Last week, we opened our doors to welcome the public to our very own rendition of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
The cast and crew was made up of 104 hard-working students (aged 11-18), making it the school’s largest company yet. This made way for some very lively performances and allowed the students to showcase their talents in dancing and parkour, as well as acting and singing.
The show begun with Peter Pan (played by Kylara Pope, Year 9) flying into the Darling children’s bedroom, accompanied by a dancing Tinker Bell (HHS Dance Captain Amber Ellis, Year 11). In the absence of stage hoists and cables, Mrs Stanley chose to use the Learning to Fly technique developed by Frantic Assembly, as used in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’. This involved students (including Brenner Batch and Charlie Sewell) dressing from head to toe in black, swooping in and lifting the ‘flying’ children to create an illusion of weightlessness in a very dynamic choreography. Some imagination may have been required from the audience, but they were definitely entertained!
Peter Pan’s parents (in real life) were very proud of their daughter’s performance – “We have never felt more proud of Kylara. She loved playing a part in previous school productions and she worked hard to get the role, learning the whole score before auditioning! We have always been impressed with the quality of productions at Hellesdon, and this year’s was no exception. The set was beautiful, the entire cast so talented and well-rehearsed and the whole show as magical as a production of Peter Pan should be!”
Another parent says “Not only has my son’s confidence soared by being on stage, but Emerson (who played Curly) has made so many new friends from all the different year groups by being involved in the production. He has found a home with all the other children who were born to stand out”.
Each year, our shows bring together students from across the year groups who form life-long friendships, and it is often the first time many will ever present to an audience of hundreds. The sheer joy that performing and connecting with an audience gives to young people is palpable, and those lucky enough to take part will benefit from a boost of confidence and a sense of camaraderie. The experience creates a memory that students, parents and teachers never forget.
“At a time when Creative Arts is being squeezed out of the curriculum up and down the country, the students and staff produce yet another magnificent school show, reminding us all of the importance of the arts. The smiles on the faces of the students and the audience throughout the performance was immeasurable.” – Mr Rolfe, School Principal.
It is often easy to over-look the value of the arts in the pressure of league tables, but the Performing Arts is one of the UK’s fastest growing industries. In current times, these careers hold dramatic influence in the way we are perceived by the rest of the world; plays and musicals serve as a form of historic documentation of our culture and society and people will continue to learn from them.
As a play, Peter Pan is a beautiful exploration of class, social education and the development of children; highlighting those who slip through the gaps in society. ‘The Lost Boys’ themselves live in fear of the adult pirates and their future without a mother figure.
James Mathew Barrie wrote the initial 1904 production with all copyright generously donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital. With this in mind, the cast and crew chose to collect donations for the East Anglian Children’s Hospice’s Nook Appeal – the audience kindly helped us to raise over £200.
We are very proud of how hard the students have worked and of how supportive the parents/carers have always been – These shows would not be possible without your help.