BIG choices to make: theme, soundtrack, set and more!

You’ve now got past that early 6am sign up on entry day and have officially been assigned to a J Rock™ or Rock Challenge® Event on the 2018 tour! Let’s get down to those big choices you have to make as a team.

How to choose a theme?
Choosing a theme can be tricky because it can literally be anything! It can be based on a film, book, musical, play, TV show, or completely made up from your own imagination! As Rock Challenge® is now into its 23rd year so there is plenty of inspiration from other schools to help with your choice and here is a link to the Rock Challenge® Pinterest board that might help with some ideas. In your production book there is a list of popular theme choices. You may wish to choose one of these and make it your own or you might decide upon something completely new! Please note all elements in your performance have to relate to back to your theme so make sure you choose something with a lot of scope to explore.

Once you have a theme, the next step is to think of a title. Some schools like to avoid the obvious – for example, if you were doing Alice in Wonderland you could call it “The Adventure into Wonderland” or something different to the movie title, this means that you have some mystery around what your theme is. But one area where you definitely don’t want any mysteries is in your 60-word theme description. This is the only thing the judges will know about your performance before the show and so it is important to get as much information as possible in there as well as making an impact.

Now that you have your theme and a catchy title, there are many more choices for your team to make.

Your team will need to create a soundtrack for your performance, it is important that the music is relevant to your theme, and aids in the storytelling of the piece. The soundtrack can be a mix of songs, noises, voiceovers; it must be merged together and placed on a disc before the event day! There are some rules on soundtracks, such as; it must last 5-8 minutes and all music must be commercially available. You can find all rules and guidelines in the Production Book.

Set Design
Having set is important as it will add to your production and help to tell your story. Some schools don’t use set however there is an award for Set Design & Function so if you can, it’s advisable to use some! This can be anything relating to your theme; in the past schools have used flat boards which are painted to reflect the scene they were in. You can incorporate your set into your performance by creating it so that your performers actually stand on the set, or by having the set move freely around stage tying into the choreography. Little things can make a huge difference with set design – for example, you could include lights on your set which will help it to stand out, but only do this if it is relative to your theme. You must take into consideration the 4 minute timeline for your stage crew to construct your set on stage at the beginning of your performance and further 4 minutes to dismantle your set and remove it off stage at the end of your performance. There are rules & guidelines around set design which can be found in the Production Book. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board for some ideas and inspiration!

Of course, costumes are a vital part of the performance, it can make a performer go from looking like a human to looking like a tree, insect, animal or one of your favourite fairy-tale characters! There is no limit when it comes to costumes, you can go as little or as crazy as you want with them. They can either be purchased or created using DIY depending on your budget. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board.

Make Up, Hair & Props
As well as costumes, the use of hair and make-up design to portray their characters is very popular. There is really no limit for this either, just makes sure it stays relevant to the theme. You can use Pinterest for ideas which will be great for your teachers to use to get some inspiration. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board. Props can also be used, which can add to your performance and will allow marks towards the award for “Visual Enhancement”. Not all schools use props, it really depends on whether or not the props would add an extra element to your storytelling.

I’m sure by now your heads are filled with ideas, so get going, start building and creating and have fun!

Katy B

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