We run a structured work experience programme for all students in year 10, and also for those studying the technical subjects at post-16. Placements will be arranged to complement areas related to the chosen pathway. As many of our courses are career-specific, meaning the course relates to a specific area of employment or industry within the arts, much of the study is a combination of learning and doing through skills, focused work-related projects or work experience.
In addition all our learners are offered extra opportunities to take part in work experiences with our industry partners.
BOA is part of our local community and we make our facilities available to individuals, educational organisations and community groups. We see our building and facilities as an important local asset, a hub for both local and regional activity, to be widely used during evenings and weekends. We wish to make a significant contribution to the creative, digital and performing arts culture of the region, in terms of both the facilities we make available and the activities, performances and services we can offer. In return students often participate in ventures with local partners.
As part of their study programme all students have the opportunity to form their own companies, producing and selling a range of products and services. As part of their pathway curriculum all our students are taught the skills they will need in the future to enable them to make a living within their creative specialism.
There are numerous opportunities for students to enrich their learning through educational visits. Each pathway organises a variety of relevant ‘off-site’ experiences that are directly linked to the units that students study.
Partnership Report November 2017
There have been a number of partnerships at BOA since the academic year began in September. Details of these can be found in Pathway order below.
During the Year 10 Induction week, the Acting students worked with MADD Education to create a Brecht inspired piece, which was performed in the Showcase at the end of the students first week at BOA. Alongside this, the Year 10 students have also worked with Shakespeare Schools Foundation this past term, to workshop and create a performance of ‘Henry V’, which they will perform as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival at the Old Rep Theatre on Tuesday 31st October, alongside 3 other schools performing excerpts from plays. This was a brilliant opportunity for the students to expand on their knowledge of Shakespearean language, in addition to many students performing to a large audience for the first time. The confidence levels of the Year 10 students has developed over the term, with many taking on lead roles throughout this production.
Year 11 GCSE Drama students performed at a Curtain Raiser of ‘Loaded’ at the Old Rep Theatre on Thursday 5th October, in partnership with Frantic Assembly. The students took part in a workshop to develop their Physical Theatre skills, before devising a piece to perform to a packed-out audience. This experience was a great opportunity for the students to work with a professional company and to perform on a world-renowned stage.
Year 13 Acting students have continued their work with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) this term, devising pieces of film using state of the art technologies including 360-degree cameras. BOA’s partnership with the RSC has strengthened this term and we hope to continue working alongside this high-profile company over the current academic year.
BOA are working with SAMPAD to educate students on culture by utilising the Arts. This past term, SAMPAD have delivered workshops to a selection of students on the Partition of India. In continuation of this project, the students were asked to perform in a participatory event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India. This event was held on Thursday 9th November 2017 at Victoria Square in Birmingham.
As a continued partnership, the BOA Acting students went to watch a performance of ‘Dracula’ by students from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) at the Curve Theatre in Leicester on Friday 24th November. The production was a twist on Bram Stoker’s classic tale, incorporating social media and modern music to make the performance relevant for a younger audience. The students who attended were offered a free audition if applying to RCSSD after BOA.
Broadcast, Creative Media Production (CMP) and Games Development and New Media (GDNM)
So far this academic year, BOA students from the Digital Arts strand have worked alongside many companies and practitioners, including Guide Dogs for the Blind. In collaboration with the Dance pathway, Digital Arts students filmed a flash mob performance at Grand Central on Friday 13th October, to raise money for the Guide Dogs charity. Footage from this event can be seen on the BOA twitter account - https://twitter.com/imagineboa.
During their first week at BOA, Year 10 Creative Media Production students worked in partnership with Matt Simmonds from the Outward Film Network to create a short film to display at the Induction Showcase. The students enjoyed working with a professional practitioner and learnt new skills, which they can use throughout their time at BOA.
In addition, Digital Arts students from the Broadcast and GDNM pathways have been working with clients for projects such as live advertising pitches, including Mini Cooper, Skinny Café, Chicago’s Burger Bar, COW Vintage Clothing, Max’s Café Shop, Umberto Giannini and the Samuel Johnson Museum in Lichfield.
The Year 10 students worked with 2Faced Dance during their first week at BOA, to choreograph routines to perform in the showcase to parents. The Dance pathway regularly work in partnership with 2Faced Dance, with the company delivering workshops on a regular basis to all year groups. We hope to continue building upon this relationship over the forthcoming year.
Alongside professional practitioners working with BOA students, this year we are introducing Alumni workshops with all pathways, in which past students will be invited back to BOA to integrate their experiences into our current students’ progression at BOA. One example of this already taking place is when Dance Alumni, Jessica Reeve delivered a 3-hour Audition Workshop to Year 13 Dance students. Jessica left BOA with a D*D*D* grade in Dance, before progressing on to study at Urdang Academy. After graduating, Jessica gained employment as a performer on a Cruise Ship and often gives masterclasses whilst on vacation from working. We feel this experience was invaluable for the Dance students, who are looking to progress on to Higher Education and Vocational courses for their training after BOA.
We are looking to integrate other Alumni workshops, which will be available for all pathways in the New Year.
Freelance Choreographer, Lee Crowley works with the Musical Theatre students on a weekly basis, teaching new routines for both their performances and unit work. By working with Lee, students are gaining valuable skills needed for work in the professional Musical Theatre industry.
Lee is currently choreographing BOA’s production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, which runs at the Old Rep Theatre from November 20th until December 30th and features BOA’s students making up the ensemble.
The Year 11 Musical Theatre students had a workshop with East Midlands Cheerleading Academy (EMCA) on Monday 16th October, to prepare for their production of ‘Bring It On’ in February 2018. Students were taught how to professionally carry out lifts and tumbles, enabling them to utilise these skills in their own production.
Looking towards the next term, we have arranged for Mountview Academy to deliver workshops to our Performing Arts students, similar to last year. The workshops will give the students a sense of professional vocational training, incorporating dance, movement and acting.
Technical Theatre Arts
Year 12 Technical Theatre Arts (TTA) students have been to Longbridge, to visit Production Resource Groups (PRG)’s base. Whilst there, the students gained knowledge of the equipment used by the company, and helped to prepare for an event in Abu Dhabi. Working alongside a professional company has given the students an insight into the industry, which will be useful when choosing their progression routes for after BOA.
Strangeface Theatre Company have been working with Year 13 TTA students this past term, to create and develop puppet designs. This well-known company have been working in partnership with BOA over the last academic year, to also progress the Acting students’ knowledge of puppetry.
Visual Art and Design
Over this past term, the Visual Art and Design (VAD) students have been working in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), alongside artist and lecturer Tom Tebby, whilst working on their indication projects. In addition to this, Surface Pattern Artist and Illustrator, Ellie Price visited the Year 13 VAD students to deliver an artist talk on Monday 16th October. Working with professional artists and companies develops students’ confidence and allows them to explore new skills and ideas.
In conjunction with this, artist Tim Tolkien has been working with BOA to create a new piece of public art which will be displayed along the outside of the building. VAD students have been working with Tim on this project over the last academic year, with the piece of artwork being constructed over the October half term.
The Old Rep Theatre
Numerous BOA performances and events are held at the Old Rep Theatre over the academic year, including work from the Dance, Acting, Musical Theatre, Music, Music Technology and Digital Arts pathways. Alongside the Old Rep being a venue to perform at, we also have professional links with companies who use the theatre as a receiving venue, such as SAMPAD, Practitioners from Sylvia Young’s Performing Arts School, PRG, Beatfreaks, Scribbled Thought, the National Youth Theatre, Youth on Stage and composer Susie Self.
Susie Self is currently working with BOA students to produce material for her Opera ‘Quilt Song’, which will be performed at the Old Rep Theatre in October 2018. Students auditioned for the chance to take part in workshops with Susie over this academic year, of which 16 students were chosen to work on singing techniques and composing skills on a weekly basis. This is an invaluable experience for the students involved, who will be able to audition for roles in next year’s Opera.
This year’s Christmas production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is currently in rehearsal, with 20 BOA students making up the ensemble cast. Working with a professional creative team including Director, Musical Director, Choreographer and working alongside Principal Actors is a wonderful opportunity for the students to make contacts for the future and to add a professional acting credit to their CV’s. Three BOA students have also offered to work backstage for the duration of the production, gaining valuable experience of working in the industry. In addition to this, Technical Theatre Arts Alumni, Chantelle Nolan is working as Wardrobe Supervisor for the production, which will be her first professional paid job in theatre.
Due to the success of the previous Denmark exchange in 2017, BOA are running the programme again this year, beginning with the Danish students coming over to England in April 2018, followed by BOA students going to Holstebro, Denmark in May 2018. Whilst in England, the students will have a busy schedule including activities such as visiting the Black Country Museum, going to see the Year 13 Musical Theatre production ’Sister Act’ at the Old Rep Theatre and visiting the BOA students’ families. During the school week, the Danish students will be shadowing their BOA partners throughout the day, giving them the opportunity of experiencing education in a different European country. The exchange will also give the staff a chance to look at teaching pedagogy, enabling us to develop our teaching and learning.