a MA in French literature, is very pleased to be working within such an artistic environment.

Maria Rowland

Maria Rowland ARAD PDTD (Ballet) trained at the Royal Ballet School and has worked as a classical ballet dancer in companies throughout England and Europe dancing with Glyndebourne Opera, Images of Dance, Roncalli Productions, Cirque d’Hiver and Birmingham Royal Ballet. She then continued performing for nine years at Lido de Paris as a Bluebell and Principal Pas de Deux in the shows C’est Magique and Bonheur, where she was also dance captain.

Following her dancing career Maria gained both her Diplome d’Etat in classical dance from Paris and her Professional Dancers Teachers Diploma (PDTD) from the Royal Academy of Dance in 2008. Having worked at numerous reputed institutions, such as Urdang Dance Academy, D and B School of Performing Arts, London Studio Centre and Central School of Ballet and Royal Academy of Dance, in 2014, Maria was invited to become one of only 152 RAD Examiners in the world. Maria is enjoying every aspect of her busy and rewarding career and looks forward to passing on her wealth of knowledge and experience to the students at ArtsEd.

Matt Mellor

Matt Mellor (Ensemble Singing Teacher) is thrilled to have the opportunity to share his love for ensemble singing with the students at ArtsEd. His work has allowed him to practise pop, jazz, classical and musical theatre vocals, as well as piano, orchestral conducting and musical direction. This being said, it is working with groups of talented, driven and eager young people, like those found at ArtsEd, that really fuels Matt’s passion for the theatre.

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