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Reflections on this term's school play

I imagine that the excitement felt by the forty or so actors as the opening of Chariots of Fire approached, was hard to contain. After nearly two years since the last indoor production, and the last full piece of theatre, this term’s school play was hugely anticipated. And let me say straight away that it was very, very good.

Now I can confess that when I heard Mr Hammond’s choice, I did slightly wonder ‘do we need a play about athletics?’ Of course it is not really about athletics, so much as about motivation, about ambition and rivalry, and about family and friends. To design the play around us (the track literally encircling the audience) was a master-stroke, and proves again what I have said before, that that crucial element of professional theatre, so often missing in schools - production design - is abundantly present here.

Thank you and congratulations to all of the cast (and I do mean all), though of course above all to Fraser Murray and Kit Connor, the two leads, and to Mr Hammond. But also, as ever, but sadly for the last time, to Miss Seal, loyal and talented producer, who leaves Whitgift for a new post this Christmas. When the audience has left and the actors collapsed back to catch up on life, the technical team are still there, as they were on Saturday, to finish the clear up. Well done to all of them.

We talk about teamwork a lot, and of course the fifty-odd fixtures of Saturday are a good demonstration of it. But almost nothing requires total, selfless commitment to a common endeavour as much as a play (and across generations too, once again the working together of younger and older, of which we were deprived in the darkest days of last year, the greatest plus).

And before I leave creativity, a ‘shout out’ to Will Allnutt, whose Senior LitSoc presentation last week was also a tour de force. Can he possibly have deliberately chosen the most difficult task for me in his writing challenge? Hmm.

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