Cambridge Edition May 2023 - Web


Bringing down the house

Charlotte Phillips finds out how local schools are helping pupils’ creativity thrive in the performing arts

W hen it comes to treading the boards, taking to the podium and enjoying a spell in the spotlight, our area’s schools offer everything talented performers could ask for. The list of shows by gifted pupils – already staged and in production – is jaw-dropping. Of course, they’re not working on their own. Supporting their efforts and building their stagecraft on and offstage are amazing specialist staff. Not only do they join schools, often with years of experience as performing arts specialists under their belts, they’re also notably

fundamentally with students in mind,” says David Barrett, theatre practitioner in residence at the school. Recent productions include a highly successful production of Legally Blonde , featuring sixth form and year 11 pupils at The Perse, and rehearsals are currently underway for The Railway Children . In order to give as many children as possible the chance to take part, there are two completely different casts of pupils in years 7 and 8 – 70 in total – which is exactly as complicated, but worthwhile, as you’d imagine. “There are two dress rehearsals, two sets of costumes and

passionate in their commitment to passing along expertise and innovation (not to mention a sprinkling of stardust) to the next generation. High standards of production are matched by the quality of performance spaces. These include the near 350-seat theatre at The Leys, complete with retractable seating, high-spec lighting as well as sound and projection, and The Perse School’s performing arts centre, home to the drama and music departments – boasting its own workshop with an impressive, purpose-built theatre. “It is an unbelievable space designed


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