The 2018 Rock Challenge tour has come to an end and it’s been an absolute blast! From volunteering to going to Rock Challenge presentations for new schools to compering my first event to the days spent video directing, painting and dancing with my team – it’s been one busy year! Before I continue, if you don’t know what I’m talking about give this a read!
So every Rock Challenge year starts off with deciding a theme, auditions and then rehearsals, luckily I was home to help with the inital planning of my secondary school’s performance based on Emma Donoghue’s Room but because of being super busy with uni and work down in Edinburgh I miss a lot of this creating and rehearsing process.
In the springtime we have the heats of the RC events at which I was volunteering as a production assistant, meeting up with old pals and I even got to host the first show in Motherwell. I was super nervous to begin with because I’m not used to standing up on a stage and speaking as myself but by a couple schools in I was on a roll and really enjoyed myself. In Aberdeen I got to spend the day supporting my school at their showcase as their Video Director but also in painting the students to look like stars and trees (my fingers always keep that green tinge for a couple days) It was pretty special at Aberdeen to see my sister be awarded for her 10 Years of involvement in RC and I’m super glad I was a part of her 10 Year Tunnel (mine next year, eek!) It was also pretty amazing to see PARC perform Room for the first time. I had seen rehearsal videos from our sports hall but to see those guys kill it on a stage in full lighting, set and costume was pretty magical, I love watching it all come together.
In between heats and finals I sadly couldn’t come up to help very much because I was still working super hard on placement but by the end of June I was free to come and see how much they had improved for the Northern Premier Final in Grimsby and my goodness it was a totally different piece from Aberdeen. The improvements they made resulted in some incredible storytelling backed up by some really spine-tingling drama and performance skills, I was so proud of them all. I got to volunteer at the Scottish and Northern finals before the big day and it was great to jump back into the RC bubble after a few months out of the loop. I love being able to watch a final because you see so much passion and creativity from so many young people that it reminds you how bloody special Rock Challenge is, sometimes you forget that in the madness of putting it all together. I had a brilliant day at the Northern Premier Final, it was such a high standard of performance that day which was really exciting. After a whole bunch of awards PARC placed 2nd and qualified to their third National Final!! Some fun facts: In the past 6 years Peterhead have placed 2nd in the NPF 4/6 times! Also Peterhead are one of only 4 schools who have qualified to 3/4 of the National Finals that have happened so far (they are every 3 years)!
After some more dotting around the country from event venues to Edinburgh to home home in Peterhead we had our last rehearsal for Nationals which I am so glad I was able to attend. Because it was the school holidays we were able to have an extended rehearsal which was filled with a lot of hard work and a lot of fun! We had our own Production Meeting to get us in the Right Type of Mood and there was plenty of room for a weyho 😉 The changes made within those two weeks between NPF and Nationals were so effective which is totally down to the hard work of the team.
For the second time in less than a month we made the 8 hour drive down to the North (ish) of England in Rotherham for the National Final. This was such a fun day – our team seemed to be full of energy and hilarity which was great because the National Final was buzzing! My personal highlight from the daytime was our kids getting all the other schools involved in a ceilidh (Orcadian Strip the Willow, if you’d like to know). It was awesome to see all those young’uns dancing together and it’s always funny to watch the confused English people at the ceilidh (sorry! We appreciate you’re trying). There was such a good energy and of course the performances were all outstanding. I had a really great time meeting some of the lovely people from the Kinross High School team who are so lovely and full of ideas and passion for RC. One big surprise that happened at Nationals was my sister and I being given our Gold Award in Volunteer Accreditation, along with our pal Shaun we are the first volunteers to be recognised as such for our competence and dedication to the charity and its events, which is pretty neat. In a less successful note we still didn’t win the air guitar competition despite our best efforts, so back to the drawing board… Between all the fun and all the painting, the day flew by in a hot daze and it was showtime! Despite a wee curtain issue at the start, PARC absolutely nailed it and we couldn’t have been more proud watching them up there on the stage. In the end they placed an incredible 4th out of the whole of the UK which is such an amazing achievement! Another fun fact: Peterhead are now 1 of 2 schools that have ever placed in 3 National Finals!
The year came to a close with a party to celebrate this being Peterhead’s 10th consecutive year competing in the Premier Division of the competition. This is such an amazing thing to be able to do because it shows how consistently amazing the whole PARC fam has been for an entire decade and I’m so proud to be a part of that. Marking this milestone has meant a whole lot of reminiscence this year looking back over the past 10 years of rocky c. From watching my sister in her first year in Aberdeen and deciding that I was definitely gonna do that when I went to Academy to now being a “grown up”, on the Creative Team and seeing the team place as one of the best teams in the country – it’s unreal. I am so proud.