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We were officially designated as an Arts College from 1st September 2008 and we gained the Arts Council Silver Artsmark in May 2008. In June 2010 we gained the Arts Council Gold Artsmark.
School Production “Bugsy Malone”
Queen’s Hall, Hexham – 22nd & 23rd June 2016
On the 23rd of June 2016, I attended the St Joseph’s RC Middle School performance of ‘Bugsy Malone’. Consisting of an all children cast from years 5-8, each child played their own part in creating a sensational performance. With an incredible band accompanying the astonishing performances and set, the play really did make me feel as if I was in early 1920’s New York.
The main cast gave all-star performances, each displaying confidence with exceptional comedic timing. The duo of Captain Smolsky and O’ Dreary stood out especially as the two fools of the play, bringing laughter to every scene they starred in. Fat Sam and Fizzy were also wonderfully played, pouring energy onto the stage. Also, the romantic relationship between Bugsy Malone and Blousey Brown was portrayed in a truly remarkable manner, each scene feeling utterly convincing. Starring besides this colourful cast was also the flirtatious and manipulative Tallulah who contributed the last piece to the enigmatic jigsaw of the main roles. Despite these characters being the “poster-names”, it does not detract from the other incredible actors who all had crucial roles in bringing the play to life. One stand out scene from the ensemble was the auditions scene, which was hilarious to say the least, as every single actor who came on stage brought immense comedy with them. This became particularly evident as I witnessed a member of the audience crying with laughter.
The band and choir upheld a compelling performance throughout. The live music really did make the play feel like a Broadway classic due to immense work by Phil Rosier and the captivating jazz being performed really transported the audience back to the roaring twenties. The vocals of the choir were mesmerizing. Not only were the accents of the actors up to par, but they were consistent throughout the whole play as they were also audible during the songs; such as ‘My Name is Tallulah’ and ‘Down and Out’. Due particular praise were the incredible solos from Alex Binns and Martha Cook.
Overall, the production of the performance was prodigious. The costumes were exceptionally appropriate to the era of the play, thanks to the marvellous work by Julie Sinclair. Choreography was key in the jam-packed scenes such as the explosive ending, and each slight bit of movement was executed with perfect timing due to Cheryl Washbourne and the dancers tremendous work. Then of course a special thanks has to be given to Robert Hudson and Kirsten Coulson who brought together the whole drama aspect of the play. When asked if she enjoyed the whole process of the play Mrs Coulson said “Yes, it has been very interesting doing a performance of this scale, and it has given me ideas of what I want to do next in a couple years time, and I was really proud of the kids last night”. So we all have something to look forward to for in the future.
St Joseph’s has historically produced some outstanding theatrical performances and this is undoubtedly due to the passion and confidence instilled by the staff along with the dedication of the pupils. It was an extremely pleasurable watch for myself and the house packed audience.
Headteacher, Fiona Conley, commented, “Throughout rehearsals and performances the comradeship and enjoyment of all those involved was truly commendable. St. Joseph’s is very fortunate to have such talented and gifted performers!”
Every year St Joseph’s takes part in the Tynedale Music Festival.
Bi-annually, we run an Arts Week in school and stage a production at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham.