Page 23 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 23

Billy Elliot to the West End
A cast of 100 Dauntsey’s School, Wiltshire, pupils, supported by their own technical crew and
full orchestra returned last month (March) from a sell-out performance of Billy Elliot at the Novello Theatre in the West End, London.
Following the success in December last year of the School’s inspiring production of the stage adaptation of one of Britain’s most popular  lms, Dauntsey’s was invited to perform the show in London. This is the third such invitation to perform a musical in the West End, with Les Miserables in 2003, and Miss Saigon in 2012.
The excitement and anticipation of the audience, made up of Dauntsey’s extended family, was palpable. The atmosphere in the theatre was electric, from stepping through the doors of the Novello, right up to the well-deserved standing ovation at the end.
The performance was no small undertaking. The December production had to be re-imagined and rehearsed again in order to  t the smaller stage that was built overnight on Saturday, in front of the existing Mamma Mia set. The orchestra played via a screen from one of the theatre’s bar areas,
and sounded magni cent. The School’s technical crew rose to the challenge, quickly becoming familiar with the Novello’s lighting and sound system to create a magical production.
Rikki Jackson, Director of Drama, Dauntsey’s said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for all those involved and an incredibly exciting event for the whole School community. The cast and orchestra performed brilliantly and adapted exceptionally well to the smaller stage and larger audience. It was a night to remember for us all!”
Beauty and the Beast’ sold-out hit
First place
The St. Wystan’s School and Nursery Parent and Staff Choir won  rst place at the Burton Vocal Festival, held at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton- on-Trent, last month (March).
It may be a ‘tale as old as time’ but Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is big news, and not just on the big screen. A day prior
to the release of the much- anticipated  lm last month (March), The Abbey School, Berkshire, enchanted its audience with its own spellbinding opening night of the magical musical.
In the shadow of the magic rose, the timeless story unfolded, as the principal characters delivered an outstanding vocal performance supported by an energetic chorus. Dancing furniture and cooking
utensils were brought to life with the help of the costume designers in The Abbey’s talented textiles department and some superb character acting and singing.
The show’s Director and Head of Drama at The Abbey, Leighton Martin, said: “We had no idea when we applied for the rights
to perform the show that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ would have become headline news during production week. Our students have produced outstanding performances for three sold-out audiences and we couldn’t be prouder!”
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Pictured: Isabel Hurley (Singing Teacher and Choir Mistress) with teaching colleagues Vicky Revill and Andrea Carlisle and the rest of the choir.
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