Art imitates life in school production

Students from Shotton Hall School, Peterlee rehearse for their production of Willy Russell's Our Day Out.
Students from Shotton Hall School, Peterlee rehearse for their production of Willy Russell's Our Day Out.
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STUDENTS are taking on the roles of teachers as they perform their latest production.

Shotton Hall Academy, in Peterlee, is staging Our Day Out, a Willy Russell play set in Liverpool in the 1970s, which focuses on a group of four teachers taking a group of disadvantaged youngsters on a trip out.

The show stars a cast of 22 students aged 13-16 and has seen them adapt the script which was first penned for television, leading the producers to add film footage.

Kathryn Harrop, the school’s community arts leader, said: “As his play was originally written for television it has been a real challenge to stage the 41 scenes, which is one of the reasons I decided to use film to set the scenes.

“We took the pupils on their own wild day out to Tynemouth Priory, the beach, Ocean Beach Pleasure Park and Tweddle Farm.

“Working with Jonathan Ackley, the film maker, our students learned the skills required for TV acting as well as enjoying themselves on the waltzers and eating candy floss in November.

“A moveable bus on stage has added another dimension to the production.

“The cast has risen to the challenge of mastering Liverpudlian accents, despite driving parents and friends insane, and has thoroughly enjoyed wearing the ties of a neighbouring school.”

Year 11 student Craig Nelson has been cast in the role of deputy headteacher, with Year 10 Sophie Catleugh, also performing as a teacher, and Year 9 Megan Cassidy, one of the lead pupils.

The play will be performed tonight, tomorrow and on Thursday, with all shows to start at 7pm

Tickets are £3 from the school, tel. 518 0222.