By Kira Dixon and Daisy Richmond.
As the sun set on Saturday 21 April, Whitley lit up with a unifying performance of the Spire at Rabson’s Rec. The piece saw divided sections of Whitley, each with a unique type of ‘power’, come together to build a spire. Three groups of performances represented different types of energy, such as light, sound and mechanical. The young performers each took part in bringing these ideas to life.
Students from the John Madejski Academy (JMA) gave up time in their Easter holidays to rehearse, and had been making costumes in their breaks and lunchtimes. After four weeks of rehearsing, groups of children took to the streets of Whitley to show what they had been doing in the most flamboyant way possible; a procession. The three adults from the Annual Daydream Harvest that helped the students get ready had also built wagons to represent each community, produced custom-made soundtracks, and assembled an impressive structure made of cardboard that was eventually used to bring each type of energy together.
The Annual Daydream Harvest – Jude Haste, Richard Bentley and Nick Garnett – even made sure the sixth form students at JMA got involved in learning both the business and performance sides to the show.
And so, at 7pm on a Saturday evening, JMA students and a variety of other talented performers lined up at the gates of the school and prepared to storm the streets. A smoke bomb was let off to signify the start of the event, drums started to beat, and the heavy iron gates swung open to reveal a cacophony of sound, light and entertainment.
When the procession reached Rabsons Rec, each section performed a piece which represented their form of energy. The Visibles took inspiration from the graceful pieces of Isadora Duncan. The Mechanicals performed in a stiff and rigid fashion and the Audibles produced a soundscape with megaphones to amplify their voices. When all the communities had completed their movement or sound piece, the performers came together to dance as one unified group.
It was around this time the cardboard spire, made by Nick Garnett, was blown over by a strong gust of wind. Even with their symbol of unification destroyed, the groups continued to stay together, working together to rebuild what had made them one.
The idea behind ‘the Spire’ was to bring all of the communities of Whitley together; to bring together those who are separated by their differences. A triumphant performance.