High School Musical on Stage
Ten years of productions were celebrated at The Helena Romanes School with a pyrotechnics show.
The annual production at the school, in Parsonage Downs, Great Dunmow, has been a tradition for a whole decade, with students and staff working together to put on a show.
This year’s show, High School Musical, was put on by 100 members of the school community.
Stephanie Stewart, head of drama and media, said: “This was our tenth anniversary of production at HRS, with previous shows including Bugsy Malone and Sweet Charity. The performances this year were outstanding, with pyrotechnics and complex tech.
“What an amazing week. The students were a joy to work with and it was nice to have so many staff on board from other curriculums, too.
“It has truly raised the sense of community at HRS and I look forward to starting the next one.”
Archie Murphy, who played Troy Bolton, said: “After the shows, I was so hyped because the performances went off with a bang. I will never forget this school experience.”
Pupils from local primary schools were guests at a matinee performance prior to the three evening showings.
In January 2014 the school presented the musical ‘Grease’. The hugely popular musical featured the hit songs “Summer Nights” and “Greased Lightning”. As ever, staff from across the expressive arts faculties and beyond have pulled together, ably assisted by a range of enthusiastic students, to create a stunning performance.
Miss Laura Bassingthwaighte, Director said ‘it has been an absolute pleasure to direct such talented and positive students. I’m eternally grateful for all the help and support from the Drama Department.’
Ellie Jones, Year 13, Assistant Director said ‘the cast are all really talented and this has been a great opportunity for me. Thanks to Miss Bassingthwaighte, Mrs Stewart, Mr Amos, Mr Charalambous and all the other staff that have made this possible.’
Thanks also to our sponsors Mullucks Wells Estate Agents.
In January 2013 the school production was the musical ‘Footloose’, based on the 1984 film. Life in small-town Bomont, USA, is peaceful until City boy, Ren, arrives to discover that dancing has been banned since a local tragedy.
“School productions at HRS have always been such a privilege to be part of (my first musical was in Year 8 when we performed ‘We Will Rock You’; I played a rather small Bohemian with a rather large afro called Jackson Five). This year’s performance of ‘Footloose’ has got to be the best yet and I play the main protagonist Ren McCormack. From the early stages of rehearsals (back in September) the cast were a close knit team, ranging from Year 7 to Year 13. From the fantastic 1980’s make-up and costumes to the slick transitions, high level of choreography and professional cast members, the show was a huge success. Audiences were on their feet dancing to the 80’s classics ‘Footloose’, ‘I need a Hero’ and ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boy’. This year’s production wouldn’t have been complete without the amazing HRS Tech crew led by Mr Stewart, the fantastic band conducted by Miss West and of course the amazing time and effort put in by the Director Mrs Stewart. The cast would like to thank all the staff and everyone involved within the production. Every show was so much fun and we all had a great laugh on stage and backstage. Thank you to everyone that supported the production and we look forward to seeing you next year.”
‘HRS has got Talent!’
In 2012 the school production was a bit different. Similar to a Royal Variety show it showcased the best of the talent that the school has to offer. The individual acts were devised by the students. These included comedy and magic acts, dance and music performances. As a company the students performed four group musical numbers from ‘Annie’, ‘Hairspray’ and ‘West Side Story’.The evening was ably hosted by the Head Boy of the school Chris Larkin and his side kick Louis Stephenson. After a preview performance to Year 6 pupils from our local Primary Schools there were three performances in January.
“Talent doesn’t get better than this!” Miss Laura Bassingthwaighte – Director. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the fantastic cast. From being a former student of the school I always enjoyed the school production. This year has been completely about what the students can produce – and they have come up with some brilliant acts. Congratulations to all those involved’
In 2011 the annual HRS school play was produced by a committee of Sixth Form Students rather than by the Drama and Music staff. The production ‘Our House’ featured the music and lyrics of the band Madness. The story follows sixteen year old Joe as he makes a choice between good and bad behaviour. His parallel lives are then chronicled using the band’s hugely popular songs.
Sixth form Media student, James Hughes, reviewed the production:
“This was the first year that the school play has been directed, produced and made by students, the usual director Mrs Stewart handed the reins to sixth-former’s Heather Cox and Abigail Woolcott. Alongside them musical directors Izzy Spint and Samantha Keys, head choreographers Rosie Field and Ben Love and at front of house were Sam Allen, Charlotte Way, Megan Scott, Daniel Hoy and RuairiHipkin. The most important person being former student Connor Abbott who was the producer of ‘Our House’, many more students and adults helped in the proceedings as well.
The show started with a warm welcome of introduction from Connor, it so happened to be Sugg’s birthday and they got the audience to sing him a Happy Birthday raising the spirits of everyone and setting the tone for an entertaining night of dancing, singing and clapping along. The play then continued with a dramatic profile light shooting across the stage, helped along by a montage of the Madness music played excellently by the orchestra, created a joyful and fun atmosphere to set up the play…
Overall the play was a fun pact love story full of twists, turns, ups and downs and dramatic falls. Love however prevails through all of this and things go Joe’s way in the end and he has all of the ones he cares around him. A gleaming performance by The Helena and Romanes School, I would definitely go and see it again. Top marks.”
Producer and former student Connor Abbott said ‘despite this being a new experience for all on the committee, ‘Our House’ was a triumph, with the entire cast delivering performances of a professional standard. I would like to thank every student and staff member for all the effort they put into the production.”
Heather Cox, Director and Abbie Woolcott, Assistant Director said: “We’re so proud of all our cast and committee and the production turned out brilliantly! It’s something we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives and it has made our last year at HRS the best. Thank you to everyone who supported us and came to see the production. We’re really going to miss it!”
Mrs Steph Stewart, Head of Drama and Media, said of the students taking charge this year: “It has been really positive leaving the creativity to far superior people and to realize the full potential of the students”.