Juniors are up for the challenge

Rock Challenge

Our rock of support: Some of the cast of Elm Academy’s first ever Rock Challenge entry (front row) receiving the hand of support from some of the cast of the award-winning Oak Academy Rock Challenge (back row).

When it comes to taking part in their first ever Rock Challenge, one Bournemouth primary school did not have to look too far for inspiration.

The youngsters from Elm Academy have had the full support of their sister senior Academies, Oak Academy and LeAF Studio – perennial winners in both the Bournemouth and Southern Premier Rock Challenge finals.

After years of seeing their older peers win trophy after trophy in the popular national performance competition, the younger students have decided it is their time to enter the limelight.

More than 80 of them have entered Junior Rock Challenge with their redevelopment of the ‘Hocus Pocus’ story, the finals of which are being held in Southampton on February 27.

Executive principal of the LeAF Academy, Gill Blanshard, said: “After almost 20 years of Oak Academy successfully participating in Rock Challenge and being crowned southern premier champions for the last two years, we felt this year was a great opportunity for a Junior Rock team at Elm to be created.

“This is a fantastic chance for Elm students to experience performing to live sell-out audiences in professional venues.

“Our Year 13 students from LeAF Stage and Screen have worked alongside them to create, teach and structure the Elm piece.”

Meanwhile the seniors at Oak and LeAF Studio are not resting on their laurels and will be showcasing their take on the Snow Queen fairy tale at the Bournemouth Rock Challenge on March 1.

They will also be looking to regain their Southern Premier title in June, when they perform in the finals, which will be held in Portsmouth.

Thousands of young people from across the UK take part in Rock Challenge every year.

The competition is a series of performing arts events which encourages young people to choose themes to explore that demonstrate their dreams, aspirations or concerns.

Geoff Lake, lead teacher, added: “Working as a Federation this year has opened many opportunities for our LeAF Studio students who have been responsible for both leading rehearsals and who have embraced the opportunity to work with Elm’s younger students.

“It is extremely rewarding to see both sets of students flourish as choreographers, performers and excel in areas of production and performing arts.”


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