rydeacademyrockchallenge220 years since the Rock Challenge was first introduced to the UK, the nationwide performing arts competition returns to Southampton this month to kick-start the 2015 tour, with three Island schools taking part.

Involving more than 320 schools across the country this year’s UK Rock Challenge and J Rock events are expected to reach upwards of 20,000 young people between the ages of 7 and 18 years old. From Monday 23rd February, Southampton Guildhall will host six nights of entertainment as 48 schools, 38 of which are local to Hampshire and 3 to the Isle of Wight, take to the stage.

Day 1 will see Carisbrooke Primary School enter the J Rock competition, whilst Lanesend Primary School will enter on Day 2. Day 3 will see Newchurch Primary School also enter the competition in their first year of entry.

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The Be Your Best Rock Challenge and J Rock events aim to inspire, engage and motivate young people to make healthy and positive lifestyle choices. Each show provides the opportunity for young people to experience an adrenalin-based high through performing live on a professional stage rather than using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.

Teams as small as 10, or as large as 135 students, collaborate with teachers, parents and wider communities to prepare an eight minute performance. These preparations are undertaken over many weeks and months and showcase an array of skills in dance, drama and design. Set to a theme of their choice each school’s performance is completely original and can vary from tackling a political or social message, retelling a true event or an entirely imaginative concept.

Senior Event Manager Samantha Eastwood is looking forward to seeing the variety of themes that will be tackled in 2015 and, as product of the Rock Challenge herself having participated for 6 years at school, loves working on the events knowing what an important and unforgettable experience the Rock Challenge is for young people. Samantha strongly believes:

“The team spirit and energetic environment of the Rock Challenge day, creates a lasting memory for every student involved which is why we see schools coming back year after year to share in the fantastic experience that this live event offers.”

Photograph: Ryde Academy during last years Rock Challenge 

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