The week before half-term saw the culmination of months of hard work that resulted in an excellent production of ‘Godspell’ by our Thorpe Campus students. With just thirteen performers representing Jesus and the twelve disciples, these young thespians sang and acted in such a way that the audience was lifted by their beautiful singing, their humour and their sheer exuberance, then towards the end moved to tears by the dramatic representation of the betrayal and the crucifixion. Beginning with a performance to Rolph Primary pupils on the Tuesday, they completed four more performances with every cast member on stage, singing, dancing and acting for the whole two acts. There were outstanding performances from Daisie Boyes as Jesus, and Abbie Sissons as Judas and John the Baptist. Evy Frearson was the outstanding ensemble player. She was completely in role from beginning to end, her concentration never wavered for a second. Isabelle Bethell's solo was a standout moment, captivating the audience. Alex Corbett showed great comic timing and stage presence and his sister Madeline had such an infectiously happy face that you had to smile. Robert Long sang beautifully and, like a true professional, nursed his sore throat and ignored his high temperature. Sam Lake gave an all-round performance as actor and star dancer. Talking of dancing, Jemima Speller and Daisie Boyes gave a big nod to "Strictly" during Jemima's wonderful rendition of ‘Turn Back, O Man’. Chidera Nnadozie and Milli Wisbey had the difficult task of sharing roles because Milli had to miss a performance; I saw both versions and they were equally good. Special mention should be made of Saskia Broom and Kaycie Fraser, the youngest members of the cast, who played in a number of ensemble roles to a standard beyond their years.
The show was underpinned by an excellent band of musicians, lighting and sound crew.
This is likely to be Donal Williams last show, as he approaches retirement, and it simply was stunning. He dedicated the performances to Freya James who was in his first show at TTC in the summer of 2001. Sadly Freya passed away just a day after her 21st birthday. It was lovely to see some other cast members from that first show, ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’, in the audience on the Friday night.
When I see young people work with such intensity and enthusiasm, learning difficult and lengthy passages of text and developing the confidence to put themselves forward in a very public arena I wonder why anyone doubts the value of the performing arts in education.
Dr Caroline Haynes