At 7.30am on Monday 4th July, selected students and staff from our RSC cluster schools gathered to set off on our trip to Stratford upon Avon for the joint schools performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream, starring our very own Alex Riley and Francesca Fox. Surprisingly Alex was not the last to be on the bus therefore the group was able to have a prompt start!
The journey down was the first real chance the students from the different schools of Bingley, Crossflatts, Eldwick, Harden and Buttershaw really got to mix, as at all other times students had been involved in rehearsals for the play. The first hour was quiet, however after that, barriers were broken with a game of 'top trumps' with teachers also joining in.
Upon arrival at Stratford the students were then straight into rehearsals with one of the co-directors Aileen Gonsalves. This lasted for 50 mins before the students then hit the main stage of The Swan Theatre to be led through a technical rehearsal by super star director Robin Belfield. This was an amazing experience with the live RSC band also being in attendance.
After the rehearsal the whole company came together to run the final scene with the Bingley cluster taking center stage. This final scene saw all six clusters from across the country perform segments before coming together chorally for the last lines. It was great to see the young people from all over the country working together in this manner.
That evening we were treated to a professional performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream in the main theatre. This was inspirational, as students got to see their lines being performed in the professional setting. It was also helped by the fact we were 3 rows from the front!
The next day was the final performance. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes and more pancakes, the cast then moved back to the main theatre and began the final rehearsals. These went swimmingly with the hard work of the students and staff leading up to this being evident and then just before the final performance commenced the professional actors from the show the night before graced us with their presence! This was amazing with the actors imparting valuable advice about how to engage and build a rapport with your audience. At this point I must point out the manners of the Bingley cluster which were impeccable. All students were being courteous to those around them and supporting each other in these nervy last moments.
It felt like no sooner had the day begun; the final performance was upon us, with a sell-out audience to boot! The students took to the stage and were fantastic, working so well together as a cohesive cast and not separate schools as they had been in the first rehearsals. As the curtain came down the audience rose to their feet to applaud the wonderful actors on stage. (For the beady eyed you will see they are no longer students!)
After leaving the main stage the actors once more boarded the mini bus to return to Bingley, still on a high from their standing ovation! No more were they different schools, they had clearly come together to form a company and in the immortal words of Bottom 'Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll'
Alex Riley - Bingley Grammar School
Francesca Fox - Bingley Grammar School
Fred Kettle - Harden Primary
Georgia Gibson - Eldwick Primary
Jacob Dawson-Watts - Crossflatts Primary
Peter Duric - Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College
Sophie Ingham - Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College
Theo Devine - Harden Primary
Thomas Duun-Birch - Crossflatts Primary
Zara Ali - Eldwick Primary