When our students performed at the National Theatre in London

When our students performed at the National Theatre in London

We like to reflect on the amazing achievements our students achieve during their time at Bourne Academy, especially when they put our school on the national stage.

Exactly a year ago, an outstanding group of seventeen performing arts students represented Bourne Academy as our school was selected out of 263 Youth Theatre Groups, Sixth Forms, Colleges, Grammar Schools and Non-Selective Schools to perform in front of a live audience at the National Theatre’s Dorfman Stage in London.

This incredible achievement was the culmination of nine months of hard work and dedication from both students and the Performing Arts Department as they made the most of the opportunity to participate in this highlight of the National Theatre calendar.

When we knew we have had our application accepted by the National Theatre in October 2022, the first aim was to put on the best performance possible on the school stage in March 2023.

The play we had been selected to interpret and bring to life was ‘Old Times’, which was a brand-new play about stigmatism, friendship and justice, written by award-winning playwright Molly Taylor.

As this was a brand-new play, there was no precedent set, so this was a chance to create our own interpretation of how the play should be performed and how the characters evolve.

When it came to the performance at Bourne Academy, what our students delivered was truly first class with every student raising their standard just when it mattered. This performance then took them to the regional heats of the festival where they then performed on stage at the Nottingham Playhouse in April 2023. Once again, our students went up another level and delivered a mesmerising and emotional performance that perfectly captured the messages in the play.

Following from the regional heats, the National Theatre then reviewed the performances from each region across the UK and it was then we got the magical call that Bourne Academy had made it to the National Theatre in London!

We knew that this group of students (who were then in Years 9 to 13) were talented and had potential, but what was impressive, was how they worked as a group to strive for excellence, which they were ultimately rewarded for.

The whole process to reach the National Theatre in London was intense with auditions, rehearsals and performances (and an even more relentless schedule of rehearsals). This was whilst many students were also studying for exams and preparing to take part in the school musical at the same time.

By taking part, our students were involved in all aspects of the theatre making process both on and off stage, which includes getting involved with costume, lighting and set design. Getting to perform on the biggest stage of all, was just the icing on the cake!

A massive thank you goes to the Performing Arts Department, which consists of Mr Wood, Mrs Parker and Mr Swinn for directing and working with the students. Special mentions also go to Miles Francis, Matilda Kelly and Wren Vallance for were student directors and Jai Manzur for sound and light production.

The full cast of students who represented Bourne Academy are:

  • Lucas Barnatt
  • Zoe Camamile
  • Elana Cox
  • Valerija Cybulkina
  • Jess Glover
  • Zara Hakim
  • Skye Harper
  • Matilda Hay
  • Lewis Jackson
  • Meredith Marsh
  • Holly Rutherford
  • Zion Serino-Jordan
  • Ruby Stokes
  • Zara Thiara-Mahmood
  • Emily Tidman
  • Alex Walton
  • Tegan Wyche

After the success of last year, the Performing Arts Department will be hoping their application to take part in the Connections Festival 2025 will once again be successful to allow a new group of students in Year 9 to 13 to get this amazing experience.

Photos credits: J Lee (National Theatre)

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