Barnsley Academy joined with other Yorkshire schools including Sheffield Park and Sheffield Springs Academies and their local primary schools for two show-stopping performances.
Last week’s evening performances of ‘Celebrating Difference’ were received with rapturous applause by sold-out audiences at Barnsley Academy.
The production was one of the centre-pieces of United Learning’s Cultural Festival, which takes inspiration from BBC Ten Pieces. The Festival, which is part of the Group’s commitment to deliver an Education with Character, seeks to unlock students’ creativity and inspire them to try new things. Across the country, United Learning students are being introduced to new types of music and art forms and asked to develop their own creative responses.
In preparation for the shows, each school created dance, drama and music pieces inspired by the story of P.T. Barnum. Whilst each piece displayed the students’ own interpretation of the music, they were all linked by the theme of celebrating difference. The students rehearsed their pieces in their individual schools and only came together the day before the first performance for a day of rehearsals.
A number of primary academies including Worsbrough Bank End Primary School and Hunningley Primary School also gave superb performances and enjoyed their taste of secondary school life. In addition to the individual school pieces, all the schools joined together for spectacular opening and closing numbers, with well over 300 students from the cluster taking part.
The students were buoyed by the experience and came off stage delighted with their performances. They said:
“It was exciting to perform and to watch how so many schools come together to show that differences aren’t to be ashamed of.”
“As a Barnsley Academy student, I felt very proud about how we could bring together lots of schools to celebrate our hard work from this year in performing arts. I can’t wait for the next opportunity.”
“I have worked so hard on all of my performances and it was so rewarding to be able to perform them in front of family, teachers and peers. It has made me so thankful for all of the amazing opportunities I have been given within performing arts this year.”
Anneka Read, Performing Arts Co-ordinator at Barnsley Academy, said:
“I am delighted with the outcome of this production; the students excelled in their performances and the hard work each and every person involved has invested in this show has really paid off. It was wonderful to see how students who only just met each other at the rehearsal day have bonded so quickly to produce a great performance.”
Catherine Barker, Head of Performing Arts at United Learning, said:
“The Cultural Festival has been a fantastic opportunity for United Learning schools to engage with classical music and ignite a passion within young people. Each school in the Group has taken the task at hand in their own imaginative direction and I was very impressed with the ‘Celebrating Difference’ performance. It’s wonderful to see so many diverse young people and their teachers, working together to do something that they will all remember for years to come.”