April 10, 2017

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by phoenixdrew

in Productions

If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended….

After years of successful Phoenix Productions, Principal Phil Dale’s spin on William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was one to be anticipated. Featuring a cast of many current and ex-phoenix pupils, the show was praised in an overwhelming fashion after its four-show festival inspired extravaganza at the end of March.

MSND 29With an exploding portable toilet, a mud fight, and endless outrageous comedy, audience member Ian Penson reviewed the show as “the funniest, rudest and most skillful production” also commenting “Just as I imagine Shakespeare would want it played. Excellent fun”. Similarly, Micheal Casson stated “The presentation was entirely faithful to both the spirit and the original text”, whilst Simone Murray commented “I laughed until my face hurt”. To their surprise, students from local schools were also engaged by the performance, one student exclaiming “It wasn’t what I expected at all. It was so fun and not boring!” which is what the cast and creatives were aiming for.

MSND 128With a few months of rehearsals, 4 very contrasting ‘Lovers’ were imagined, 2 opposing ‘festival headliners’ were created and 6 wacky and hilarious Mechanicals were unleashed. Not forgetting the very mischievous, yet perhaps slightly dodgy Puck, played by Grace Johnstone. When talking about the process, Grace said “I thought Puck would be the classic mischievous fairy, but the part can be anything you make it. Besides, once I got that crazy costume the madness came naturally!”.

The aesthetic design of the whole production, designed and lit by Rob Dyer, also impressed with its colorful clash of industrial and wild elements. Despite a lot of consideration and thought going into the layout; the metal towers entwined with foliage, along with a mud pit surrounded by grass and woodchip created the festival feel, while cast members enjoyed using their litter to decorate the set.

MSND 105The final show on Friday the 31st went out with a bang and a standing ovation after its comical success. The reception was so good that Director and Producer Phil Dale is considering the opportunity of touring the show, to carry on making Shakespeare accessible to all, in today’s society.

See below for a link to videos and photos from the rehearsal process and show.

Click here for pictures

Click here for videos

May 9, 2015

The Comedy Of Errors

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Productions

Phoenix students perform Shakespeare’s most farcial play

Harlow Theatre Company, based at Victoria Hall in Old Harlow, were looking to give more young actors a chance to perform on stage and so asked Phoenix Vice Principal and Senior Drama tutor Jeanne Stacey to direct a youth production of The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s shortest and arguably most frantic comedy. The play is based around mistaken identity, as two identical twin brothers and their identical twin servants are seperated at birth in a ship wreck, both without any knowledge of the other. So when one set of twins arrives on the island where the other set of twins have made a life for themselves, all manner of confusion and madness ensues.

The cast was made up entirely of Phoenix and ex-Phoenix students: Ollie Stacey, Joe Llewelyn, George Jack, Daniel Boulton, William Edden, Drew Gregg, Will Saunders, Joseph Vaiana, Katie Miller, Rhiannon Bates and Molly Jenkins. A highly energetic production, all the performers gave their all in both their physical comedic acting and the tricky Shakespearean dialogue. There was a very farcial feel to the play, with a great slapstick scene involving a few of the cast trying to break down a door while others held it shut, eventually resorting to using Joe Vaiana’s head as a battering ram.

All in all it was obvious that a lot of hard work and commitment had gone in to the production time, and even with limited rehearsal time the end product was a very enjoyable piece of theatre. It’s always good to see our students getting the chance to show off their abilities and talent, and credit must go to Jeanne Stacey and her assistant director Ian Stacey for all their work in creating something both them and the students can be proud of.

The picture below features all the Phoenix students who were involved in the production, after recieving ‘good job!’ certificates at the Intermediate and Senior Drama class on Monday. Congratulations to everyone involved!

To see pictures from rehearsals, click here.

May 20, 2013

Titus Andronicus

by Conor O'Sullivan

in Professional Work

Phoenix enjoys trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company

On Saturday 18th May, a group of Phoenix students and tutors took a trip out to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, to watch a preview performance of Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy. The play is directed by Michael Fentiman, an ex-Phoenix tutor, and it’s his debut Royal Shakespeare Company directorial role.

Arriving up in Stratford-upon-Avon in the late afternoon, the students were lucky enough to get a backstage tour of the RSC’s two theatres, led by Michael, and had a chance learn a bit more about the impressive building and the way the company works. After that, there was time to fit a bit of dinner in, before heading back to the theatre to watch the performance.

It was a show thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who came to see it, with incredible performances, a plot full of twists and turns, and a bloodthirsty final scene that topped it off in it’s insane barbarity. Overall, a great day had by all.

Sophie Represents East 15 Acting School at National Festival

Primary Drama Tutor Sophie Barker was onstage at the world famous Globe Theatre on Londons Southbank this weekend (1st April). Sophie, who teaches drama in Harlow on a Saturday, played the part of Imogen in an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline that was the East 15 Acting School entry into the Festival (Pictured left). The Sam Wannamaker Festival, named after the actor whose lifelong ambition was to see the famous Globe Theatre recreated, brings together students from all 21 of the UK’s accredited drama schools to present a collection of duologues. As well as East 15, other drama schools represented included RADA, LAMDA and the Central School of Speech and Drama. Although the event is a celebration rather than a competition, the sense that each school is hoping to ‘out do’ the others with their presentations is apparent and Sophie’s achievement in being picked as the only female actress form East 15 is a reflection of the high regard with which she is held at the school. Sophie is currently in her final year of a 3 year acting course at the Loughton based drama school.

January 8, 2012


by Phoenixphil

in Auditions

William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

Phoenix will be holding open auditions for our forthcoming production of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. The production will run from March 2oth to March 22nd and will play at The Thameside Theatre in Thurrock, Harlow Playhouse and also at Rhodes in Bishops Stortford. The production will be directed by Phoenix Head of Acting Jeanne Stacey.

Rehearsal times will be confirmed once the production has been cast but we are planning to run a mixed rehearsal schedule with full-time day reheasals for those available as well as evening and weekend. The production will be semi-professional and will use a mix of both professionsl and local talent.

The open audition will take place on Friday 20th January from 7.00pm in the Drama Studio at Burnt Mill School. Full details can be found on our Facebook event page by clicking here.