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Park High's Annual Arts and Culture Festival: A Week of Inspiration and Creativity

From March 13th to March 22nd, Park High School was alive with excitement and creativity as students and staff celebrated the annual Arts and Culture Festival. This year's event was even bigger and better than before, with lots of activities and experiences curated by the Performing Arts Department to enrich the students' curriculum and foster a deeper appreciation for arts and culture.

Highlights from the Week:

Wednesday, March 13th: The festival kicked off with a stellar performance by the Goop! Dance Company at the Lillian Baylis Studios in Sadler's Wells, where they showcased a boundary-breaking fusion piece exploring the impact of social media on young minds. Despite months of rigorous rehearsals, the students' hard work paid off as they left a lasting impression on the audience and represented Park High with pride.

Being able to be part of making moves was an honour I will remember for a long time. Not all the rehearsals running up to the performance were easy, and at times there was some reluctance, but I feel in the end I have got so much out of it – not just for now but for the future too. Learning a new style isn't easy for any dancer and krump isn’t an easy style to master, but it's another skill I've managed to acquire now. I'm so thankful for the stronger bonds I've managed to create and the community of dancers we managed to build. And lastly, I cannot write this without thanking the women behind the whole operation. So to Mrs Molloy and Miss Lawrence thank you for your time, energy and commitment. We wouldn't be able to do it without you!” - Kirsty Ellen Hill


Friday, March 15th: A group of Year 8-11 students embarked on a transformative journey to Move It! at the ExCel in London, a vibrant careers fair for dancers and performers. The whole centre was alive with visual experiences and inspiring performances, the students gained invaluable insights into potential career pathways in the world of dance and performance.

We saw amazing performances on the main stage and freestyle stage. I also went to visit different stools that had dance colleges and what they offer. We saw a choreographer who was in the TV show dance mums (Gianna) and I learnt about different career pathways I could go into after school.” - Viya Patel

Monday, March 18th: Year 7 and 9 students had the privilege of participating in a dance workshop led by Park High alumna Anna Nicholls, who shared her expertise and passion for dance with the next generation of performers. The workshop, infused with energy and creativity, was a testament to Anna's journey from Park High to the prestigious Trinity Laban Contemporary Dance School in South London. Since graduating in 2021, Anna has established her own company ‘Hallomai Dance’ and has worked as a freelance dance practitioner alongside companies such as the Royal Academy of Dance. She has also recently worked with Siobhan Davis and the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn.

Anna put the dancers through their paces, completing a rigorous warm-up before working through some more complex dance exercises inspired by Anna’s choreographic work ‘Joy is Ours’ using a giant scrunchie! The students really enjoyed the experience, and it was wonderful to see Anna being such a great role model for the next generation of dancers at Park High School.

The lunchtime experiences kicked off with our fantastic dance-offs in the Hall. 

Monday, March 18th, and Tuesday, March 19th: Year 7 students delved into the vibrant rhythms of West African drumming with Inspire Works, experiencing the exhilarating sounds of the djembe drum and immersing themselves in the rich cultural heritage of West Africa. The djembe drum originates from the Malinke people in West Africa, in particular Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea & Burkina Faso. It has become West Africa’s most popular drum due to its sonorous tonal qualities, hypnotic pulsating sound and the relative simplicity of its playing technique. 

In this workshop, students were lucky enough to learn a flamboyant traditional West African piece of music that is an excellent practical introduction to Malinke music. The piece is learnt aurally, as practised in West Africa, and creates opportunities for participants to improvise solos, respond to aural cues and develop their ensemble playing. 

“The African Drumming workshop was fabulous! The drums were so loud, and Emmanuel was amazing at teaching us and showing us all his circus skills. I loved the loud drum roll we all performed at the end.” Year 7 Student

Meanwhile, the Art Department provided students with a platform to live art drawing sessions so that students could unleash their creativity and express themselves through visual art.

Wednesday, March 20th: Year 8 students were treated to a captivating performance of "Romeo and Juliet" at Shakespeare's Globe in London, where they were transported back in time to the world of Shakespearean drama. The modernized adaptation resonated with the young audience, proving the timeless relevance of Shakespeare's work.


“On Wednesday we went to Shakespeare's globe to watch a live performance for Romeo and Juliet, it was very fun and enjoyable because it was modernized. The dancers even did the sturdy! I recommend going to any trip you get invited to as I guarantee you will have an amazing time.” - Kushi Patel

All students were welcomed to take part in the Music Quiz in the hall at lunchtime.

Thursday, March 21st: Thirty-five students embarked on a journey to achieve “Arts Award Bronze in a Day”, a nationally accredited award recognizing their exploration and development of artistic skills. The students had a wonderful experience and were able to immerse themselves in the teaching, practice and development of their artistic skills.

Additionally, the Performing Arts Award Evening celebrated the outstanding contributions of students in dance, drama, and music, honoring their dedication and talent.

The main prizes were awarded to:

  • Stage Manager Award: Namartha Rajakumaran
  • Outstanding Contribution to Dance: Kirsty Ellen Hill and Viviana Loghin
  • Outstanding Contribution to Drama: Connor Smith
  • Outstanding Contribution to Music: Luiza Galan
  • Outstanding Commitment to Performing Arts: Keeya Patel
  • Best All-Round Performer: Amber Kirkman
  • Outstanding Contribution to Performing Arts: Oliver Randall

All students were welcomed to take part in the exciting Arts Hunt in the hall at lunchtime.

Friday, March 22nd: Year 8 and 9 students delved into ‘They Fight’ workshop the art of stage combat with Squire Stage Combat, mastering the skills needed to perform convincing stage fights. The students involved were put through their paces as they learnt the skills needed to demonstrate effective stage fighting for an audience!

The day concluded with a staff recital, showcasing the musical talents of Park High's teaching staff and providing a fitting finale to a week of artistic exploration. We were privileged to some rocking out by Mr Patel, a bass guitar original performance from Mr Sandu some emotional songs from Mrs Molloy. Mr Appleman quite literally blew us away with his tuba playing! Hopefully next year we can see a full-on staff band!

On Thursday 2nd May 2024 we held an Arts & Culture Evening. The evening performances celebrated the different talents in our community, delicious food from different cultures was served and we held our staff ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ competition! Congratulations to all the performers who participated in our Arts and Culture Evening. Over 50 performers presented a rich and diverse range of cultural and artistic pieces from singing, dancing, a fashion show and a selection of different foods. There were amazing performances from staff and students alike, including our Strictly Come Dancing competition. Mr Babu ended up going onstage solo and smashed the competition, coming out on top and taking the Strictly crown! Well done Mr Babu!

One parent said: “This was such a wonderful and uplifting evening showing not only the diversity of our school but also the unity of our school community through the deep respect afforded to each and every performance”. Thank you to everyone who performed and assisted in making it such a wonderful night.

The Arts and Culture Festival at Park High was a resounding success, thanks to the dedication of the Arts department and the enthusiastic participation of students and staff. As the school community reflects on the inspiring experiences and creative endeavors of the past week, anticipation builds for next year's festival, promising even more opportunities for artistic expression and celebration.