With auditions held in September, the Drama and Music department were overwhelmed by the response. Over a third of the school auditioned, with students involved from Form One through to Upper Sixth. The question remained however as to whether the school would be able to pull off such an ambitious production.
On Thursday 5th December the answer to this became clear – a resounding ‘yes’ as the sell-out audience rose to their feet to give a standing ovation – a first on an opening night at Christ College for a long time, according to some of the more senior staff. The production flowed with ease, despite the many difficult set changes as the story jumps from a Cart Crash to the ‘ABC Café, from the Barricade to the Sewers.
The Technical Team, ably led by the stalwart David Grant, made use of the fantastic new state of the art facilities as the show visually looked stunning. The aesthetics were helped along by some brilliant costume design from Jen Curran (ably assisted by Jo Evans’ handy needlework) and wonderful stage-make up design by Debbie Barnett and her team of make-up artists.
With this show though, it is the beautiful music that makes it work. Christ College’s Director of Music Jonathan Ling and his 14-strong Orchestra gave the professional input that made the performance happen, despite being in a separate room to the performers! The leveling of the music with the singing was expertly handled by sound engineers Paul Edgley and Ben Evans.
The real stars of the show however, were the cast. Led by an immensely talented group of leads the skill on offer belied the relatively small size of Christ College. Doug Evans as Valjean and Trystan Williams as Javert were simply outstanding. Both gave depth to their characters that showed maturity and focus. They were supported by an excellent ‘double cast’ of principals who each gave wonderful performances, alas there are too many to mention here, but it is a safe to say that they moved many of the audience members to tears on each night.
Director and Head of Creative Arts, John Johnson was delighted: ‘This was a real team effort and although we knew we had something with this show, we never realised how powerful it was until we received the audience feedback which was overwhelmingly positive. We had a standing ovation each evening and there was a real buzz, both backstage and in the entrance foyer of the theatre.The staff and students have learnt so much from the experience, which ultimately is why we come together to put on these performances.’
So as the dust settles on the barricade and the silver candlesticks are returned to their rightful owner, Christ College can reflect on a very successful opening of their new Centre for the Creative Arts – Y Neuadd Goffa: The Memorial Hall.
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