June 29, 2020

LP Unlocked: Festival of Creative Communications

The very first online event showcasing the creativity of our students in dance, film, music, drama and art launched on Wednesday 24th June to the delight of all those craving an end of term celebration of talent! With a digital presentation featuring different ‘bubbles’ it was possible to bring the work from various departments together into a single show.

Some of the pieces, such as those in Art and Film, have evolved over the course of the academic year and others, including some in Drama, Dance and Music, were created during lockdown, some especially for this event. The presentation offers a huge variety of artistic endeavours, linked by the passion and commitment of our gifted students in their chosen medium.

Assistant Head, Director of Co-Curricular and Outreach, Tash Coccia, reflected, “This is an amazing piece of work to pull together during lockdown and highlights the value we place on the Arts at Leighton Park. Huge congratulations to all involved. It is a glorious celebration of the gifts and talents of our students and a credit to our exceptional staff in Art, Dance, Drama, Film and Music. During this time apart, we need the arts more than ever to express and reflect upon the times we are living in.”

Director of Music, Rosemary Scales, who worked tirelessly with technician, Joe Aspell-Beaumont, and with Daniel Fisher-Wienesen, Music and Film teacher, to produce the event echoed Tash’s thoughts, saying, “There was a fantastic range of content, really showcasing what we already know is important!”.

The Music bubble allowed listeners to explore a wonderful range of composers in a myriad of styles, including a very dramatic title opening by Emily (Lower Sixth). The compositions on display were an incredible mixture of items developed throughout the year by students across all year groups. Beautiful ballads, Neo-classical styled wind quintet, a soundtrack to an animation, songs for musical theatre, classical piano compositions and a piece exploring the octatonic scale were just a few of the many exciting creations the students developed. Also included was ‘Yellow Skies’ by Freida (Year 7), a song which was recently shortlisted into the top 40 of the national Young Songwriters Competition. There were even two items that were directly influenced by the lockdown we are experiencing: ‘Quarantine’ by Lihi (Upper Sixth) and ‘In a Way’ by Michael (Upper Sixth).  Director of Music, Rosemary Scales commented: “I am extremely impressed and proud of all of the work the students have managed to achieve. This was a really exciting project for us to all work on together and it was even more pleasing that a number of student compositions were also used by some of the other departments to support their contributions to the event, particularly Dance and Art. A wonderful example of the arts working together and all the more remarkable, when you consider that everything in the event was created by our students.”

The Dance bubble included the award-winning piece from this year’s ISA Dance competition, work from our Year 10 GCSE Dance students, as well as a chain letter dance from the Key Stage 3 co-curricular Dance group. Choreographer and Dance teacher, Beth Butler, commented: “It has been exciting to work with dancers remotely to create choreography, something I have not done before! When you are in the studio you create choreography together and all movement material is seen and the work is refined in a very different way. This was a new challenge, sending practical ideas via video to students but not knowing how they would respond. It was thrilling to see their outcomes. I think creatively it was freeing, students definitely had more independence whilst creating.”

The Art bubble enabled viewers to explore two virtual galleries of amazing student work, Room 1 and Room 2, through some innovative software that allowed movement around the gallery space. Head of Art, Mark Wood, noted, “The recent changes in the way we live our lives has meant we had to think creatively about how to showcase such a wealth of artistic talent. It just didn’t seem right for all the hard work and long hours put in, not be seen and celebrated as we complete the year. As a community at LP we are always so excited to display the fruits of our labour, so this virtual format seemed apt, given the way we have all been working over the past few months. In an industrious flurry of work before Easter and an ongoing determination to complete their work, the students have been amazing at photographing work and sharing it with us. The resulting exhibition is a real credit to them and despite not being able to experience the work in physical reality, we are suitably impressed and delighted by the immersive, personal experience for the audience. The musical ambience by Joe (Lower Sixth) fitted perfectly and adds a new sensory dimension.”

In Drama Peter Scoggins (Head of Drama) set his team the ambitious aim of producing new material appropriate to lockdown and facilitating new dramatic pieces during the pandemic. “This was a great project for the Drama department to work on. We set about creating original work this term with an eye to contributing – so all the improvisations are brand new. I love that our students’ contributions reflect the value we place on experimentation and exploration through personal reflection. The Isolation Monologue was a task given to all students in Years 7 to 9 (and some in Year 11) and the starting point was for students to use their thoughts and feelings about their own experience of isolation through lockdown. Theatre is about reflecting on the world around us and this is a great example of that.”

You can watch LP Unlocked: Festival of Creative Communications on this link.

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