Our whole school production of Bugsy Malone took place last half term, and students, staff and parents are still discussing its success! Over 70 students were involved onstage, backstage and in the band. There were some outstanding performances from students in all key stages and the ensemble as a whole should be especially proud of their efforts. The school hall was magically transformed into Fat Sam’s Grand Slam with audience members sat amongst the cast and the action. Congratulations are due to everyone involved. We are already looking forward to next year’s extravaganza!
There is a full-scale school production every year. The school has mounted inventive and innovative musical productions, including The Little Shop of Horrors, Oliver!, The Wiz! and The Jungle Book. Students have participated in making costumes, designing sets and make-up and playing instruments as well as performing, dancing and directing. Every year there are at least two assistant directors working alongside the teachers as well as production managers and a large production crew. Students also plan marketing and posters, tickets and advertising.
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE was performed in Feb 2008. The Art department made a full set of imaginative masks and costumes and a wardrobe was constructed just in front of the main stage. Narnia itself was staged behind the proscenium, with actors using image theatre to create the forest. A lower stage was constructed to house the Beavers and the table where Aslan is sacrificed. The play itself was performed to compliment the Christian nature of the school but was a first-class opportunity for some great acting and wonderful costumes which worked very well in the set-piece battle scenes.
THE WIZ was the production in 2009 and was the school’s first exciting musical for quite a while. A special dance team were created alongside the actors to dance the stylistic routines. The Great Wiz himself was positioned at the back of the hall behind a huge mask. Dorothy’s dog, Toto, was played by a then-Year 7 student Sarah Adesina. Audiences were provided with special green-tinted glasses as they came into the hall and a projection of a yellow brick road was mounted.
Dorothy is tormented by the Dance Troupe who perform the Tornado in THE WIZ 2009
Next up was OLIVER! in 2010. For the first time, two acting companies were created to accommodate the large number of students who wanted to be involved. A full scale orchestra was conducted by Mr Owens and for the role of Bullseye, a special puppet was constructed. Inspired by ‘Warhorse’ this puppet was operated by a visible on-stage puppeteer, Victoria Gbadebo. Other puppets in the production included a moving cat and Fagin’s creepy (but cute) owl. The role of Oliver was played by both Millie Wotton and Alice Cakebread, alternating. Tolu Martins and Keyah Dhlamini-Wade played the Artful Dodger. Fagin was Brogan Campbell and Melisa Ozdamar. Finally, the role of Bill Sikes fell to Rebecca Hennell who played the role with much menace!
More puppets appeared in THE JUNGLE BOOK in Dec 2010, with monkeys and a kite made out of an umbrella, but the main stars were the actors all dressed up as the jungle animals. The students designed and made their own jungle costumes which worked a treat. This time, the production was mounted in the centre of the hall as theatre-in-the-round. Mowgli was played by Oreana Perini and Baloo by Rebecca Hennell. One favourite moment was when Dr Bishop was hypnotised by Kaa the Snake, played by Felicia Bhebhe.
Over the last four years, SSSO has built up a solid acting company which is added to each year and there are a number of students who have appeared in three or more productions. These are Rebecca Hennell, Melisa Ozdamar and Brodie Campbell. Brodie has since gone to study performing at the Brit School.
Alongside these main productions, the Drama department mount a number of smaller-scale productions as part of the students GCSE and A-Level exams and for Arts Evening. These have included forum theatre based performances such as ‘NUTTER!’ and productions which have gone on to perform at professional theatres such as RAINBOW’S ENDING which the students took to the Young Vic.
At the Young Vic, waiting to go on…