Spring time saw enthusiastic audiences in the Ellis and Kennedy theatre enjoying two nights of drama presented by our second year BTEC Performing Arts students, and by a group of highly accomplished first year students from various areas of the college. Those on the BTEC course performed two contemporary plays as part of their formal assessment, starting with extracts from John Godber’s Bouncers and Shakers, a comedy which explores the lives of northern working class people in the 1980s as they prepare for a night out. Director Matt Cawson’s large, enthusiastic cast filled the stage with their zest and vitality, revelling in the comedic aspects of multiple role playing and cross gender shenanigans. The rehearsal time essential for effective performance had clearly been well-used as the impressive cast displayed a fine sense of timing and powerful delivery of lines.

These qualities were very much in evidence in the second performance, an abridged version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, which delves into the complex world of an autistic boy as he searches for answers in the strange world of the apparently ‘normal’. Once again the cast had to cope with the intricacies of multiple role playing and numerous entrances and exits, all handled with considerable aplomb, and doing director Donna North proud.

The first year students treated the audience to a piece of classical Greek theatre, The Bacchae by Euripides. This play explores questions such as moral absolutism, religious fanaticism, the desire for revenge, and the basis of human nature itself, questioning our loyalties and our perspectives on life. This was a real tour-de-force, with Jacob Coyle impressive as the duplicitous Dionysus and James Valentine convincing as the misguided Pentheus. Hannah Bracegirdle excelled as Agave, whilst Nathan Walton and Francesca Sellers leant gravitas to the roles of Cadmus and Tiresias respectively. Director Matt Cawson gave the cast the freedom to work together to create a highly effective Chorus, an essential element of classical Greek theatre, the whole presentation enhanced by the extremely effective sound effects and lighting, coordinated by Chloe Kayes and Tom Leonard. There were some truly terrifying moments as the tale moved towards the inevitable tragic climax.

Two excellent evenings, appreciated greatly by the friends, family and staff who comprised the audience.

Watch this space for news of the autumn term college musical!

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