Monologue Masterclass from former Phoenix Student

Theo with the Senior Students

Sixteen Phoenix Youth Theatre senior students were lucky to attend a 3 hour monologue Masterclass by former student Theo Ancient recently, who coached them in monologue delivery with a particular emphasis on auditions for Drama School. Theo is more than qualified to run such sessions considering that after graduating from Phoenix he gained a place at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and has recently been cast as Albus Potter in the Olivier Award winning west end production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Theo, 24, gained a place at the UK’s top drama academy after 3 years of auditioning for various schools. His was cast in the role of Albus Potter as his three-year training concluded and took over the role on 24th May.Theo in his Phoenix Theatre School Days

The students, who had all prepared their own choice of monologue in the weeks preceding the masterclass were given a range of tips from mental preparation to delivery. Perhaps though, the most enlightening part of the evening was just being able to meet a former student who just a few years ago was very much the same as them – a young committed performer with aspirations to become a professional actor.

Phoenix Director Phil Dale said “It was a fantastic opportunity for the students to meet someone who has been through what can be a very daunting process and proved that with hard work and dedication, we can all achieve our aims. Theo was always a hugely committed student who has stayed dedicated to his craft as an artist and refused to give up. The whole evening was really inspirational and it was great for Theo to give up his time to come back and share what he has learnt with the next generation of future performers.”

Theo attended classes at Phoenix for several years, appearing in various showcases and productions. He is pictured above in 2008.

For more pictures from the workshop visit our facebook page by clicking this link


Award Winners and Dancers Steal the Show at Harlow Playhouse

348_28The nine most recent recipients of the Phoenix Jack Petchey Achievement Awards were invited to Harlow Playhouse last week to receive their medals in the annual Jack Petchey Harlow Community Awards. The students were invited onstage to receive their awards from Guest of Honour Danny Crates. Danny is a Paralympic Gold Medallist and former world record holder and now tours the country as a motivational speaker. The nine deserving students were (bottom row, left to right) Shannon Brearey, Josh Clancy, Jude Leng, Elle Nash, Sophie O’Neill, (top row, left to right) Emily Oliver, Addie Brady, Luke Stockwell and Kai Roberts. Other local performing arts groups were also at the ceremony including Harlow Rock School, Razed Roof, Harlow Ballet and Hip Hop Pop, all of whom presented short performances throughout the evening. 454_20The organisers however saved the best till last and Phoenix KBD brought the proceedings to a dramatic conclusion with a stunningly choreographed piece to Tilted by Christine and the Queens. The rapturous applause at the end of the performance confirmed the fact that Phoenix really are the top local organisation when it comes to training in the performing arts.

To See pictures of the Award Winners Click here

To See Pictures of KBD performance Click here

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

April 2, 2016

The History Boys March 2016

by phoenixdrew

in Productions

A performance showcasing the young talent of Phoenix

At the start of February 2016 eight boys and four adults started the rehearsals for Alan Bennett’s award winning play, The History Boys. A month and a half later the show played for a five night run at the Rhodes. The production appealed to a varied cross-section of theatregoers including several school groups as well as an older audience who would have had first-hand experience of the 1980s setting. The adult cast were praised, but  it was clear that the triumph of the production was the casting and performances of the eight Phoenix Theatre School Boys portraying the group of Yorkshire Lads.

“A young group of actors take on the schoolboy roles, riffing off each other in classroom debates on history with performance chemistry and speed that is a joy to watch…” -The Herts and Essex Observer

Throughout the rehearsal period the boys developed Yorkshire accents, learnt French, arranged songs and developed characters that the Herts and Essex Observer said allowed Alan Bennett’s style to really shine through. Joseph Vaiana played the confident Dakin, the love interest for Joe Llewelyn’s comic and tragic Posner and the fascination of new teacher Irwin (Jack Downey).  Drew Gregg portrayed the Catholic Scripps, the go between friend of Dakin and Posner. Gregg and Llewelyn also delivered the majority of songs throughout the play varying from Gracie Fields and George Formby. 2015 Panto comic Daniel Boulton appeared in the role of the simple but ambitious Rudge whilst Will Edden, Tom Capon, Will Saunders and George Jack delivered fast and natural performances as Timms, Lockwood, Crowther and Akhtar. Both Boulton and Edden were mentioned as stand-outs in a review by Anne At the Theatre.  The chemistry of the boys really shone through on stage, giving the classroom scenes a rhythm that was a joy to watch. The production featured trained actors Matthew Ward, Jeremy Small and Sue Last as the charismatic but broken Hector, the power hungry Headmaster and the no-nonsense Mrs Lintott, respectively.

“Do yourself the favour of a thoughtful night of theatre by heading back to school” – The Herts and Essex Observer

The set was designed by Douglas Heap, built by Trevor Paveley and painted by Anna Stamper who recently painted the sets for Peter Pan and Jack and the Beanstalk. The set was a simple and appealing design, located in a class room with posters of art, history and culture completely covering the walls. An inventive addition was to have the set hide the motorbike that Hector rides in the play, allowing for a big reveal at the beginning and end of the production. Lighting design was provided by Rob Dyer and combined with the direction of Jeanne Stacey, the world within and outside of the classroom walls was brought to life. With a brilliant response from those who saw the production, The History Boys showcased the talent that Phoenix Theatre Arts has to offer.

To read all the reviews for the production, see the links below:

Herts and Essex Observer, Anne at the Theatre

To see all of the photos, click here.

February 11, 2016

Phoenix takes on the Nation’s Favourite Play!

by phoenixdrew

in Productions

“The History Boys” is in rehearsal phase!

After previous critical success with Laurel and Hardy and Bouncers, 2016 brings a new production for Phoenix Theatre Arts, Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys”. Voted the Nation’s Favourite Play in 2013, it is no small task to take on this beloved text. Directed by Phoenix Youth Theatre Director, Jeanne Stacey, the production involves 8 boys from Phoenix Theatre School, a former student as a teacher and the remaining teacher roles are filled by trained actors involved in the production.

The vote for the Nation’s favourite play consisted of 1400 plays and The History Boys even beat classic Shakespeare’s Hamlet and contemporary plays including Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem. What is it that has Bennett’s work in the heart of the country? The text, the characters, the emotions or the combination of these expertly crafted elements? Most likely the latter, as Bennett’s play explores something that everyone has an experience of; positive or negative, education remains with us.

Following the trials and tribulations of 8 sixth form boys in the 1980s at a Grammar School in Sheffield, we see how the students’ opinions and lives are impacted by those who teach them. With four teaching figures each with a varied opinion on what  education should be about, Bennett explores the contrast between teachers that aim to get the grades and the teachers who aim to make enriched human beings from their pupils. The original production and film made stars of the cast with Dominic Cooper and James Corden making their debut. The late Richard Griffiths played the beloved teacher Hector in the original production and film and this portrayal is one of his most iconic performances.

The play is infused with history, nostalgia and culture, questioning what makes something remain in our hearts and memories as we get older. The production is now in the rehearsal phase and there is a palpable sense of ensemble with the 12 strong cast and it is set to be both a challenging and enriching experience for all involved. Phoenix hopes that their production of The History Boys remains in the hearts and memories of both the cast and those who come to see the production.

The production runs at the Rhodes Arts Complex from the 15th-19th of March.

Click here to book tickets.

January 18, 2016

The Show Must Grow On!

Jack and the Beanstalk is a triumph! The annual Rhodes pantomime, produced by Phoenix Theatre Arts, returned with a record breaking bang that shattered the sales records held by previous pantomimes.  With an exuberent ensemble working together to bring the magical tale of Jack and the Beanstalk to life, the result was a fun and […]

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December 20, 2015

A Phoenix Nativity Experience

Hundreds Flock to Christmas Treat The traditional Phoenix Nativity Play at Pets Corner took a new turn this year when our Harlow Primary and Fledgling students presented a Phoenix Nativity Experience on Thursday December 17th. In recent years a more conventional Nativity play has been presented with the audience watching from an improvised seating rake […]

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