London calling as students named as finalists

Five students from Stoke on Trent College have been named as finalists in a national competition run by The Royal Opera House.

The shortlisted students will now travel to Covent Garden, London, on Friday March 27th to see their competition entries exhibited at the venue, before attending a matinee performance of Madama Butterfly where winners of the Royal Opera House Design Challenge will be announced.

The winners, from the four design categories, will get to carry out sought-after work experience placements behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House, working alongside industry professionals in their chosen specialism.

From Stoke on Trent College, interactive media students Jessica Chell and Taryn Smith, as well as graphic design student Damian Trigo, have all been named finalists in the Marketing category of the competition. Design student Imogen Hunt is in the Costume final and theatrical special effects make-up student Stephanie King is hoping for a win in the Hair, Wigs and Make-up category.

Now in its fifth year, the challenge gives students from Creative and Cultural Skills Academy Colleges the opportunity to test and develop their marketing, production and design skills. This year’s challenge is based on the opera Madama Butterfly. 

From over 450 entries at 16 colleges, 48 Finalists have been whittled down through two rounds of judging.  For the first year the exhibition will continue in various parts of the Royal Opera House across the year to allow schools and the general public to see the Designers of the future.

Charles Barthomelew, Director of Media and Performing Arts at Stoke on Trent College, said: “The Royal Opera House Design Challenge gives students the opportunity to showcase their skills at a national level and we are thrilled that so many of our students are in the final.

“The learners have all worked incredibly hard to impress the judges and their success is a credit to themselves and the teaching staff at Stoke on Trent College.

“We know that the standards are always incredibly high and our students didn’t fail to deliver. This is a national competition and they have fought of hundreds of hopefuls to reach this final.

“We are absolutely thrilled and wishing them the very best of luck.”

Last year, Stoke on Trent College Interactive Media student Shannon McGuinness went on to win 1st place for her creating a computer game based on a classic ballet, The Sleeping Beauty.

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