Blast Summer School

Moral messages are the order of the day

In August 2016, 27 kids participated in Blast “SuperHeroes Revolution” and 39 in Boom! “The Existential Caterpillar”. It was a summer filled with creativity with a mix of Phoenix Students and kids new to the world of Phoenix.  Two entertaining shows were created by a wonderful group of people, making Blast!’s 18th birthday a year to remember! Both shows had important moral messages. Blast! had the message and slogan “#youhavethepowertochangethings” whilst Boom! had “Be yourself. Not who you think you should be”. These messages were essential to the shows and the spirit of the weeks of creation.






On the first day of Blast 2016, every participant had to pitch an original Super Hero character with the aim to find the four strongest characters to lead the major plot elements in  the show. This led to some amazing offers including Potato Man, Chorizo Fire and The Answer. With the aim to provide origin stories for the four leading heroes the cast set about devising in their groups, assisted by Katie Barker-Dale, who also provided choreography, former students Rhiannon Jenkins and Drew Gregg as well as Phil Dale, Phoenix Director and Founder. Conor O’Sullivan provided film and visual elements for the show and Adam Amor created the music, with the catchy Electrobeat drum number being an engaging aspect of the performance.

One of the most significant aspects of SuperHeroes Revolution was the guerilla theatre plan of taking 27 superheroes out into the streets of Stortford to spread the word of the catch phrase #youhavethepowertochangethings. This was an incredible experience with loads of random people getting involved from all different generations. Despite being asked to leave the Stortford Shopping Centre (Whoops! Too much fun being had!), the outdoor experience was fun, with lots of the community actively getting involved.

The show ended up being a hilarious culmination of music, dance, devised scenes and film, really capturing was makes “Blast!” Blast! It was a show that oozed fun and brought a group of people together to create something special. Special commendation must go to Phoenix Student Josh Copsey for being the 3rd recipient of the annual Chiara Sanfilippo Memorial Award for being an excellent participant and bringing lots to the entire week. Well done Josh!

Click here to see the Vlogs of the creation of Blast!

Boom! 2016 told the story of The Existential Caterpillar, an original story written by Phil Dale about a caterpillar searching for the meaning of life. The show was a funny and heartwarming culmination of joy, with the kids playing different characters that The Existential Caterpillar meets across her journey. The week consisted of a mix of fun drama games and a focused attitude to put together the show on the Friday night.

The week was led by Katie Barker-Dale, assisted by Connor Linden, who provided arranged cover songs for the show as well as the original finale song “Be Yourself”. Ex-student Rhiannon Jenkins and current students Ollie Stacey, Joe Llewelyn, Eve Leng and Matthew Goodeve  helped during the week to help bring the show to life. Ollie and Joe created some simple and yet stylish costumes that really brought something to the show! Conor O’Sullivan provided the film and visual effects for Boom! and this gave the kids the opportunity to work on video and with a greenscreen.

The message “Be yourself. Not who you think you should be” gave the performance a heart and soul and we are very proud of all the kids who worked hard create a 45 minute show in 5 days.

Click here to see the Vlogs of the creation of Boom!

Both Blast! and Boom! have been extremely enjoyable and we cannot wait to see what next year will bring!

To see photos of the productions, click below!



July 21, 2016


by phoenixdrew

in Blast Summer School

It’s time for Revolution!

Blast! returns this summer with a BANG, WHAM and KA-POW as the much anticiapted SuperHero theme finally gets the green light. Following in the footsteps of the movie themed 2012 Zombie Apocalypse Blast (pictured left), this year promises to be enormous fun as we take inspiration from the hugely popular Marvel Film series and create our own alternate reality. In a (not too distant?) dystopian future the Illuminati have taken over, forcing the general public to do their bidding and a group of new superheroes must stand together to take down the system. SuperHeroes Revolution will feature the classic ingredients to a Superhero story: battles, outfits and origin stories!

Founder and director of Phoenix Theatre Arts Phil Dale heads the week long project and will be ably assisted by choreographer Katie Barker-Dale, the two of them leading performance and dance respectively. They will be joined by newcomers Adam Amor and Keeley Thurley. Professional saxophonist and rhythmic percussion specialist Adam (pictured right) will bring an exciting new dimension to the proceedings, as will new PYT tutor Keeley. Green screen video sequences will be overseen by our very own AV man Conor O’Sullivan.

Phil is planning on SuperHeroes Revolution being the perfect mix of structure and madness, with the ambition to add aspects of guerilla theatre performed in the streets. “One of my favourite ever Blast moments comes from Saving Tinkerbell in 2013 when we filmed Peter Pan (pictured left) begging on the streets of Bishops Stortford” explained Phil. “I’m fascinated by the idea of filmed street theatre – it is a whole new style of performance that we can have a whole load of fun with.”

With just over 3 weeks until the project launches on Sunday 14th August there are plenty of spaces available for anyone aged 11 and above who’d like to spend 7 days of their summer break doing something completely out of the ordinary – and admit it – we all have a superhero lurking somewhere inside of us!

Click here for more information and to book online now

Phoenix Summer Schools 2016

This year is the 18th birthday of the Phoenix Summer School, Blast!. Over the last few years we have seen crazy moments in Blast! including a cannibal infested island, a musical theatre universe merge, and a dance off to Cotton Eyed Joe and Zorba the Greek  involving Elvis, a Minotaur, zombies and a bunch of pirates! There is nothing quite like Blast! It is mad, entertaining and enjoyable for everyone involved. Now, in 2016, Phoenix once again returns to the crazy land of Blast! with the hope of this year being the best one yet!






Blast! runs from Sunday 14th to Saturday 20th August 2016 from 10am to 4pms. The aim of Blast! is to provide an unmissable week of theatrical creativity for wannabe performers and technicians aged 11 to 18. Over the course of 7 days participants work with a team of professionals to create a full-scale theatre production that is performed just once on the final evening of the project. Maybe you’re an actor, singer, dancer or musician; maybe you’ve always fancied being a Lighting Designer or Sound Engineer. Whatever you’re interested in, come and spend 7 days at Rhodes with a group of like-minded people and we promise you a week of unforgettable creative chaos!

From 22nd-26th August 2016 is Boom!; Blast’s younger sibling. Boom! has made its mark with a variety of productions and gives kids the chance to feature in leading or supporting roles whilst exploring acting, dance and music. Boom! is a great opportunity for primary aged kids to finish their summer holidays with five days of creativity and fun, building up to a chance to wow their parents and friends in a performance on the last day. There will be a team of theatre professionals from Phoenix to help and assist the process. They’ll take great care of your little ones and teach them all the skills they’ll need to blow their audience away!






Both Blast! and Boom! will be the highlight of the summer for kids who are experienced performers as well as kids who have never performed before and will improve the confidence and performance skills of everyone involved!

To book or to find out more information about Blast! Click Here

To book or to find out more information about Boom! Click Here



A Great Way to Spend a Week in August

August 2015 saw two of our most successful summer school projects ever take place at Rhodes. Blast, the summer school for older aged students (11 to 18) took place between Sunday 16th and Saturday 22nd August. Forty participants spent the week under the creative direction of course leader Jeanne Stacey, who was assisted by Phoenix regulars Duncan Rutherford and Katie Barker-Dale. In a move away from previous years the entire final production was devised by those involved and told the story of a plane crash and what became of the survivors on a small tropical Island. The final show ‘GONE’ played to a packed crowd of friends and family of all those who took part. After the performance the technical team took to the stage to present their, now traditional, show piece song and dance routine. Before the cast received their certificates, William Edden was awarded The Chiara Sanfilippo Memorial Award for his outstanding work at Blast over the past several years. The Award is given annually in memory of 13-year-old Chiara who died in a car accident just a few weeks after attending Blast in 2013.

The following week saw the emergence of Boom, our newly named Primary summer school, which took place between Monday 24th and Friday 28th September. Thirty-Seven primary aged children worked tirelessly throughout five fun packed days to create a musical performance entitled Jamie, the story of a young girl who wants to be a hero. The week was led by Phoenix dance tutor and Panto choreographer Katie Barker-Dale and Primary tutor Connor Linden. They were assisted by senior students William Edden and Kali Dronsfield. The final performance was a huge success and left more than a few parents in both tears of joy and laughter as their children astonished them with what had been achieved in just a week.

In a summer of firsts, both projects were digitally diarised via a sequence of online vlogs which proved to be a real hit amongst parents and participants. See the Blast Vlog here and the Boom vlog here.

Pictures from the week of Blast can be seen here and from the show here, whilst pictures from Boom can be viewed online here.

As is always the case, DVD’s of both projects are available from our online shop.

Details of our Summer courses for 2016 will be available soon.

Pirate Adventures and Blasting to the Past!

It’s been another productive summer for Phoenix Theatre Arts, with both of our summer schools taking place in July and August. Blip, the summer school for Primary aged students, is now in its 4th year and was held at Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow. The aim as always was to bring together a group of young people on a Monday, and then by the Saturday have a performance to show to parents and friends. As anyone knows who has young children of their own, or has ever worked with children, keeping them focused and entertained for 6 days can turn into quite a challenge!

However, with the theme of the show set as a Pirate Adventure, all the kids got on board with it and everyone involved had a fun week. From a tribe of cannibals wearing extremely colourful wigs, to the ever popular fake beards, to dressing up as a sea serpent and chasing each other around the school, the surrealist Pirate Adventure set sail, and even Santa Clause popped up just to add a little bit of Christmas magic. There would be no way we could hope to make Blip work without the enthusiasm and support of the children participating, and they deserve a big thank you for the hard work they put in over the week in order to put together a show that entertained their families and friends at the end of the week.

Blast, the summer school for 11 to 18 year olds and now in it’s 17th year, went all a bit wibbly wobbly timey wimey, with a show called Blast From The Past. The script was written by Phoenix Principle Phil Dale and Conor O’Sullivan, who worked on the tutor team throughout the week alongside Phoenix Vice Principle Jeanne Stacey, Duncan Rutherford, Richard Shrubb, Grace Wheeler, Tom Brace, Jack Downey, Lucy Barker-Dale and Katie Barker-Dale. With such a big tutor team, the aim was to make this years Blast bigger and better than all the rest, to create something epic with the help of the 53 participants.

Blast is always one of the most enjoyable weeks of the calendar, and with a show involving Doctor Who, a minotaur and his wife, a horde of zombies and a dance off to Zorba the Greek, the show was definitely the most epic Blast ever produced. 53 individual costumes provided by Jules Dale made the show look both bizarre and spectacular in equal amounts. The creativity and talent of all the participants was a great help over the week, as learning an hour and a half long show in just a week is no easy task. So thank you to everyone involved, both tutors and participants, for all your hard work and help over the week!

So here’s to looking forward to seeing everyone back next year for Blip and Blast, and well done to everyone involved in this years productions.

To see pictures from Blast on Facebook click here.

To see an excerpt from the final Blast show show on our YouTube Channel click here

To see pictures from Blip on Facebook click here.

August 29, 2013

Blast Summer Theatre School Just Keeps Getting Better

Record Number of Students Save Tinkerbell! This year Blast was more ambitious and more creative than any previous years, culminating in Saturday’s one time only performance of Saving Tinkerbell. Over the course of a week, the 56 talented participants set out to tell the story of Peter Pan and his attempt to rescue his precious […]

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July 25, 2013

Sam Spencer-Lane signs up for Blast!

Sam to Choreograph this years Summer School Show! We are delighted to announce that Sam Spencer-Lane will be working as head-choregrapher on our Blast Summmer School in August. After a successful performing career as a dancer, singer and recording artist, Sam began her choreographic career working for Thames Television choreographing Light Entertainment and children’s programmes. […]

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