News and Events

Woodardstock festival a triumph

This weekend the Sir Robert Woodard Academy’s staged its very first Woodard Stock festival. In temperatures feeling more like Larnaca than Lancing, Romeo wooed Juliette; poetry was recited; tournaments were played; live music sounded on every corner and the big shocker - England won their World Cup quarter final!

Friday night Romeo and Juliette (with a Mods V Rockers twist) opened the festival in style, performing in a purpose built outdoor amphitheatre complete with a beautiful set of stained glass windows and fire pits. The atmospheric performance began at dusk in balmy temperatures giving the audience a welcome opportunity to relax and enjoy the entertainment after a hot day. The individual performances of the cast were of the standard you would expect from our ambitious Drama department; members of audience said the show was ‘a triumph’ and ‘completely engrossing’.

Great quality live music was everywhere, including performances from Woodard’s own established groups it was fantastic to see emerging talent from young local musicians The Temple Runs, Jacob Aaron & the Reign and Last Seen Alive. Although there were at times competing with a very high profile football game simultaneous showing in the theatre, they put on a professional show and gave brilliant, committed performances.

A surprise hit was the Oscar Wilde spoken word stage, presided over by Brighton poet (what was this guy’s name?) our students also impressed the audience by confidently reciting their own spoken word poetry. Festival goers greatly enjoyed children’s author Jo Baxter who read from her popular novel Viola Pumpernickel.

Aside from the sport on TV there was also plenty of live action to see at the festival. One of the more unusual sporting events of the day was the BAFA Youth American Football Tournament hosted by Brighton-based Sussex Thunder American Football team.

It was right and fitting that Romeo and Juliette closed as well as opened the festival, so with a final flourish they performed again as the sun was going down.

Congratulations to all the performers and organisers for pulling off this fantastically ambitious project. Hopefully it will become a highlight of the SRWA summer calendar!

Head of Performing Arts and organiser Annabel Venn said: “"We are so very privileged to work with such amazingly talented young people. This was our first Summer Festival and we hope to continue to grow and develop it into an annual community event for all the family, as a celebration of young people and the arts. We are blessed to have superb facilities and sharing our success and showcasing the skills and talents of our young people is really important to us. This was a massive effort and full thanks must go to the team that pulled together to help; Alumni students, site team, admin, students, staff. It was truly a collaborative triumph and hopefully the first of many and a wonderful way to end the year."

SRWA Principal said: "We are so very privileged to work with such amazingly talented young people. This was our first Summer Festival and we hope to continue to grow and develop it into an annual community event for all the family, as a celebration of young people and the arts. We are blessed to have superb facilities and sharing our success and showcasing the skills and talents of our young people is really important to us. This was a massive effort and full thanks must go to the team that pulled together to help; Alumni students, site team, admin, students, staff. It was truly a collaborative triumph and hopefully the first of many and a wonderful way to end the year."