Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra

Shrewsbury Orchestral Society

Gary Hickey to join us for James Bond concert

Gary Hickey was Head of Performing Arts at Ercall Wood Technology College in Telford, Shropshire. He has been teaching for nearly 17 years, and prior to that spent 8 years as a freelance musician, composer and theatre director. As an award-winning theatre director he has directed over 40 plays and has directed two full-length films. As a composer he has also released two CDs of original music as well as working as a session musician. He is now a Deputy Headteacher in Shropshire, England.

He studied in London with Carlos Bonell and has worked many times as a soloist, in duos and ensembles. His work as a composer has ranged from theatre - including "Othello" (1987), "Cider with Rosie" (1989), "On Golden Pond" (1991) and the Chester Mystery Plays (1992): Dance - for Cheshire Dance Workshop, Neil Fisher (Digital Dance Award winner) and choreographer Tom Roden. His piece "Just in Case" was used as the GCSE Dance Set Study accompaniment in 2000. Gary has also had various commissions from radio. In 1998 he conducted the first performance of his "War Requiem" for soprano and orchestra, and other works include pieces for mixed ensemble, unaccompanied choir, solo piano and electronic scores for tape. In 1994 Gary recorded an album, with counter-tenor Joe Mace, of Medieval and Baroque songs for voice and guitar. He was appointed Music Director/Composer to AIR Dance Company in the spring of 1995 and later that year was commissioned to write the music for a set of three community plays for Portsmouth Arts. He also records for other people and can be heard on the CD "The Bridge" - an adaptation of the novel by Iain Banks, composed by Gary Lloyd and featuring the voice of Iain Banks, released on the Codex label.

Gary Hickey

In the early 1990s he formed the first incarnation of The Liadon Ensemble - an instrumental chamber group consisting of violin, flute, guitar, soprano sax and cello - to exclusively play his own compositions. Their first album, "Music for Rooms", was released in 1998 and a string of concerts followed to promote the CD. Music from this album has been heard on both national radio and TV. The second CD (entitled "Not Now, But Soon") was released in 2001. At Ercall Wood he introduced a touring theatre company for GCSE students which has subsequently toured to venues such as Barcelona, Verona and the Edinburgh Festival. He also has been at the forefront of introducing new technology into Drama teaching and has been approached twice to trial new software before it has been released worldwide.

A former finalist in the Guardian Teacher of the Year awards, he was awarded a Special Commendation for “extraordinary work in drama” (National Teaching Awards 2000) and also awarded a DfE Bursary for Good Practice (2001). Gary has been invited to talk about and demonstrate his innovative work with raising boys’ achievement through Drama at conferences in Texas, Prague, Nepal and Greece. He has also been invited to lecture at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) on the current role of Drama in education. He has studied with professional directors at both the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Gary has taught in Australia as part of a British Council initiative, and his work and methods have been the subject of both BBC and PhD research, and have been filmed by the DfE. He has also been visited by the previous government Minister for Education, David Milliband, later the feature of an article in the TES. In 2010 he was invited to deliver a lecture on raising achievement at Harvard University in Boston.

His Masters degree was focused on raising achievement in boys across the curriculum through physical theatre and ICT.