Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Roll Up Roll Up to the Cardboard Puppet Circus

Only two weeks into the new College year and Strode's Art and Design students have already created some imaginative and skillful work by designing and making a cardboard puppet circus. The meter high puppets, which were made with recycled cardboard and brown tape, starred in a special performance for other students last week.

The show, which was conducted by a cardboard ring master, featured a nervous human canon ball, a dancing clown and a juggler, a unicyclist doing balancing tricks and some performing animals including a lion, an elephant, a monkey and a horse.

Duncan Cameron, Sculpture Lecturer said: "The project was designed to warm up the students' creativity and get them working together. We have used cardboard as our medium before but this is the first year where students were asked to direct the project and face the additional challenge of including musical content and narration. It is remarkable how effective the designs and constructions were when starting from such humble materials".

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Uplifting Finale for Strode Students

Music technology, dance and performing arts students from Strode College ended the year in style with some fantastic and uplifting performances at Strode Theatre in June during the Colleges' Festival of the Arts. 

Music technology students were first to the stage on 14 June performing live music they had composed to accompany the 1920s silent film 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari'.  Using music software, MIDI hardware and instruments the students showcased their creativity and technical skill by performing a 70 minute live soundtrack that reflected the film's weird visual imagery and distorted sets.

Adrian Smith, Music Technology Lecturer at Strode said: "We wanted to challenge and inspire our students to produce some of their best work and they did.  The audience enjoyed the show and our students worked together really well - they should be proud of themselves.

Next up, on 15 June, were Strode's performing arts students who brought their two years of study to a fitting finale with a confident and entertaining production of 'Stepping Out - The Musical'. 

Charmaine Bray, Strode's Performing Arts Lecturer said: "The show was an ideal platform for our students to showcase their talents in acting, singing and dancing as it was set in a weekly tap class. Only one of our students could tap dance before rehearsals began eight weeks before the show and all of them learned this new skill extraordinarily well.  Our young performers handled the comic and tragic moments in the show with aplomb and their performance was well received by an appreciative audience, from the hilarious first attempts at tap dancing to the dazzling show-stopping finale."

The final performance during Strode's Festival of the Arts was the end of year dance showcase on 17 June.  It was an evening full of energy, drama and variety with some stunning contemporary dances, excellent and complex group work and some lively numbers including those set to music from the sixties, Bugsy Malone and Paolo Nutini. 

Kara Herbert, Dance Tutor at Strode said: "It was a fantastic evening which celebrated the talents and dedication of our students. They found time between their exams to rehearse these pieces, which shows their commitment and enthusiasm for dance.  It was an uplifting end to their studies and I'm delighted that they were able to share this with such an appreciative audience."

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Designer Diary for Strode Students

Students studying at Strode College next year will have a cool new student diary with cover artwork designed by art and design students and chosen by other students at the College.

The cover for the new diary was designed by Alan Herbert from Yeovil, with Wincanton based Stephen Fuller's design coming in second.  Both students will be completing the College's highly regarded Foundation Diploma in Art and Design this summer.  They used skills learnt on the course to present photographic based imagery for the diary design. 

Alan Herbert said: "Stephen and I have been students at Strode for a few years and this gave us a good insight into how the diary should appeal to a young, design conscious audience.  Receiving a prize based on a student vote really is an accolade." Alan is going on to study BA Hons Digital Film and Production Techniques at Staffordshire University and Stephen will be studying BA Hons Photography at the University and College of Falmouth.

The new diary includes loads of useful information to help students manage their college and personal lives.  As well as important diary information such as a weekly planner, term dates and a timetable, it also includes information about the wide range of services and facilities provided at the College.  It also includes lots of practical tips on related topics such as staying healthy, managing change, travelling and interview techniques

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Strode Music Students go Live

Fourteen young musicians, who are studying for a National Diploma in Music at Strode College, presented an evening of largely original material at the Orange Box in Yeovil recently.  It was the first gig to be presented by the college under the label 'Strode Live'.

A wide range of musical tastes were catered for as the gig featured the jazz quintet 'Sid Taylor's 'Taylor Made', eighties tribute rock from Chris Cox's Copperhead, and solo singer/songwriters were well represented with Chelsea Paget, Hollie Trevis, Jorden Lindsay and Tom Rotheram.  A special one-off Ska band was formed for the night before the evening was rounded off in style by local band JackFlash, featuring Strode students Jake Ball, Dan Canvin, Nathan Askill, Luke Holbrook and Jorden Lindsay. 
Daniel Shaw, Strode College's Music Lecturer said: "The students presented a smooth and polished evenings entertainment with Orange Box staff complimenting them on how well they had organised the event.  They played to an audience of about 80 and it was great to see people from the local schools where our students had performed earlier in the year." 
Clips from the event and information about the musicians can be seen at:

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Strode College’s Mario and Luigi Cook up a Laugh

Children from local primary schools enjoyed a funny and engaging performance of Roald Dahl's 'Witches' recently, when Strode College's performing arts students presented their version of the story at Strode Theatre in Street.

250 children enjoyed the show, which sees a young boy defeat the witches' evil plan to turn the children of England into mice, despite being changed into a mouse himself.  The play ends with the boy-mouse living happily with his Gran and learning that 'it doesn't matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you.'

Strode students adapted the play to appeal to children as part of their work on children's theatre.  As well as audience interaction, special effects and choreography, the children enjoyed the modern references in the show, in particular Nintendo characters Mario and Luigi making soup for the witches and having a comic argument in the kitchen.

Headmaster of Ashcott Primary School Mr Richard Briar said: "The show was fantastic.  The main character - the boy who gets turned into a mouse - was very endearing to the children.  Mario and Luigi were a particular hit getting a great reaction.  It was an excellent and popular production."

The students will also be running follow up workshops with children at some of the schools to explore the themes and characters in the play and encourage the pupils to devise and perform their own short drama pieces.

Photo: Mario and Luigi made a guest appearance in Strode College's performance of Roald Dahl's `Witches`.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Creativity and Excellence Celebrated at Strode’s End of Year Art Show

The Strode College End of Year Arts, Design and Media Show opened on Monday evening, showcasing the creativity, quality and innovation that is nurtured on the College's arts and media courses.

The show began with an awards ceremony to celebrate excellence in painting and drawing, sculpture, graphics, textiles, photography, animation, film and video. Strode's Principal James Staniforth presented certificates and cheques for £100 to six students and announced that one piece of their work will be bought by the College and added to the 'Strode Collection'.

The diverse and inspiring show has been put together by 150 of Strode's creative arts, design and media students.  It is open to the public until Wednesday 22 June between 9.15am and 4.30pm (closed at the weekend).  Work is displayed around the College and in Strode Theatre with maps available from the College reception.  

Students exhibiting will be completing courses this summer in A level Art, Graphics, Textiles and Photography, Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design, National Diploma year 2 Art and Design, pre-degree Foundation in Art and Design and National Diploma Year 2 Broadcast Media.

Petrina Rochester, Deputy Head of Art and Design at Strode said: "Creative arts and media courses are a strong and vibrant area of study at Strode and the quality of work on display rivals that of specialist art colleges and many university level institutions. We have excellent staff and facilities and we work hard with our students to make sure they get the most out of their time with us.      

"They have produced some outstanding work which shows intelligence and creativity and which meets the high standards we set for quality and excellence in all we do.  The End of Year Show is a celebration of what they have achieved as they prepare to move on, many to Higher Education.  Our thanks go to GVA Grimley who sponsor this annual event enabling us to show the students work in the best possible light."

Art Foundation student and course representative Stephen Fuller said: 'Studying Art Foundation at Strode College has been the best decision I've made so far in my academic career, allowing the growth of my development post A level and a greater diversity in my practice.  The end of year show is the perfect opportunity to exhibit my work alongside my peers and celebrate the high standards we have achieved in one year'.

Strode arts and media students consistently achieve high academic standards.  Many have gone on to study at some of the countries top institutions for arts and media education, including Goldsmiths University of London, Central St Martins, the London College of Fashion and University College Falmouth.  

Mike Fryer, Director of Building Consultancy GVA Grimley who sponsor the show, attended the private view and awards ceremony on Monday evening, along with staff, students and family and friends.    

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Music Technology Students Release Online Album

Strode College BTEC Music Technology students launched two new compilation albums last month on Strode's own label, SC Records.  'Sound on Sound vol. 2' showcases the students best electronic music productions from Dubstep to Hiphop, while 'Strode Live Sessions vol.1' focuses on live bands and artists recorded and produced in the college sound studios.
Both albums are available for free download from

As part of their course the students are required to record and produce music for commercial use, design their own CD covers and create promotional material including videos and posters. Some students composed and produced an EP of their own work while others recorded and produced an artist or band.  
  • Felix Rayment from Wells, aka 'Staro' has produced some impressive Dubstep and has been getting some interest from a number of 'youtube' channels.
  • Shelley Peters from Evercreech has recorded a number of bands in the studio and produced some impressive finished products.
  • Sam Ballet from Yeovil aka 'Supa Nin' has composed his own work and recorded and produced a live band in the studio.
  • Scott Linton from Somerton has released two of his own albums on the 'bandcamp' website under the name 'Sclintsoul'
  • Sophie Chouings from Glastonbury has recorded and produced Dan Canvin and remixes of this work were produced and released by Cris Orwin from Stoke Sub Hamdon.
  • Rob Ayton from Shepton Mallet has produced an E.P. of his own electronic music under the name 'A-Tone.'
Adrian Smith, Strode College Music Technology Lecturer, said: "The launch of the Stode College record label last year has given the students a real boost. The quality of the music they have produced this year is outstanding and it is good to see that they are getting recognition outside the college especially online." The students showcased their work at a recent launch party featuring DJ sets, music software and live performances from Rob Ayton, aka 'A-Tone', George Dunscombe, aka Diatonic EFX, Hollie Trevis, Ollie Proud, Chelsea Paget and the band 'Jack Flash.'  

Photo: Rob Ayton from Shepton Mallet performing at the album launch party.