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Plympton Academy

Plympton students raise the profile of theatre by joining national campaign

Ambitious students with big plans to have a career in the spotlight have recently raised the profile of theatre as part of a national campaign.

There were 18 cast members and 4 backstage crew engaged with ‘Seize The Day’ earlier this year, focused on raising the profile of drama in schools and theatre and the benefits it has on young people.

Their performance of Strangers Like Me by Ed Harris touched on the unexpected death of Elbow’s (the principal character's) best friend and being unsure of how to grieve.

The show takes the audience through Elbow’s realisation that they weren’t as close as everyone made them out to be, with Elbow wanting to be left alone.

Josh, in Year 12, said the show was a wonderful opportunity to bring actors from across Years 10 and older together to raise awareness about the importance of drama.

He said: "The whole experience was great; it was good to bring everyone together and create a strong family. I think when people are in different year groups, you don’t pay too much attention to each other, but when you come together, it’s good to create new bonds.

"At Plympton, we had a friend called Charlie who passed away after an accident, so it was good to channel that and how we felt into our performance and, most importantly, to pay tribute to Charlie and show that we love and miss him."

Eloise, in Year 12, said: "At Plympton Academy, we often perform a lot of musicals, but Strangers Like Me is straight acting with no dance. We don’t often do shows with straight acting, so it was good to explore different mindsets as a cast. We did have a lot of movement sequences, so it was good to go through that side of theatre."

Despite the production being an opportunity to perform at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, there were also opportunities for a backstage crew.

Ellie from Year 13 says she loved helping co-direct the show and working on the lighting and backstage organisation too.

She said: "This experience was really different from what I have done before, but I loved every moment. Being able to work behind-the-scenes showed me another side of theatre and has made me want to go further into the industry.

"Some challenges I faced were trying to understand what was going on backstage while also helping the cast with their props, paperwork, details, lighting, sounds, projection, and more. There’s so much more to a show than what you see on stage."

Plympton Academy was one of 75 schools across the country that signed up as part of ‘Seize The Day’ with support from their local councillor, Terri Beer.