Visiting authors, singers and literary experts inspired Open Academy students at their recent Literary Festival.
The week began with a visit from Louis Buxton, from the Norwich Writers’ Centre, who discussed the concept of creating a character through a carefully stepped approach to writing.
Experts provided by BBC Voices were also busy with a group of film students who created three videos whose stars included vice principal Betsy Fowler in her alter ego as Joyce Grenfell. These have been uploaded to the website.
Students were introduced to Lilie Ferrari, whose literary credentials include writing for TV series EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City. She is hoping to launch a new soap soon, on one of the digital TV channels, which was originally set in Eaton Park. Lilie is also a writer and demonstrated to students the difficulties of selecting an appropriate book cover.
Local author Heidi Jo Swain inspired students with writing workshops. Heidi has recently had her fourth book published, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage, and one of her books has been released in Germany.
Singer/songwriter Tom Ryder, whose soulful voice has earned him recognition from rock superstar Rod Stewart, performed original songs for the students.
Students discussed and created their own comics after a workshop led by Dr Epstein, a University of East Anglia expert in the genre.
And local theatre group the Garage put students through their paces to create some Oompa Loompa dances to be performed as part of a production at the end of term.
The week also gave students a chance to showcase their own work. A Literary Death Match was fought to the bitter end with only three marks separating first, second and third place entries.
Year 7 students became film directors and, having come up with ideas for new films, they pitched their ideas to a highly-critical staff team of dragons. The winners created a comedy horror called Knock Knock Scream!
Interesting examples of slam poetry were created by Year 9 students. The winning entry, Slithering Snakes, was an insightful metaphorical poem about being led astray by fake friends.
The week finished with an afternoon of performance by Year 7 students who had spent the day rehearsing a summarised version of Romeo and Juliet. The Oompa Loompas and the Year 8 cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also gave Year 7 pupils a taster of the eagerly-anticipated end-of-term show.
“The response to the Literary Festival by the students has been amazing this year,” said Angela Taylor, head of English.