Our Drama and Music departments are known for taking on a challenge, setting extremely high standards and encouraging all involved to ponder just how far they can reach. Mrs Gascoigne will already be looking through scripts for future years and the one thing that astounds me is that every production that we take on will invariably be 2, 3 and more years beyond expectation. Oliver was no exception as this version is the West End script and score.

This cast has given more and more across something of a gruelling (no pun intended) schedule of performances. It was fantastic to have the Grange Primary School coming for the dress rehearsal and it quickly became apparent that they fed off an audience as this was the first occasion when I felt actual goose bumps! Ever performance since has seen them growing exponentially!

These productions are a huge undertaking and whilst we pride ourselves on developing theatre skills in our pupils who will be running sound, lighting and backstage, there is clearly a great deal of support offered by respective staff. A huge thank you to Jas and Tiffany for training our sound and lighting engineers. The set looked amazing and we are lucky that Christine, our former Head of Art is still available to paint our backdrops. At this time of year the maintenance department stop repairing wobbly desks as they rise to the challenge of designing and making props that we really out to resell to the West End! Backstage Miss Hehir and Mrs Love patiently apply makeup and ensure that props and scenery move seamlessly through corridors!

We talk about collaboration and try to find ways to show pupils how important this is in every walk of school life – this single event is the epitome of what it means to come together for the greater good. Mr Ford and Mrs Gascoigne have given up a great deal of their time to bring this together and I cannot thank them enough as tonight was a triumph! Upper School pupils moved their audiences over the past week with a story that is unfortunately as real today as it was in the 1800s and certainly very in keeping with our charity this year.

At the end of the final evening, there were a million comments from parents waiting for their children to emerge still covered in makeup - one comment really struck me:

We have been coming for nearly a decade to Orley Farm productions and we can honestly say that they keep getting better - tonight was moving!

I don't doubt for a second that this cast will remember this into their old age...well done to all of you!

Tim Calvey

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