Mining town sets the stage for Billy Elliot

Trinity Academy

Tuesday, 18th October 2016

Mining town sets the stage for Billy Elliot

​STUDENTS stage musical with added poignancy for their community.

STUDENTS are staging a musical that has added poignancy for their community.

Set during the miners' strike of 1984, the story of Billy Elliot traces the conflict experienced by a boy from a male-dominated North East mining family who dreams of being a ballet dancer.

The cast at Trinity Academy, in Thorne, although born long after the strike, are aware of its meaning to their audience from the former mining town.

Hermione Whitehead, who plays George, a miner and Billy's boxing coach, said: "It's a show that has more meaning in somewhere like Thorne and I think it will touch people."

Hermione, 15, of Hatfield, added: "Everyone has their opinion about Billy taking up ballet but he is determined to fulfill his dream and I think that's great, really inspiring."

Jackson McIntyre, 14, of Thorne, has been cast in the starring role and has learned dance moves for the first time for the musical.

"I usually play comic characters so I think I was cast to try something new. Billy is a troubled character in a complex situation, so it's really interesting," said Jackson, who took time out every day during the summer holidays to learn his 142 lines.

Molly Marsh, 15, of Hatfield, who plays Billy's Grandma, is following a tradition of acting in her family. Her mum Janet runs the Pauline Quirke Academy, in Doncaster, and has appeared in numerous roles on television.

Molly, who has been in TV adverts and game shows, said: "The school musical is a great opportunity for us to practise our performance skills."

A cast of 40 students from Year 7 to Sixth Form are in the show, with music by Elton John and lyrics by Lee Hall.

Director and head of performing arts Mel Cutler said: "After Back to the 80s and The Lion King, I was keen that this year's musical be rooted in drama. At the heart of Billy Elliot is a great story and it's also a great ensemble piece that brings all the art forms together.”

Mrs Cutler paid tribute to musical director Susan Shepherd who has organised the band and chorus rehearsals, and choreographer Emma Porter.

Mrs Cutler added: “The music in this show is particularly difficult and Emma has choreographed all of the dances in a creative and exciting style, so it's well done to everyone involved. Jasmine Clarke, who plays the dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, is also worthy of special mention."

Performances take place at the academy, in Church Balk, on October 18, 19 and 20 at 7pm. Tickets costing £4 for adults and £3 for concessions are available from the academy reception.