Phoenix Clowns

July 16, 2014

Phoenix Students at Local Events

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Clowns,Rhodes Pantomime

Festivals, Carnivals and Cazfest!

Phoenix students have been busy this summer outside of classes as well, with local events giving them lots of chances to perform and to represent the school, as well as getting to dress up and have a laugh at the same time! First was the Waltham Abbey Festival, organised by Phoenix Vice Principal Jeanne Stacey and Daniel James, who played Stan Laurel in the recent Phoenix Tour. Phoenix assisted with the event in many ways;  tutor Grace Wheeler who sang while ukelele trio The Descendants also played a few of their songs. The Phoenix Clowns were once again on hand to promote the school and to entertain the people at the Festival.

Then there was the Bishops Stortford Carnival, where the Rhodes Pantomime bus proudly headed the parade and was full to the brim, especially since this year it was promoting not just Dick Whittington but also the summer production of West Side Story. Phoenix Principal Phil Dale topped the float as Sarah the Cook, along with other pantomime characters.  The cast of West Side Story were also on the bus, a host of Jets and Sharks waving to the citizens of Bishops Stortford as they passed. Leading the parade were the Phoenix Clowns, passing out whistles and flyers, and hyping everyone up for the parade of floats. Last but by no means least, behind the Rhodes Pantomime bus, there was a horde of rats promoting Dick Whittington, all looking very mean and scary!

The Phoenix Clowns were then called upon again to help promote the school at Cazfest, a local music festival. Walking around in the scorching heat handing out leaflets doesn’t sound like an easy task, but the Clowns were really busy and productive all day, entertaining themselves and the people at the festival.

It’s good to see so many of our students taking part in events like these to help promote the school, but also enjoying themselves and having the confidence to give it a go. The ability to interact as characters with the general public is a valuable theatrical skill! A big thank-you to everyone who came and helped out, well done!

To see pictures from the Bishops Stortford Carnival, click here.

To see pictures from Cazfest, click here.

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.

June 25, 2013

Bishops Stortford Carnival 2013

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Professional Work

Panto Horses, Clowns, and a Whole Lot of Fun!

On Saturday 22nd June, the Bishops Stortford Carnival kicked off from the Rhodes Arts Centre with a parade of floats heading to the Carnival site at Sworders Field. The Aladdin panto float was near the head of the parade, with Primary tutor Faye Linden as Aladdin, senior student Grace Wheeler as Jasmine, and local actor Jay Brown sporting an entirely blue body as the Genie. They were joined on the float by a camel, later to compete in the Rhodes Panto Horse Derby, the much anticipated main event of the afternoons entertainment.

The Phoenix Clowns were once again out in force, bouncing around the float and entertaining the flocks of Stortford locals who had turned out en masse to watch the parade, even in the spitting rain. Phoenix were busy all day at the carnival, with Phoenix KBD and The Descendants performing their Rhodes Got Talent entries from this year achieving Best of the Rest and Third Place respectively. However, the main event was the Panto Horse Derby, with Intermediate students Will Saunders and George Jack in the panto camel led on by the Genie, and Ben Hawkins and Conor O’Sullivan in the Phoenix horse, led on by a handful of clowns. After a disappointing but spectacular fall, the Phoenix horse crashed out in the second round. The panto camel was then drawn in a race against the police (bizarrely also represented by a camel) and the scene was set for a showdown between the opposing forces of children’s comedy and law and order! Unfortunately the panto camel was disqualified after the Genie cheated and pulled back the police camel and the hopes and dreams of hundreds of onlooking children were dashed.

Luckily, the orhpans from the cast of the upcoming production of Annie, led by Alice Shephard, were on hand to perform some stirring numbers from the show and they created quite a buzz with their energetic and fun-filled performances. Other hi-lights included 2 performances from international acrobatic troupe the Black Eagles, all the way from Tanzania, and 2 sets from the irrepressible Harlow Steel Band.

All in all a great fun day was had by all and the staff at Phoenix would like to thank all the students and staff who gave their time and energy to ensure that once again we proved ourselves to be the regions most exciting and innovative performing arts school.

To see pictures from the day, click here.

March 20, 2013

Rhodes Got Talent Search Auditions 2013!

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Auditions

The Rhodes Got Talent Competition has come around again, with two weekends of auditions looking for the best talent the area has to offer! Last year in 2013, a multitude of Phoenix students jumped at the chance to show off their talent on stage, with solo acts and larger groups performing. The competition saw the debut of the Phoenix Clowns, showboating their wild hip-hop routines as a variety show. Following their success after winning the Best of the Rest Over 16s award, the Clowns have enjoyed the year, popping up at events all around the area in the faces of their unsuspecting public, and have largely grown in confidence since they took to the stage for the first time!

The Phoenix Clowns

 Jake Poolman took the Best of the Rest Primary Age Group award, for a heartwrenching performance of Whistle Down the Wind. Jake has also enjoyed a year of success, going on to play the title role in Oliver! at the Rhodes, and then Gavroche in the London stage verson of Les Miserables, and has just renewed his contract. Phoenix KBD managed to come overall 3rd, and won themselves an award, and a chance to perfrom again later on in the year at the Bishops Stortford Carnival.

All in all though, it’s a chance to show off what you can do, to wow people with your skills no matter what they are, from singing and dancing, acting or juggling, or doing magic tricks! Go to the Rhodes Got Talent website to register for auditions and give it a go! Auditions will be held on the 20th, 21st and 28th April and then the best acts will get through to the Grand Final at The Rhodes on Saturday June 1st. The winners from each category will then get to perform a headline act on the main stage at The Bishops Stortford Carnival as well as featuring in a full page article in the Herts and Essex Observer.

 Visit the website, or click here to go and register!