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Posted on 11th June 2018
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A school pantomime has proven so popular among budding performers, it is made up of two casts.
Talented Year 7 to 12 students at Epping St John’s School flocked to audition for a part in the production of Dick Whittington.
The quality of acting, singing and dancing was so strong, it was decided to have double the number of students involved – with 120 given parts on stage and behind the scenes.
Drama teacher Ian Jose said: “Due to the success of last year’s panto, School of Rock, and because of the growth of our performing arts department, we saw a huge number of students audition. A wide range of talent was displayed, so we decided we could not take on just one cast.
“Not only do we have talented students on stage, but the whole show was run by students. They organised the set and the costumes, as well as the script which involved lots of audience participation. Year 7 formed the dance troupe, while Year 12 handled the technical side of things.
“The show involved singing, dancing, slapstick comedy and acting. Our students have an amazing sense of comic timing and a unique ability to improvise. They are a really talented, committed bunch.”
Students auditioned before the summer break to give them time to prepare before rehearsals started in September.
Year 11 Milli Wilson, who played Captain, said: “I had never done anything like this before I was in School of Rock last year and I found it so much fun. I have interacted with so many people from different year groups and made lots of friends.”
Amy Games, Year 8, played Mate. She said: “We all care about each other and support each other, even when things go wrong. At first, I was nervous of the audience, but I have come out of my shell now.”
It was the first time pupils from within the Burnt Mill Academy Trust primary schools in Harlow – Cooks Spinney, Little Parndon, Freshwaters and Roydon - had visited their new partner school. Epping St John’s joined the family of schools on November 1.
The school provided the primaries with a workshop to make cardboard hands to wave during the interactive panto.
Mr Jose said: “We are keen to grow our reputation as being the place to come to for performing arts studies. As soon as they have been inside our building, they will remember what they saw. This is our way of welcoming local primary school children to Epping St John’s.
“It is really exciting; we love this time of year.”