By Sally Lampitt
The fantasy world of dreams and nightmares was the theme for AudioActive and The School Creative Centre’s Rapdramatic 2010, an ambitious project that saw a team of 27 young people aged 13-24 take centre stage to write, compose, choreograph, film and produce a brand new musical show in just five days.
Director Christine Harmar-Brown worked with AudioActive’s Adam Joolia to bring together an impressive team of tutors to work alongside the young people, including rap impresario Jon Clake, celebrated film-maker Alice Ross, sound sensation Ollie Finn, street artist Luke Brabants, dancer and choreographer Makoto and top technical producer Taff.
The workshop drew participants from as far afield as Bexhill, Hastings, Rye, Battle, Robertsbridge and Ashford, all eager to try something new and take part in the unique production. One of them, Bryony Wakeford, said: “I didn’t really know what to expect, but it has been amazing, I have never done filming and editing before, and working with Alice [Ross] has been really fun. I am even having second thoughts about my career choices as I loved it so much!”
For budding young artist Nathan Fatola, street art was a novel experience. “I like drawing and stuff, but have never worked with spray cans,” he said. “It was really easy to learn things here because everyone is chilled. Luke [Brabants] really listens, and helped me get my ideas on to paper and then on to the flats for the stage. It’s great to see my work up there.”
Two regulars at The School, Carl Davey and Alice Yates, attend the rap and hip-hop sessions run by Jon Clarke and Ollie Finn on a Tuesday evening. For them, The Rapdramatic offered the chance to share their expertise. “Some people had never rapped before,” said Carl. “It can be a bit scary when you start, so it was good to see what they could do and help out. By the end, everyone was brilliant!”
For young rapper Temi Banwo from Ashford, The Rapdramatic offered a rare opportunity to work with professionals. “There is nothing like this going on locally where I live,” he said. “It has been amazing, and I can’t wait to come back and do the regular sessions with Jon. Working with a pro has been loads of fun.”
With so little time, the group had to work as a team if they were to pull off the production – learning to listen, contribute ideas and support each other. “We’ve all been working on the music for the rappers and the dancers, each of us bringing ideas and then developing them together,” said Elliot Lampitt. “Having access to such great equipment has really helped, and Ollie has given me lots of ideas about how I can develop my music. It has been awesome.”
The final production was performed in front of family and friends – and as the lights came up, the set depicted a nightmarish world where crazy cityscapes mixed with magical dream trees and freakish faces. The audience were mesmerised by the outstanding troupe of dancers and rappers, including some incredible freestyling from Richard Carzana and tutor Jon Clarke. All performed against a backdrop of surreal films created from specially shot footage and stock imagery, superbly edited to provide an additional dimension to the rappers’ performance, driven by the drum grooves, funky bass lines and live mixing from Ollie Finn and his enthusiastic team of musicians.
The performance received rapturous applause from the audience, one member commenting: “I was completely knocked out by how much they achieved. The projections and set were stunning, and the performers really professional. To produce something of this calibre in just five days was brilliant.”
The true measure of success was the fact that all the young people were unanimous in the view that the week had exceeded their expectations – and they couldn’t wait to come back and do The School Creative Centre’s Rapdramatic 2010, an ambitious project that saw a team of 27 young people aged 13-24 take centre stage to write, compose, choreograph, film and produce a brand new musical show in just five days.
Rye’s Own September 2010
(Hard Copy Back Numbers Still Available)
All articles, photographs, films and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement. (Hard Copy Back Numbers Still Available) © World Copyright 2015 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG