Stoke Damerel Creative Writing Competition Winners
First place Ophelia - Yr 7
Second place Amy - Y7
Friday 10 July
Two of our students and three of our staff recently had the opportunity to interview international acting star Douglas Hodge about his career and for tips on how to succeed in the performing arts.
Douglas was born in Plymouth and the interview came about after the College connected with him on social media during lockdown and asked if he would do a Q&A hour - and he said ‘yes!’
Douglas is currently in lockdown in New York, unable to work because of the pandemic. This summer, he should be at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London with the new musical of ‘101 Dalmatians’, for which he has written all the songs.
Asking the questions via Google Meet were sixth formers Felix (who aspires to be a journalist) and Asha (who has an interest in the performing arts), with Mrs Clift, Mrs Henderson and Mr Towers. Felix has written this report for our College website.
“I always felt that I was barging into their world” - the
intriguing story of Douglas Hodge
Report by Felix, Sixth Form
Throughout this pandemic Stoke Damerel Community College has been consistently providing their students with different mediums of creative activities to keep their minds active while they remain at home. One of these mediums has been audio-books, and with their recent access to Douglas Hodges’ reading of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the actor, director and writer was delighted to join us for an hour on the 23rd June to explain how he was coping during the lockdown and detailed his own story from his early life in Plymouth to the stages of the wondrous West End and Broadway. During the interview, he explained to the staff and accompanying students the hardships of rejection, the suspense and tension building up to an on-stage performance, and the breath-taking moment of being on the set of such films as the Academy Award winning film ‘Joker’.
Hodge is an award-winning actor who has, over his career, performed in a wide variety of mediums including theatre, musical theatre, TV and films. His most notable theatre work includes the critically acclaimed La Cage aux Folles, for which he won an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He was also nominated for the same Olivier Award for his performance as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical. However, his journey to such esteemed successes is what enticed us during our interview.
His father worked at Devonport Dockyard and although his time in Plymouth was cut short due to his father’s promotion to Chatham Dockyard, causing his family to move, Hodge still holds an affectionate view of the ocean city as he describes how his extended family remained in Plymouth. He even recalled how he incessantly took each member of his family to see his production of ‘See How They Run’ at Theatre Royal Plymouth, which he directed.
“I watched it every single night with a different relative. I was very proud, taking them in!”
After his move to Chatham he began his education in Kent where he studied A-Level French, English and Music, to which he vented humorously his frustration surrounding his music exam:
“I remember we had to do the music in silence and I made some big point about it being crazy to do a music exam where you are not allowed to sing or play piano, or make any noise whatsoever - so I stomped out!”
As he continued to speak about his education, he began to explain how much he had adored being an actor during his secondary school career, alongside what truly solidified his determination to become an actor:
“I did always want to be an actor, since I was about twelve years old.”
“I had never been in a play, and my parents had no interest in the medium whatsoever, so it was all a bit strange. But I could impersonate almost anybody, so I was a bit of a clown at school, and I just lived off that really….”
“And then - as happens in your life - I had a brilliant English teacher who just said to me: ‘Perhaps stop showing off and think about actually doing something properly.” So I auditioned with the National Youth Theatre (NYT) when I was 16... “
During his time at NYT he was filled with opportunities to learn and understand more about his new-found dream career, as he was constantly bombarded with tasks that included exploring Shakespeare’s plays, watching productions and reading articles all about drama. Over the course of his time he began to warm up gradually to the idea of auditioning for a drama school.
He succeeded in getting a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), where his peers that year included Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and Kathryn Hunter.
“But I wasn’t like a lot of the people at RADA. Where I had come from, from Plymouth, was very different to how the RADA people were at that point, so I always felt that I was barging my way into their world. You have to have a deep-seated secret confidence the whole time. I got my Equity card as soon as I left drama school and then I just kept working.”
In fact, he has kept working right up until this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, which has temporarily brought the curtain down on the performing arts. However, we should be seeing him again soon in his latest movies, The Bet, The Devil All The Time and A Grand Romantic Gesture, while on TV, he stars in the US smash hit series, The Great.
Friday 26 June
Over the last couple of weeks, students in the Photography department have been producing some great examples of artist research and their own images shot in the style of established photographers. Here is a mini gallery of work from Year 9 student Maddison and Year 10 students Dennis and Molly.
Friday 12 June
Wow! What an amazing set of entries we have had from our super keen Y7 and 8 scientists this week. We received hundreds of excellent projects for the Science Project Week competition. Work including videos, presentations, research projects, models, cakes, photographs, games and too many more to list. A huge thank you from the science team to everyone who got involved. We hope that you enjoyed learning about space, the bugs in your garden, the chemistry of cakes, fun animal facts and more!
Picking a winner is going to be very difficult, but we will announce them next week.
Mr Fleetwood and The Science Team
Friday 05 June
Students in photography this week have been focusing on colour, exploring nature photography and making black and white photographs with only partial use of colour for emphasis.
Here are some examples from Lucy and Madeleine, both in Year 9.
Year 8 Students in Miss Keene's Media class this week have been creating their very own comic strips.
Below is Kai's fantastic comic strip about toilet paper!
Friday 29 May
Mr Stephens spent the half-term week in school working with students 'on a range of creative tasks, from Pop Art shoe designs, to kite making and flying. The students ended the week producing Zentangle cubes and pebble art, taking inspiration from the tribal shapes and patterns within the Maori culture'.
Here are some images of the students at work together with the art they produced:
Friday 15 May
This week our students have been getting to grips with some difficult topics.
In Year 9, Lucy has been working on her understanding of erosional processes in Geography. In year 10, Alfee and Dylan have gained an excellent understanding of the theory of semiotics in Media.
Creatively, we have once again had some amazing work. Logan in Year 7 has shared a poem celebrating our Fun Friday activities.
Well done to them all!
Friday 8 May 2020
On Friday as the country celebrated and commemorated VE Day students were invited to find out about the day and complete a range of activities written by the History Department. Lacee in Year 8 was the first to complete her work - a whole day early! Well done Lacee. The work is still coming in. Below you can see some other pieces of VE Day work nominated for Best Work.
VE: Diary of a Child by Finley in Year 9
VE Day by Toby in Year 7
Students in Year 9 Photography this week have been researching about the photographer Bill Brandt and shooting photographs in the style of his work.
Here are examples from Lucy, Shanice and Kimmy.
Students in Year 8 Art have been developing their drawing skills. Here is Abbey's drawing of her favourite pair of shoes!
Friday 1 May 2020
This week Year 8 are in the lead with 73 nominations but it is a close run thing with Year 7, Year 9 and Year 10 hot on their heels with nominations in the 40s and 50s.
Here are some lovely examples of best work for this week from Year 7 students in Geography and English.
Friday 24 April 2020
Throughout the lockdown period while the vast majority of students have been educated online, some students have been regularly attending school. Here is a flavour of the variety of activities they have been doing in a typical week.
We have posted 1376 Best Work postcards so far during the period of lockdown. Well done to our students for all of your hard work.