Last week saw Bethany School Performing Arts Production of ‘Dancing Queen’ come to a successful close.
The show takes place on a Greek Island where Sophie Sheridan (Millie) invites her three potential dads (Toby, Owen and Charlie) to her dream wedding. Sophie’s mother Donna (Edith) is unaware of this and seeks to send all three men back to England. Donna is joined by her friends Rosie (Lewis) and Tanya (Frances), reuniting the trio with their past when they were Donna and the Dynamo’s. Sophie’s fiancé Sky (Bert) tries to resolve the issue by facing Sophie with some home truths, with his best friends Pepper (David) and Eddie (Thomas) spicing up the story with some moments of comedy.
The cast began rehearsing for the show in September and choreography was led by Rachael Payne. The challenge for this year’s show was in the staging and many of the dance numbers were performed with the cast using the floor with the audience around them. Scenes were rehearsed taking into account where the audience were placed resulting in a new feel for what will be the Assembly Hall’s final outing as Whole School Production venue.
The cast worked tirelessly on the show. “This year brought many challenges,” Alex Bolton Director of Performing Arts reflected, “The cast had to be off script long before the first performance due to the developments in sound; this year they were working with West End Sound Engineer Andy Sharman from “Sound Quiet Time”, the industry professionals responsible for “Frozen”, “Macbeth” and “Mama Mia” and “The Lion King”. The cast microphones were queued in from their lines spoken, and not their entrances; they had to be slick and I am proud to say they were ready and the final technical rehearsals were superb. It was a great experience for everyone.”
The show included well known favourites “Dancing Queen”, “Mama Mia” and “Does Your Mother Know” performed with Year 13 pupils Will on drums and David on bass. They were joined by Laura Williams on keys and the school Chaplain Paul Feesey on guitar. This was all conducted by Sam Harris-Green in her capacity as Musical Director for the show.
‘Dancing Queen’ was an opportunity for pupils across all year groups to come together and perform as an ensemble. The cast looked amazing in their outfits with some pretty quick changes overseen by the wardrobe department and Year 13 pupil Celeste.
“I am very lucky to work with such a great team” Alex continued, “working with industry professionals in costume, lighting and staging enabled this show to feel the most professional ever.” The performing arts team are now in pre-production for next year’s show and planning how the move to the Performing Arts Centre will develop performances further. “We have started using the technology that will be in the PAC and Aaron Ramsden has been putting his skills to the test”. Aaron has been using the lighting desk that will be in the PAC ahead of its opening in September and in this year’s production, the results were certainly stunning for all to see.
Whole School Production was a bitter sweet moment for many of our Year 13 pupils as it will be their final performance at Bethany. It is however exciting to see the new talent and next generation of performers shining through. Year 8 pupil Alfie proved this to be the case with his role as “Father Alex”, making it a performance to remember.
“We can’t do anything without the parents” Alex paid tribute to the majority of the audience, “we are given the opportunity to work with dynamic, energetic and talented performers. Without the parents bringing them to Bethany we would not be where we are now. Thank you.”
Dancing Queen closed on Saturday 3rd February and included a special preview to prospective parents on Open Morning.