Thursday 25 November, marked the School’s return to live theatre, with a sell-out three-night run of the wonderful school edition of ‘Les Misérables’.
Since the start of term, the cast and crew have spent evenings, weekends and lunch breaks rehearsing, learning lines and songs, building sets and designing costumes. Mrs Gilmour, Director, Miss Forsey, Musical Director and Miss Barnett, Choreographer, have been at the helm ensuring students are well supported and the production is as good as it can be.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday, just one day before the opening performance, both Mrs Gilmour and Miss Forsey returned positive COVID-19 results, and were therefore required to self-isolate with immediate effect. After months of hard work, the whole production was at risk, as we were confronted with the prospect of all the hard work going to waste.
Staff stepped in as best they could, and the pupils put in an extraordinary effort despite the sudden loss of the teachers who had put the production together.
Sophie, Fifth Year, who played Cosette, said:
It wasn’t an easy journey, with both Mrs Gilmour and Miss Forsey testing positive for COVID the day before opening night, but the cast and crew really pulled together to make sure that the standard didn’t dip. It’s so gutting that they didn’t get to see the final performance after all the work they put into it, but I hope we made them proud.
Of particular note, our Head, Mr Parker, who is musically trained, stepped in with less than 24 hours’ notice, to conduct the entire performance from start to end, in lieu of Ms Forsey. It was the absolute epitome of ‘the show must go on’.
Over the course of the three nights the cast and crew blew audiences away. The Dobson Theatre was transformed to the dark, squalid depths of nineteenth century France and we heard ‘the people sing’ with talent and hard work, proven through the standing ovations the cast and crew received after each performance.
Sophie, Fifth Year, tries to sum up the feelings of the cast during the performances:
The time from curtain up on Thursday evening to the encore on Saturday night was a cascade of nerves, support, exhilaration and joy. As it was the first time any of us had stepped onstage in front of a live audience in two years emotions were high, but the pride we all feel in ourselves and each other now it’s actually happened is brilliant. We ended on a high, we went out with a bang, and it’s not an experience any of us will forget.
We are so proud of our students and students who manged to put on a fantastic production, of the highest calibre, despite the difficulties. And thank you to our brilliant community and families, who attended the show and welcomed our return to live performances.