There was nothing miserable about the Elizabethan Academy’s production of Les Misérables last week! Set against the backdrop of revolutionary France, the show is an epic that has been running in London’s West End for over 30 years.
The show is a challenge for any cast. However, four sell-out performances and a matinee concert for primary schools later, and the message was clear… the young performers at the Elizabethan were up for the challenge!
Ambitious, large scale productions are becoming a key feature in the school calendar, and are providing the perfect showcase for the talented youngsters at the Elizabethan. It is not hard to see why the school was granted ArtsMark status by Arts Council England in 2017.
Last week’s production of Les Mis was the culmination of six months’ hard work, although auditions actually took place before the summer. Some of the youngest cast members auditioned whilst still at primary school as part of the school’s ArtsMark scheme which offers talented performers from across Bassetlaw a place at the Elizabethan to benefit from opportunities such as these.
The role of young Cosette was shared between Ava Slaney and Katie Grocock. Ava is currently still at Ranby Primary but will be transferring to the Elizabethan in September. Katie is already in Year 7, but auditioned while still at The Primary School of St Mary and St Martin Blyth.
For some of the older students in particular, the closing night of Les Misérables was an emotional occasion, marking their final appearance in an Elizabethan production.
Jaymee Cobb’s first lead role was Christine in Phantom of the Opera aged just 15, and her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” as Fantine in Les Mis this year was truly emotional. “I’ve been part of the school productions for the last 4 years,” she said. “It has been an amazing experience and an honour for me, and I have truly grown as a person through each of my roles.” Jaymee leaves the Elizabethan at the end of the year having secured a place to study Theatre at the University of Chichester.
Reece Chambers, who played Inspector Javert, has applied to study Drama at the University of Birmingham next year. He said “I want to thank our Expressive Arts department, music teachers and family and friends for all their help and support, and for believing in me.”
Academy Principal, Christine Horrocks, said that the Elizabethan’s production is one of the highlights of her year. “I was blown away by the maturity of the performances in what is an incredibly complex score with challenging themes. Our students thrive on challenges, and our staff have clearly inspired them and brought out of them this extraordinary level of passion and performance.
“I am a passionate supporter of the Arts myself. Art, Music, Dance and Drama add so much to the life of the Elizabethan, and I have seen so many students grow in confidence and self-belief through their participation in the Arts. It is not by coincidence that the schools I have chosen to lead have shared this passion.”
For more pictures and videos of the production, visit the Expressive Arts Twitter page: @EA_Expressive