Page 25 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Real wonder
Pupils in Years 8 and 9 at Bolton School, Lancashire, impressed audiences with their student- devised promenade production
of Wonder, adapted from R. J. Palacio’s international bestseller of the same name.
Wonder pulls at the heartstrings with the tale of little August Pullman, following his  rst year at secondary school. Along the way, the story explores the complexities of school life and growing up while also emphasising how easy it is to hurt people, exploring social diversity and demonstrating how everyone has the potential to “choose kind”.
Bolton School Boys’ Division Director of Drama Miss Naomi
Lord said, “It’s dif cult to  nd suitable superlatives to describe the quality of the cast’s performance when ‘Wonder’ is the title of the show. The quality of writing, peer-direction and performance
were particularly impressive. I’m expecting wonderful things from this talented collective as they progress to senior productions. We are lucky to have such talented, thoughtful young people and the means by which to stretch their creative arts experiences.”
The promenade production used different venues around the Boys’ Division to create a variety of settings. The Great Hall was used
for assembly scenes and became
the Pullman household. The rear of the Hall stood in as a classroom for 100 people, with the cast playing children sitting among the audience to create an authentic ‘classroom’ feel. There was a move to the dining hall for scenes set at lunch, and even the corridors were put to use as the cast travelled the route to their summer camp: the Studio Theatre, which was transformed into the outdoors with tents, a camp re, and disco ball starlight.
Sleeping Beauty
Romance, drama and fantasy
were in evidence at Farlington School, Sussex – all conjured up by Tchaikovsky’s memorable score and Natalie van de Braam’s mesmerising and original choreography. The ballet pits evil, embodied by the sinister Carabossa, against good, and the acrobatic, frenetic dancing of mischievous fairies provided a clear dramatic and visual contrast
to the graceful elegance of the courtiers, christening guests, pages and friends. The named fairies
– of love, joy, playfulness, song and beauty – all had individual character as well as charm and gave a wonderful example to the youngest dancers, quite enchanting as the good fairies. The costumes, make-up and effects were of the highest standard, not least in the representation of wild nature, conveyed through the abandoned dancing of the woodland fairies.
The versatility of this talented cast of 60 girls, with ages from 4-17, came across perfectly in the fantasy of the wedding scene peopled
with nursery rhyme  gures, and in which each dancer gave her role a colourful and imaginative personality.
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