Looking Back on Lockdown – RPA’s successes

The successes achieved by Roynon Performing Arts students during lock down in one of the most challenging times ever for the performing arts.

It’s pretty safe to say that we collectively want to forget all about 2020. But due to the fact that Roynon Performing Arts have been doing so much over this time, it seemed only fair to list these in their entirety and to celebrate all that the school, its students and their families have achieved together.

At the end of the first lockdown we touched upon some of the things the school has been up to… but there’s more! We feel it’s only right to recognise the hard work made by teachers, parents and students over this time. So here is a more comprehensive take on what Roynon Performing Arts have been up to since March 2020:

  • RPA have successfully moved 60+ of their classes online, including countless genres of dance, music, drama and musical theatre for all ages and abilities.
  • Students who chose to continue their learning online made above average progress – something we genuinely didn’t see coming but is absolutely fantastic! Well done to all the students and families involved and helping to make sure that the enjoyment and learning continued!
  • Lockdown certificates and gifts were hand delivered to all students. This meant Roynon staff personally visiting 200+ houses around Swanmore, Bishops Waltham, Droxford, Hedge End, Botley, Waltham Chase, Wickham, Meonstoke and more…
  • Numerous guest teachers held specialist, professional workshops. This included learning skills and real routines from Hamilton, Peppa Pig and Strictly Come Dancing, all delivered by dancers who have worked directly on these productions.
  • We’ve begun a twinning project with a dance school in Florida USA, to link up with, learn from and support each other in these demanding times.
  • The sister company Swan Samba (drumming and movement) has not only set up a global network with other samba workshops and acts but has collaborated with a few of these online.
  • Principal Miss Sarah dreamt up a largescale charity fundraiser for Marwell Wildlife, namely the ‘Bishops Waltham Zoo’. Over 200 households around the village got involved and got creative, making displays for zoo animals in their front gardens and driveways. This included an anaconda lavishly painted and made from tyres, caged large spiders, an array of cuddly toys in their habitats and a penguin enclosure made from lego! The weekend of fundraising raised over £1,000 for the local zoo and also got special recognition and a video message from Marwell’s CEO.
  • Swan Samba had guest bands held workshops, including large, established Liverpool-based bloco Katumba. 
  • Numerous fundraisers have been undertaken, including quiz nights and distanced projects to raise funds for Abby’s Heroes, our affiliated children’s cancer charity.
  • A new YouTube channel has been made to showcase future pieces in dance, music and drama. Roynon have also added more to their social media in the last months and ramped up the level of content on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
  • Huge amounts of time have been spent ‘behind the scenes’ to further support and train the Roynon Team. For example, Miss Sarah has attended many online courses (especially over the first lockdown), learning current work in limbering and stretching and advanced syllabus in ballet and tap. 
  • RPA have received press coverage for its efforts, including a two-page spread in The Portsmouth News.

Above anything, the whole Roynon team are extremely grateful to the students who have demonstrated passion, drive, determination and a sense of community. This has meant we have been able to move the vast majority of classes online over the pandemic.

We have all faced some unique, pressing challenges. Roynon are extremely proud of all the things we’ve managed to achieve together.

It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. But if the state of the world means we need to go back to virtual teaching, we’ll be ready and now have a wealth of knowledge and ideas to keep students engaged and ensure a continuation of skills. Regardless of whether we’re in the studio or online, RPA will be there to nurture and inspire.