Having qualified as 3rd in the southern premier division finals back in April, and as one of only 9 from an original 324 schools, the 100 strong Rock Challenge team headed to The Magna Centre, Rotherham to perform their fantastic piece Angel of Prisons one final time.
They headed off on Friday 13th July at break time in 2 coach loads. There was much singing, excitement and merriment (with even the coach driver joining in!) as they made the long journey up North. They arrived at the hotel around 7pm and had everyone checked in and ready to head out for some dinner by 8pm. After taking over the local McDonalds the group headed back to the hotel to get a good night of sleep before the big day ahead.
After an early breakfast and checking out of the hotel, they arrived at The Magna Centre for 9am where they were given crew wristbands and explored the venue. As The Magna Centre is not solely a performance venue, but an exhibition space, the size and style of the venue was something unlike the students had ever seen before.
At 11am it was our turn to rehearse and even thought there was a slight set issue, the students coped amazingly and were feeling good afterwards. It was then an afternoon of production meetings, hair, make-up, pizza and a teacher dance off! Mrs Isham also had to partake in a game of musical chairs in which she had to pick a balloon out of box to decide where we would be placed in the running order. We were placed 8th, the penultimate act.
Back stage the atmosphere was fantastic, all 9 schools were so happy to have reached the national finals and there was a real sense of the occasion being a celebration of performance. The students made new friends, especially with students from Kinross High School in Scotland, who were in the opposite dressing room.
Finally, it was time for the actual performance and the students excelled themselves. All the hard work that had gone into rehearsals truly paid off and as they left the stage whooping with delight, everyone involved felt great pride. They could not have done any better.
Shortly afterwards, the results were announced and, although we were not placed in the top four, we were delighted to achieve eight awards of excellence. These came in the areas of visual enhancement, performance skill, concept, costuming character, stage use, set design and function, choreography and lighting.
We were especially proud of the choreography award, as we were one of only three schools to receive this. We were also one of only two schools to receive the lighting award, something that is an amazing achievement as our lighting technician is year 9 student Tom Payne, who is very young compared to most of the schools who have 6th former lighting technicians.
Everyone was exhausted but so very proud as they boarded the coaches to head back to Worthing. This Rock Challenge journey has been incredible and would not have been possible without the dedication and tireless efforts of Mrs Isham and Ms Graney. A huge thank you to all staff involved – Mrs House, Ms Hodnett, Miss Hughes, Mrs Bowden, Mr Morley, Mrs Savage, Mr Crane, Miss Wolstenholme, Miss Chaitow, Mrs Wallis- Taylor, Miss Hewett and Miss Freeman.
We must also thank The Worthing Rotary Club, Carpenter Box, AMC Sheet Metal Fabrications, The Fry Group, Pumpkin Patch Nursery and all the friends and family that donated to our Go Fund Me page and made the 400-mile round trip possible.
Bring on next year!