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John Port Spencer Academy students attend annual Art Residential at Ingestre Hall

Students within the Expressive Arts explored the theme of “Entrances and Exits” through song, drama and drawing in the Staffordshire countryside.

The Expressive Arts faculty at John Port Spencer Academy took 53 students to Ingestre Hall for their 16th annual Arts Residential.

The Year 9 participants spend the weekend at the former home of the Earl of Shrewsbury, which functions now as Sandwell’s Residential Arts Centre, focusing on the theme of “Entrances and Exits”.

The music students composed their own songs with the focus of using the theme in their lyrics or in their compositions.  Three very different pieces of music were created, from a winter carol “Exiting autumn and entering winter” to more existential lyrics about leaving your heart.

Drama students developed their work inspired by some entrance and exit lines, which overlapped with other groups creating an interesting array of short sketches before looking at some scripted works like Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

Art students were placed into groups and asked to sketch elements of the building itself, from doorways to windows to stairwells and ceilings, looking at the patterns which the house itself gave.  They then spent the weekend creating group paintings using these shapes as inspiration.

“The outcomes of the weekend highlight the huge talent we have at John Port Spencer Academy in general and in Year 9 in particular,” said Andi Mitchell, the teacher and communications lead who organised the event. “The staff and sixth form helpers were so proud to be able to support our students in their creative development and see them interact with one another—and without phones—over the weekend.”

He continued, “A huge thank you to those in the Expressive Arts faculty for giving up their weekend to support our students.  With such a strong creative team, our students were able to safely explore their creative sides whilst enjoying the opportunity to work with so many like-minded students and develop what we hope to be some lifelong friendships along the way. Previous students have always remembered their times at Ingestre, and we hope this year’s participants will too.”