On Thursday 15th Nov 2012, the Year 11 BTEC Dance students were invited to spend some time at the Arc in Stockton. As part of their course they are to investigate the Performing Arts Industry. The students are to research the performing and non performing aspects of the industry and create a report which will go towards their final grade. The students were introduced to Neil Paris the Director of Smith Dancetheatre – his company are currently touring with a brand new piece called ‘Agnes and Walter, a little love story’. This is a story of secret wishes, suppressed desires and a garden shed inspired by ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ which was book written by James Thurber published in 1939.
Neil spoke to the students about his career journey and how that had an impact on his directing debut. The students were able to ask him questions about his process and what his influences were. He gave the students an clear insight into what his job entails and the pressures that are on him for the production to succeed.
The students were then given a tour around the Arc by Tom Warnock who is the Commercial Sales Executive. He explained to the students the inner workings of the building and how important it was to sustain the business in this area.
The Point which is a multipurpose space can accommodate up to 400 people seated theatre style and 550 standing
We were then introduced to Rachael Ankers who has not only had a successful career as a dancer she is now the Creative Project Manager at the Arc. Rachael was able to talk about her career as a dancer and how that inspired her to be more involved in the development of the arts across the area and to people who wouldn’t normally take part in arts activities.
The performance of Agnes and Walter was next on the agenda. The students were able to see an interesting dancetheatre piece that crossed the boundaries of dance and drama. There were two professional dancers in the piece alongside two older performers who haven’t performed professionally before. There was Ronnie who was 68 and Elizabeth who left school in 1950 to train as a P.E teacher . It was fantastic to see how all these different people worked together in order to create this remarkable dancetheatre piece.
Agnes and Walter is touring around the country for the next 8 weeks.
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