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Students gain four-star review for Camp Phoenix performance

21 March 2024
Acting students experience life within a professional company, as they perform to busy audiences at the Gulbenkian Theatre.

Level 3 Acting students recently took to the stage with renowned production company, Zest Theatre. Having been involved since the shows inception, the students were able to see how theatre is created and experience working with a professional company within the industry.

‘Camp Phoenix’ has been developed through conversations with over 650 young people nationwide. 9-year-olds shared their worries, whilst students (including those at EKC Canterbury College) took part in workshops during the writing phase to respond with their wisdom and advice, drawing upon their own personal experiences. These insights into the minds of young people helped to devise a show packed with adventure, new music, and vital life lessons about hope and honesty.

Acting student Sebastian Betts, commented; “The show really focused on hope. Looking ahead, challenging yourself and having the confidence to be who you want to be. The themes were really positive and something everyone can relate to at some point of their life.”

Students pose for photo whilst performing "Camp Phoenix" at the Gulbenkian Theatre

The latter part of the project involved the professional company touring the UK to work with a select few colleges to stage the production. Our Performing Arts students were among those lucky enough to take part, having the opportunity to perform alongside the professionals at the Gulbenkian Theatre to packed audiences.

Students were given just three days with the team from Zest Theatre to learn the whole show, including songs and choreography before moving into the theatre. The process was quick-paced but incredibly rewarding for all students involved who felt the whole production was a big success, gaining four stars in The Guardian. Having the opportunity to work within a professional environment taught the students a great deal. Not only did they improve on acting techniques, but for many they were also pushed out of their comfort zones by trying new things. Students also learnt the value of time management, punctuality, and professionalism, with Saibh Da Silva saying, “I’ve learnt that within a professional environment you get straight into it, and every second counts. Even in a short minute you can cover so many details, and if you miss those it’ll be really noticeable. Also, you need to be a team player, as you’re working as a full company. If one person is late, or not on the ball it can affect everyone else.”.

Students performing "Camp Phoenix" at the Gulbenkian Theatre

When asked all students raved about their performance, the feedback they received from audiences and working with Zest Theatre. To sum up the experience, Ameer Benjamin said; “Working so closely on this project has really bonded us as a group. On the final day, before we performed for the last time we sat in a circle on the stage and went round saying what our favourite memory was. There were lots of tears, I cried a lot because we were all so happy with how it had gone and sad because it was over. It was a really lovely moment that I’ll treasure forever.”

This project has resonated with the students, giving each actor the confidence and drive to work professionally in the industry. We’re excited to see what their next project may be.

Professional Image taken by Phil Crow Photography

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