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Smithdon High School

Students leave audiences asking for 'more'

It was the audience asking for ‘more’ when we staged our annual musical.

Smithdon students of all ages took to the stage in Oliver Junior the Musical, with others working backstage and front of house, or helping with scenery and prop-making

Music Lead and the show’s musical director, Andrea Miller, said: “This year’s musical included students from Years 7 to 11, with about 40 students acting in the show, another seven backstage, and further students helping with front of house.

“In addition the art club helped with making props for the show, Mrs Proctor was director, Miss Brown the choreographer, and we had help with props from Miss Garner, and costumes from Mrs Pike.”

There were four performances of the show – two matinees for pupils from seven local primaries, and two evenings which were open to the public. The cast included Martha Smith from Year 8 as Oliver, Ellie Proctor, also in Year 8, as Dodger, Jake Rodrigues (Year 11) as Fagin, Kira Clark (Year 10) as Nancy, and Gracie Ashley (Year 11) as Sykes.

“The entire performing arts team chose the musical,” continued Miss Miller. “Oliver Junior is the same story we all know and love and uses the classic songs we are used to hearing.

“It is the story of an orphan boy who runs away to London to try and make a better life for himself, but along the way he runs into Fagin and his gang, who at first seem like they may be friends, but, as the story progresses, we find out that all is not what it seems.

“The main difference between the production and the normal show of Oliver is that it is stripped back, with some stories and songs removed to make the show fit within about an hour.

“We also decided to try to expand the show past the stage this year, so the audience could see the cast all around them, and we spent a lot of time focusing on the choreography. Some of the song highlights had to be ‘Food Glorious Food’, ‘Consider Yourself’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’.”

Miss Miller and the cast and crew spent months rehearsing for the show, with some songs premiering at events held earlier in the year.

“As we wanted to do the show at Christmas this year, we ran auditions at the beginning of the summer term last school year and cast all of the main roles,” she added. “We then started rehearsing, and even did our first performance of some of the songs at the Hunstanton Carnival and the Smithdon Summer Concert.

“Upon returning to school in September, we invited our new Year 7s to come out and join the show as part of the chorus, and were then rehearsing two days after school each week with additional lunch-time rehearsals.”

Our school, which is a member of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, stages a musical every year, with Oliver Junior following the success of 2021’s Matilda Junior.

To view photos of the performance click here.