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!



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.