UK Rock Challenge Ambassadors Blog: 2018

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Set design and construction tips!

The 2018 Rock Challenge® tour has just kicked off, but for many teams, the creation of your production may still be underway, but it is never to soon to start thinking about next year or adding more to your piece this year. One of our Rock Challenge® Ambassadors, and set design and construction extraordinaire, Steven shares his top tips. 

Firstly, be sure to pay lots of attention at your Rock Challenge® event and see if you can spark some inspiration. If you see something you like on the day speak to the other schools, ask how it was made and take photos, that’s what the Spirit of Rock Challenge® is all about, everyone should be friendly and happy to share their tips! Many teams tend to have staff or parents who are able to build their set. If not, there are people within the Rock Challenge® family who will be happy to help by offering advice on how to build it yourself. If you're looking for a hand, don't hesitate to pop a message up on the Facebook official group or shoot Rock Challenge® an email and they can forward you on to a local Ambassador who is here to help!

Set design and construction can sometimes be a bit of a scary subject for a lot of schools, sometimes you don’t have the budget or the facilities to make a truck load of set but it’s important to remember that big set doesn’t necessarily win you a Rock Challenge®. A clever, well used set can take you far. 

I’m often asked about how and when should set design come into the process of creating your Rock Challenge® and, in my opinion, it should really be from day one. When you’re deciding a theme and imagining costumes, dances, soundtrack you should be thinking about youset and how you can interact with it. Another thing that you need to remember when creating the scale of your set pieces is that you will need enough stage crew members to shift it onto and around the stage.The Rock Challenge® crew and volunteers will be there to help on the day but you can't expect them to do it all.

So how should it be built? There is no right answer to this question, as everyone has their own way of doing things, the only common rule is that everything has to be safe. Personally, I like to use softwood planed timber, plywood and polycarbonate hollow structured sheets because they are lightweight and therefore easy to move around the stage. I would recommend that you avoid MDF (it’s heavy, doesn’t like getting wet, plus it’s carcinogenic when cutting), foam (it may be light but it breaks easily, and can make the stage slippy for the dancers) and castors (wheels) that are too small (they may be cheap but unfortunately most stages aren’t smooth and level so they can get caught, break and be difficult to control). 

Here's an example of a set piece from frame to fully built!

So how is it done? My advice is to make a solid frame and cover it with light material. The trick to remember is that the set piece needs to look good from a distance. It can be that "easy", a simple wooden frame held together with screws (meaning it can be taken apart and the wood re-used next year!) Then it can be covered with whatever exterior you require to display your theme. 

It’s not as scary as you might think, just be sure to take your time and plan ahead! And remember: as long as it’s safe, you’ve done a great job!

Stoddy

Thursday, 25 January 2018

2018 Ambassadors!


This year we have expanded our amazing Ambassador team, welcoming 17 new members to join Katy Bowman, Owen Broomfield, Katie Daniel, Emily Dimino, Robert Holmes, Chloe Jarvis, Anja Johnston, Karen Mackay and Emma Marshall as part of our 2018 Ambassador team!

Here is our new team members and a little bit about them…

Shaun Ryan
Hi I’m Shaun Ryan and I’m from Portsmouth on the South Coast of England. 2018 will be my seventh year being a part of the Rock Challenge family! I became a part of this amazing family in 2012 after watching the Southern Premier final and I was just blown away with the amount of talent displayed on stage and I knew from there that I needed to get involved. During my first year I supported at my local event in Portsmouth and was then able to travel up to the very first Scottish final. The following years I added new events such as Bournemouth, Crawley and even heading up to the Northern Premier finals. I’m incredibly proud to become an ambassador for the 2018 UK Rock Challenge tour and can’t wait to see both returning as well as new schools take to the stage across the UK and really show what the young people of the UK are made of! Good luck to all of the schools taking part in 2018.


Chris Struth
Hi I’m Chris Struth, I am a Spanish teacher at Larbert High but I first became involved with Rock Challenge at my old school. I love the whole Rock Challenge process but my favourite part is the actual event day - the atmosphere is amazing and it is great to see all of the schools come together to compete. I also really like how Rock Challenge can bring different groups of pupils together who might not normally have the chance to work together. As an ambassador for Rock Challenge 2018, I am really looking forward to being part of the events this year as well as encouraging new schools and groups to become involved with the magic of Rock Challenge and the Be Your Best Foundation.



Linzi Grimwood
Hi I’m Linzi Grimwood, I have been involved in Rock Challenge for 10 years. Started as a participant with my school and then volunteering at the 2012 National final, and continuing that following university. It is lovely being able to give back to an event that I truly believe in. I love the atmosphere of every Rock Challenge event from the beginning of the day until the end of the day. I am looking forward to the 2018 tour and being an Ambassador for Rock Challenge.





Jordan Cullen
Hi I’m Jordan Cullen, I have been participating in Rock Challenge since S1 so this will be my 7th year! I have been a performer in S1-4 for Arbroath Academy and then S5 I moved to Montrose Academy, and then in S6 I became a coach. I specialise in highland dance but learnt contemporary dance through Rock Challenge and now am part of a team at Napier dance. Finally I have volunteered since S3 and enjoy every minute. I am excited for all the new schools and to experience Rock Challenge from a different angle.


Ben Pallister
Hi I’m Ben Pallister, I have participated in Rock Challenge for 4 years whilst at secondary school taking on roles as both a performer and video director. Seeing both sides of the performance has been extremely rewarding for me and allowed me to realise just how much I love performing. In my final year I got the lead part and successfully qualified through to the finals! I have made some amazing friends through Rock Challenge and hope that those performing in 2018 have the same fantastic experience.





Beth Ackroyd 

Hi I’m Beth Ackroyd, previously I was a performer and student leader during secondary school and sixth form. Rock challenge gave me the confidence to choreograph and run large groups of students, whilst also being the highlight of my school experience. I hope I can help influence other students to participate and be exposed to the same enjoyment I did, whilst giving back to an event which helped me overcome so many obstacles.



Emily Chandler
Hi I’m Emily Chandler, as soon as I was old enough to participate in Rock Challenge at my school back in 2011, I took part. The whole thing excited me; performing on stage, getting to create a concept, choreography, fundraising. And it was the best part of my school experience. It was always something that got me through my personal struggles during my time at school, it helped me gain confidence and I made some of my best friends through doing it. I'm so excited to be an Ambassador for Rock Challenge now.



 




Chris Williams 
Hi I'm Chris Williams, 2018 will be my 8th year being involved with Rock Challenge. I am currently studying performing arts. I have been lucky enough to experience so many different Rock Challenge events around the UK. I am really looking forward to volunteering again for the upcoming tour and seeing everyone's hard work and commitment pay off. Good luck to all those taking part this year. 




 

Lara Simpson
Hi I’m Lara Simpson, I have been involved in Rock Challenge for 6 years, and ever since starting my enthusiasm and enjoyment has done nothing but grow. I am so excited to be volunteering as an ambassador, meeting other people across the country involved in Rock Challenge and encouraging other schools to get involved!






Emma Cathro
Hi I’m Emma Cathro, I took part in Rock Challenge with my high school for 4 years and I could not recommend it more! It improved my confidence, I made amazing friends and most importantly I learned the true meaning of team spirit. I’m so thankful to Rock Challenge for giving me such an incredible experience and I’m very excited to keep being involved as an Ambassador.





Sophie Sanderson
Hi I’m Sophie Sanderson, I have been involved with Rock Challenge for 12 years now, both performing and volunteering, and am looking forward to meeting new people who are getting involved this year!





Chelsea Powe

Hi I’m Chelsea Powe, I have been involved in Rock Challenge for 8 years from performing whilst I was in school to returning to help out with my school involving costume/prop making, hair and makeup and set design. 2017 was my first year volunteering and I volunteered at 4 events and aim to attend at least 7 events in 2018. I am very excited to be an ambassador in 2018 and looking forward to raising awareness of Rock Challenge within my local area.




Florence Gill
Hi I’m Florence Gill, I have been part of Rock Challenge for the past 5 years both as a performer and more recently the leader of my schools entry. My involvement in Rock Challenge has been “life changing”. As the first student from Campsmount Academy to apply to a US college, I have based my application on my passions for English, Music and Drama, all of which I have honed through my involvement in Rock Challenge. During my time with Rock Challenge I have also taken on extra tasks such as teaching children aged 5-13 drama, helping with various charities, running a community radio, working as a technician at a theatre and raising awareness through various projects about equality, the importance of good mental health and extra-curricular.


Steven Stoddart
Hi I’m Steven Stoddart, I am a 29 year old electrician from West Cumbria. I have been involved in the UK Rock Challenge since 2000 as a performer and have tried most of the roles associated since, working back stage, building and designing set, lighting, soundtrack and everything else between but unfortunately I cannot dance even though I try and fail. Rock challenge means a lot to me because it has given me the confidence that I have today to be able to take control of situations and work under pressure. It has given me a release that allows me to enjoy the better things in life. I have volunteered to be an Ambassador again this year as I think it is important to engage with people and promote the ethics that the UK Rock Challenge holds.


Ethan James
Hi I’m Ethan James, I have been in the Peterhead Academy Rock Challenge team for 6 years now. To start with I was only a performer, but later got involved in the production process; helping with choreography, costume & set design, soundtrack, lighting, and face painting. I also assist other Rock Challenge and J Rock teams as I enjoy helping out. My participation in Rock Challenge helped me get into University, where I now study Costume Design & Construction. I have loved volunteering the last 2 years and will continue to stay involved with Rock Challenge as an Ambassador on the 2018 tour.



Paige McKillop

Hi I’m Paige McKillop and I’m 19, from North East Scotland! I’ve been involved with Rock Challenge for 3 years now, 2 competing with Montrose Academy and 1 being a liaison with them. I wanted to become an Ambassador this year so I can do more for this amazing charity! I can't wait to go to different events around the country and see all different styles of performances there are as well as the positive message they should always send out.


And Mika Rowe-Bailey.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Stuck on fundraising ideas... well look no further!

Its getting to that point where the Rock Challenge 2018 tour is about to begin and the start of some amazing events! But it’s also where schools are thinking of different ways to fundraise to be able to get costumes, set, hair, makeup and travel costs to get to their event. So below is a list of fundraising ideas that I have put together that may help raise money towards everything you may need: 

  •          Cake sales
  •          Bag packing
  •          Guess the number of sweets in a jar
  •          Quiz night
  •          Penny jar (every team member puts whatever random change they can find and put it in a jar)
  •          Within the school each class designs and creates a product sell at break times and after school (bookmarks, bracelets, necklaces etc)
  •          Rag bags (bag of unwanted clothing would be handed in by pupils and brought by others and team members)
  •          Guess the teddy bears name/birthday
  •          Bingo night
  •          Raffle/tombola
  •          Zumba-thon
  •          Non-uniform/dress up days
  •          Talent show
  •          Rock Challenge Party Night (invite the whole team and other pupils and teachers if you would like too. Small price for tickets and include sweet stalls, photo booth, dance competitions etc)
  •          Fundraising page (Virgin Giving, Go Fund Me, Just Giving)


There are endless ideas that you could do but this is just a list to give schools an idea on fundraising ideas whether they wish to use them or not. Even the simplest ideas can help you out and raise a lot of money, but any ideas you come up with and decide to use like mentioned before will not only raise money, but it will also bring the team together as you’ll be working on something that means a lot to you all and that you’ve been working hard on for a certain amount of time! I hope these ideas will help you all out and you raise the money you need to go towards such an amazing performance! We can’t wait to see what you’ve all made or created and we know that whatever you have raised will go to something special!

Good luck and happy fundraising!!

Chloe Jarvis