Clown Workshop

April 30, 2014

Phoenix Clown Workshop

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Classes

The loveable Clowns are back!

It’s what every young Phoenix student aspires to; that coveted title that puts you amongst an elite crew, the satisfaction of being able to say ‘I am one of the Phoenix Clowns’. After their debut stage performance at the Rhodes Got Talent 2012 Competition, the Phoenix Clowns have popped up on the odd occasion to help promote the theatre school and various productions, but now they’re back in force to once again compete in the Rhodes Got Talent 2014 Competition.

However, it’s not just about the competition, as the group of 19 Phoenix Clowns prepared with an intensive two day workshop during the Easter holidays, on the 16th and 17th April. The first day of the workshop was run by Joanna (Joey) Robinson, a member of the Told By An Idiot Company, a world renowned clown and commedia performance company. She was a clown with Cirque Du Soleil for three years and has also taught clown workshops at The Globe. She taught the students about the clown, how he/she reacts to the world, and about how to form a relationship with the audience, emphasizing the need to be brave and creative whilst portraying a clown. They were a fantastic group who Joey was in awe of, with their ability to play and have fun with her ideas and instructions. Josh Copsey’s rendition of the Slovakian Eurovision entry from the 1970s in his gold sequinned hat was a highlight, as was the all-boys rendition of Cell Block Tango (with Katie Miller as the token girl)! But overall, there were so many lovely moments from all 19 of the clowns, both old and new. At the end of the day, the students had a chance to ask Joey questions, and she made the point that as a clown it’s important to be proud and comfortable with who you are.

The second day of the workshop was run by Phoenix Vice Principal Jeanne Stacey. The clowns recapped what they had learned the day before, and then began to develop some ideas to put into a performance. After rehearsing and developing their piece during the day, the Clowns then got to try on their costumes and make-up, to feel the full clowning effect before their Rhodes Talent Search audition on the Saturday.

The makings of a fabulous new Phoenix Clown routine has been started, and they’re looking forward to developing it further for the Waltham Abbey Variety Festival and the Bishops Stortford Carnival in June. Also, after making it through the first stage of auditions, the Phoenix Clowns also have a chance of being in the Grand Final of the Rhodes Talent Search at the end of May, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

To see pictures from the Clown Workshop, click here.

School Makes up 5 Acts out of Final 24

The Rhodes Talent Search grand finalists have been announced and Phoenix students make up 5 of the 24 acts that will be appearing. Two of these acts are actual group acts entered by the School, although 3 of the individual acts that will appear at the Grand Final on Saturday May 26th are Phoenix students. Following auditions there were 42 acts still in with a chance and the panel of 4 independent judges had to make the difficult decision of cutting this list down to just 24.

The 2 group acts are the Phoenix Clowns (Pictured top right) and Phoenix KBD (pictured bottom right). The Phoenix clowns, although originally formed several years ago, have been rejuvenated following a Jack Petchey funded Hip Hop workshop during the easter holidays and now consist of approximately 20 Phoenix drama students, mainly boys, who present an act based on physical theatre, mime, hip hop dance and beatboxing. The clowns were a huge hit when they made their first ever performance at the auditions for the Rhodes Talent Search in late April. Phoenix KBD, named after Phoenix dance tutor and group leader Katie Barker-Dale, are 6 Phoenix drama, dance and musical theatre students who have worked for the past few weeks on a version of Christina Perri’s hit song Jar of Hearts.

The 3 soloists to have made the final are Jake Poolman, Melissa Mountney and Sarinna Proudfoot Mathurin (pictured above left). All 3 students are testament to the importance of full commitment to training as they all study all 3 disciplines of drama, dance and musical theatre. Ten year old Jake, shortly to take a break from the national tour of Oliver!, sang Whistle Down The Wind from the musical of the same name whilst Melissa, 9, entertained with Wouldn’t it be Loverly? From My Fair Lady. Sarinna, just 7, stunned the judges and the audience at the auditions with a haunting version of At Last by Eta James.

The Grand Final takes place on Saturday May 26th at The Rhodes in Bishops Stortford and tickets, which are expected to be highly sought after, go on sale from May 1st and can be booked on 01279 651746. Pictures from the auditions can be seen on the Rhodes Facebook page.

April 10, 2012

Jack Petchey Funds Phoenix Clown Workshop

by Phoenixphil

in Jack Petchey

Clown Troupe to enter Talent Search

Phoenix drama students spent 3 days during the Easter holidays in the company of internationally renowned Hip Hop artist Jody Schroeder in order to learn the basics of various Hip Hop skills including popping, locking, breaking and beatboxing. The workshop was funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation following a grant application made by Phoenix Principal Phil Dale. The Phoenix Clowns were first used as cheerleaders during the Thunderslam Wrestling shows that Phil used to produce at The Playhouse in Harlow. Having stopped producing the shows, Phil was keen to keep the idea of the clown troupe. It is planned for the troupe to become a vehicle for promoting Phoenix Theatre School at events and shows by using physical theatre and Hip Hop skills.

Throughout the 3 day workshop Jody was joined by Phoenix Vice-Principal Jeanne Stacey who helped develop a 5 minute mime, physical theatre and Hip Hop routine. The first chance for the Clowns to be tested in front of an audience will be at the auditions for the forthcoming Rhodes Talent Search event in Bishops Stortford. The auditions will be the first stage of the competition, with the ultimate goal of all acts to win through to the Grand Final at the Rhodes on Saturday May 26th. The winners of the Rhodes Talent Search get to showcase their performances at the Bishops Stortford Carnival in June.

Phil was delighted with the way the workshops went and is really looking forward to the Clowns becoming an integral part of the school. “Jody is an amazing guy – he’s just about the most passionate performer I’ve ever come across and the students loved being able to spend time with someone of that calibre.” The Clowns distinctive look and character will be revealed at the auditions at Rhodes and we’ll bring you details of how well they went down as soon as we can.

More pictures from the Clown workshop can be found on our Facebook page.