Hands-on students launch N.Walsham show

GETTING 'bums on seats' and organising every aspect of a professional production has given teenage drama students an eye-opening insight into the less glamorous side of theatre.

GETTING 'bums on seats' and organising every aspect of a professional production has given teenage drama students an eye-opening insight into the less glamorous side of theatre.

When the audience settles down to enjoy tomorrow evening's performance of The Pioneers at North Walsham High School, it will be largely due to several weeks' hard graft by 13 pupils.

The 15- and 16-year-olds have been responsible for every nitty-gritty detail of back stage and front-of-house life.

Duties have included filling in health and safety forms, arranging and stewarding car parking, checking disability access, designing and selling tickets, handling bookings, finding accommodation for the performers, making and selling refreshments, handling a budget and promoting the show to make sure people turn up and watch.


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'It's been much more interesting than just reading text books,' said student Hayley Wild.

'Usually in drama we're just on the stage performing. We don't have to think about how much goes into the rest of the production.'

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Seethrewmusic's The Pioneers tells a musical tale about three people who leave Victorian England to settle in New Zealand.

Its historical theme and use of traditional music did not at first appeal to the teenagers but they were converted after watching a 10-minute DVD from the show.

Since then they have put a lot of effort into breaking down similar prejudices in other pupils to try and persuade them the show is worth seeing. They have also bombarded targeted community groups with publicity.

Student Chloe Christou said the experience had given her more confidence talking to strangers on the telephone.

Both Chloe and Emily Wright said it had also made them realise how difficult salesmanship could be.

Dominic James, the school's head of arts, said that while many of the students were talented performers, they realised few would be able to earn their living as actors.

The project had given them valuable experience of other aspects of theatrical life and the world of work.

Tomorrow's show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost �7.50 (adults), �6.50 (concessions) in advance, tel 01692 402581, or �8.50 (adults) and �7.50 (concessions) on the door.

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