Young actors take part in a prestigious national festival

Barbara Priestman Academy

Friday, 25th November 2016

Young actors take part in a prestigious national festival

DRAMA students prove that all the world’s a stage.

DRAMA students proved all the world’s a stage after being selected to take part in a prestigious national festival before a paying audience.

Ten sixth formers and a Year 11 student from Barbara Priestman Academy, Sunderland, were selected from hundreds of companies across the country for the National Theatre Connection initiative in London.

They secured the chance to perform an original work, What are they like?, by celebrated playwright Lucinda Coxon on stage at the National Theatre.

In the run up, staff received special training, students performed the play at the Northern Stage Theatre, Newcastle, in front of the director, before being one of 21 companies to showcase their skills in London.

The three-day trip to the capital also included technical rehearsals, a back stage tour of three theatres, before treading the boards at the Dorfman Theatre. The dream experience also counts towards the students’ qualification, a Level 2 diploma in performing skills.

Barbara Priestman Academy leader of the arts Emily Landells said: “We were treated like stars; it was absolutely phenomenal. They received a standing ovation for their performance and a second one as they walked back through the auditorium. The reaction from the audience was lovely.

“Lucinda asked to see them and said their performance was one of her proudest moments. The artistic director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris also came back to talk to us and said he loved it.”

Students and staff were treated to a privileged back stage tour of the Globe Theatre. Miss Landells said: “You should have seen our students’ faces; it was the highlight of my teaching career.”

Back at school more students took part in a Shakespearean Festival in preparation for next year’s National Theatre Connection.

“This is designed to give them a love of theatre and performance and the confidence to have a go,” said Miss Landells.

“Sixth formers mentored the younger children and ran the warm up sessions, teachers received training and we attended workshops before performing at the Northern Stage Theatre, which was amazing.”